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Ribs again (only my second try)

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I love pulled pork, sliced brisket, fatties, and chuck roasts.  I've done all of these successfully in my smoker several times.  I, however, have never been a huge fan of ribs.  So many people rave about how much they love pork ribs, and I feel like it is almost my duty to enjoy them.


I have been asked to smoke ribs, a brisket, and Boston butts for my family's July 4th BBQ.  I am completely comfortable smoking briskets and Boston butts as I have very successfully done these several times.  However, this will be only my second attempt at ribs.


My first attempt at ribs was over a year ago, and I can remember the ribs being tough and too spicy.  I used Jeff's rib rub, but I think I used too much rub.  I applied it as liberally as I did on my butts and briskets, and I think perhaps that was a mistake.  I have made up a batch of this rub for my ribs this weekend with less heat.  When I did ribs before, I used the 3-2-1 method, but they were still not as tender as I would have liked.


In Jeff's newsletter today, he mentioned that spares could go 6.5-7 hours (and the 3-2-1 method gives a total of 6 hours).  So, I'm asking for some advice now.  I know that different folks prefer a different tenderness level than others (i.e., some prefer to require the meat pull a little instead of falling off the bones).


I have already purchased two slabs of St. Louis cut spare ribs (both about 3.75 lbs. per slab), and my plan is to dust the ribs with the rub (cover but not "caked on") and ,smoke them using the 3-2-1 technique.  I plan to spritz them heavily with apple juice during the foiled stage, and then apply a sweet BBQ sauce a couple of times during the final "firm up" stage.


I would appreciate any advice that the rib experts here can provide.


Thanks in advance.

post #2 of 9

Put the rub on the night before and let them sit in the fridge overnight. I use 3-2-1 with my smoker set to hold 225 degrees and they come out just right every time.

I don't spritz, mop or anything else. Just the 3 hours open, 2 hours in the foil followed by the last hour open again. All that's left to do is to throw them on a plate and dig in. Oh yeah I use mostly hickory for pork ribs however a something a little milder like apple with some hickory for flavor is good too. It's one of those tastes things that only you and your's know the answer too.


I use my own rub, if you've been doing all that much smoking, it's about time you gave it a shot making up your own too. After all, developing all your own rubs, secret sauces and what not is half the fun.  

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks Dick.  Sounds like you're doing things like I did (minus the spritz and mop).

post #4 of 9

Yup, And I've never had a problem with them drying out either.

However I forgot to mention that I do have a loaf pan filled with water in the smoke chamber. I always do for every smoke so I often forget to mention it.  

I have an off set smoker and the loaf pan sits on the grill directly over the deflector plate where the heat and smoke comes in from the fire box or what would normally be the hot end. However I have it tuned so the temps are pretty much even and constant throughout the chamber.  

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Dick, I place a water pan in the same place as well.  Sounds like I am your echo ;)

post #6 of 9

Sounds like you have a good plan. If you add some of the spritz at foiling it will allow the ribs to braise faster/longer and should result in a more tender product make sure you get the foil sealed tight. It may have just been the ribs themselves on your last rib smoke that were the problem and not your method. As for the total time its a matter of looks and feel the ribs should have a good bend when you pick up the rack when done. Good luck with your smoke and with the method your using I'm sure they'll come out great

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks Pineywoods.

post #8 of 9

Keep working on those ribs...don't give up on'em.  I done the same thing the first time I used Jeff's rub, I put to much on. Of course everything to do with smoking is a personal preference and what you find that you like, so you have to tune it to your taste and likes.  I found with Jeff's rub just a light coating was sufficient.  If you have time, put the rub on and wrap them tight in plastic wrap and put them in the frig over night.  As far as the 3-2-1, I find at 225* to 240*, 1 1/2 hours with foil was almost to long for me as the the meat was almost ready to fall off the bone.  I'd pull one at maybe 1 to 1 1/4 hour and check it.  Good luck and we'll be looking forward to that Qview! 

post #9 of 9


 My first attempt at ribs was over a year ago, and I can remember the ribs being tough and too spicy. 



I would suggest that if you get them finished and find out that they are still a little on the spicy side that you sprinkle a light coating of brown sugar over the entire slab and close the foil back up and let them rest about 15 minutes in a cooler.


Its just a suggestion of course, I never use sauce unless I totally destroy the meat I am cooking. I feel that a well seasoned, well cooked piece of meat needs no sauce unless its on the side to dip in.


I have never heard anyone else on here say that they have tried this but I, cook mine for about 2 hours open then wrap in heavy weight plastic wrap then wrap with foil very tight. And cook another 2 hours or so, open and add sugar if needed and let them sit on the hot side a few minutes to bark up just a little.


Its very hard to dry out any at all this way since they are in there own juice for two hours and they tend to cook a little faster this way, almost like they are in a  pressure smoker. Use caution when opening since sometimes the foil and plastic swells almost to the point of exploding.



Good Luck and let us know how they turn out.


BTW I only use IBT untrimmed spares from Sam's unless someone is paying me to cook something else.

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