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Fall off the Bone ribs question

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
It has been a while since I have smoked anything, but was thinking about some ribs for the game this weekend. I have done ribs probably about 6 - 7 times total & half the time they are what I would call perfect and half the time they were fairly tough. I have been using the 2-2-1 for the BB's with the same temps, spray, butcher, pull back, etc... The last 2 times I did them, the 1st was a practice run for a family gathering and they were fantastic. Then of course for the party they turned out a bit tough. They always taste great, but everytime I think I have it nailed down it seems like run into a batch that's not quite what I was shooting for.

I may be greatly oversimplifing this, but to get fall off the bone ribs, or something closer (not tough), can you always add time to the smoke? I have read a lot of posts and this seems like this might be a theme that I wanted to get some advice on.

Maybe my struggles are just part of the process, but any help would be appreciated.
post #2 of 28
I'm sure the rib experts will be along shortly to help you... I know in my experiences, the longer i do the middle number( the foil) the more tender they are... Happy smokes.
post #3 of 28
Absolutely you can add time to the smoke, for more tender I would suggest leaving them wrapped in foil for a little while longer, half an hour or so but you may not really need to add time, if you leave them in the foil for an extra half an hour they will braise more and then you should be fine subtracting half an hour from the end if need be but not necessary.
Basically what I'm saying is modify your 2-2-1 to a 2-2.5-.5 or 2-2.5-1
post #4 of 28
Agreed! For St Louis style I use more of a 3-3-1 method and the ribs fall away from the bones nicely. I actually prefer the standard 3-2-1 but the wife has this thing about getting messy, so... icon_neutral.gif
post #5 of 28
The ribs themselves have a part in this. I try not to get ribs that are too lean. Look for some with nice marbling to the meat. Also Don't be stuck to 2-2-1 or any other time constraint. Foil when you get that 1/4" pullback, Braize for 2 - 2.5 hours, than back on the pit to firm up. You're the cook and the length of the last step will determine how firm or tender the finished product is. (along with time in foil). Add that to what's already been posted and you should be fine.

Good luck!!!
post #6 of 28
It also depends on the quality of the rib. I've done some that just wasn't to my liking but I did go to a different vendor for the tougher ribs.
post #7 of 28
A bit longer in the foil should do the trick. Maybe add 1/2 hr then subtracrt 1/2 hr from the grill time so you don't kill them. 2-2 1/2-1/2.
post #8 of 28
I like my ribs tender but I want to be able to hold my rib without the bone falling oput of it. I do a modified version of the 3-2-1 I do a 3-1.5-45 version but that is the way I like my ribs.
post #9 of 28
By the way, don't forget that membrane on the back needs to come off or not much will fall off of anything! icon_wink.gif
post #10 of 28
The batch I did last night we a tad on the chewy side but I was under time constraints to get dinner on the table before Cub Scouts last night. I would have liked to give them a little more cook time but they were still great tasting.
post #11 of 28
ALl of these processes are iron clad but the product you buy always isn't . . Pull the skin off before cooking and you should be fine . Add foiling for tenderness ... hmmm You could cheat and wrap them 1st , put into oven for two hours @ 325 and then pull and lay them on the smoker still in the foil but with the top split open . You will be a hero . Add lots of butter .
post #12 of 28
Ribs in the oven??? KILL THE HERETIC !!!mad.gif

...kidding of course
post #13 of 28
The last ones I did I smoked untill 160* and foiled with some broth and took them to 190*-200* and let them rest for an hour. The bones just fell out and the meat was very tender. Hope this helps. icon_smile.gif
post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 

Big thanks!

All the advice is extremely helpful. I smoke a fair amount in the summer (a lot of Salmon) and and am obviously still learning. I have been trying to watch pullback and get a feel for the the way the ribs bend towards the end of the smoke to see how ready they are. When doing ribs for guests, I would rather have them a little towards the fall off the bone side of things than sticking to the bone.

Thanks for confirming some of my research on the siteicon_smile.gif.

PS - I have always made sure the membrane was taken off the backside.
post #15 of 28
everyone seems to like there ribs a lil bit different than each other and it is up to you to fine tune them so they are enjoyed by your clan... for now lets keep it simple and not get into a debate on foil/no foil. break down the smoke into 3 parts, each part has a purpose and affects the final outcome of the ribs.

the first part is the initial smoke, during this first part of the smoke the ribs are put to smoke and heat and the meat starts cooking/rendering out fat while picking up the smoke flavor. this time will be adjusted due to how much meat/fat on the ribs, how much smoke flavor you want on the ribs, etc. this would be the first number in the formula for cooking ribs. keep track of times but remember ribs are different between brands and types of ribs.

the second part is the foil stage, or some say braise stage. the ribs are wrapped in foil with some liquid and allowed to set for a period on the smoker, naturally because they are foiled they are not taking any smoke flavoring at this time. however the liquid is braising the meat and the longer left in this stage the more fall off the bone type you will have.

the final stage is back out of foil and to the smoke again. this final period allows the bark to set back up and cooks some moisture from the ribs but not too much. also if you sauce it is in this period towards the end when you slather on the sauce if preffered.

so by remembering the 3 parts of the smoke and tasting a sample of what you did, what do you or dont like about them. and which part of the smoke is responsible... so now the issue is adjusting the times until you get a combo down that you enjoy!!! the good part of this is all the trial and error you need to put yourself thru to develop that perfect rack!!! hope this helps and makes sense.
post #16 of 28
And we all know there's nothing like a perfect rack!!! icon_eek.gif
post #17 of 28
The foiling methods folks have suggested will get you where you need to be in regards to fall off the bone ribs.

Just please keep them out of the oven, and boiling water as the methods of cooking them. icon_smile.gif
post #18 of 28
^^^^^Don't know how you could sum it up any better than this. Points for erainpoints.gif
post #19 of 28
Ribs in the oven!?!?! what the heck?!?! That's blasphemy!!!!
post #20 of 28
What meat temp am i looking For, what Temp do I cook them at and what liquid do I wrap the with?
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