First timer with Pork - extreme noobie!

Discussion in 'Pork' started by gmdodt, Apr 9, 2014.

  1. gmdodt

    gmdodt Newbie

    Hey all,

    I am seeking some guidance/confirmation on how I should go about smoking my first batch of spare ribs in my new Brinkman Electric Gourmet Smoker that I just received for my birthday.  I am not much of a cook, and heck I don't really understand all the cuts of the meat, but I have started to do research.  Last weekend was my first smoke, a beef top round roast.  About 3 hours on with just salt/pepper/oil/hickory chips and it actually turned out great.  I am a big ribs fan though and want to give it a go.  I was wondering if anyone could give me any tips on the meat I picked up (again I don't know about cuts and types, but one was a managers special, and one just seemed like good juicy ribs ;)).  Obviously the smaller ones have less meat and such so I'm assuming it will take less time.  Here is what I plan on doing:

    1.  Put meat in fridge tomorrow to thaw

    2. Friday afternoon, take it out, cut off any of that skin/membrane on the bone side.

    3. Rub with a premade rub (from store) and then coat with brown sugar

    4. let it sit in fridge over night

    5. Set up smoker on saturday with the bowl of water as instructed in the manual (last weekend smoker stayed directly at 200 degress all three was about 64 degrees outside but slightly windy).

    6. Use hickory and apple wood chips (after I add additional lava rocks to the skimpy amount they give you with the smoker)

    7. Let the ribs smoke once up to temperature for 2.5/3 hrs (potentially squirting with apple juice every hour???)

    8. Wrap rips in foil and add apple juice or some beer and put back on smoker for 2 hrs

    9. Unwrap ribs, sauce, and back on smoker for close to an hour

    Are the ribs always suppose to be bone side down? does it matter?  With the smaller rack, should it be more 2-2-1 like baby backs??  Any tips or suggestions on rubs/sauces/ basting mixes (whatever you call them...) would be greatly appreciated.  Looking forward to it!!

    The first two picks are the pork spare ribs which i am thinking 3-2-1

    These were on special...seem smaller and less meaty...suggestions?

  2. I think your times are fine for both the pork spare ribs and the beef back ribs. Do them bone down.

    As for rub, generally pork will be heavier on the sugar than beef, usually brown sugar. Add to that some pepper, salt, paprika, garlic, and onion for some basics, adding some cayenne if you so choose. For the beef, omit the sugar and the paprika, although it doesn't hurt to keep them in (just personal preference).

    I usually make my rub myself. Rough proportion would be 1 cup brown sugar, 2 tbls each cracked black pepper, paprika, salt, 1 tbls each onion & garlic, and often 1 tsp each cayenne, ancho, and chipotle chile powder.

    I generally store-buy my sauce, so I don't have a recipe there.
  3. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I find that the 3-2-1 works well for meaty side ribs but the thinner back ribs need less time IMHO. I generally do them 2-2-1.

  4. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    those look pretty meaty. I would say three two one. check at two hours for pullback on the bone.
  5. gmdodt

    gmdodt Newbie

    Is it important to cut the ribs st louis style to get good results with 3-2-1 method? The first set of spare ribs dont look like theyve been cut, and label doesmt say so. Seem to have a lot of meat on the bone side. Ive never had to cut meat but I found a tutorial on these forums...just wondering how imperative it is
  6. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Going St. Louis style is basically personal preference.  Some like the "neater" look to the rack (presentation).  Others do it because they don't like messing with the cartilage in the rib tips.

    321 will give good results either way.    FWIW, just understand that 321 is to be used as a guideline.  The ribs may take more time overall, they may take less.   Also, the times for each step or stage might vary.   Instead of 3-2-1, you might go 3-1.5-1.5, or 3.5-1-1.
  7. gmdodt

    gmdodt Newbie

    Hmmm..okay, so how do I know when each step is done?  I know ultimately you are looking for meat pull back from the bones, I just dont know what staf you do that in....Do you do that after the first session and the wrap it when you see it? How do you know when to unwrap? I'm guessing the last stage, after you sauce, you just poke it or bend it to see if it is to your desired tenderness.
  8. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The biggest thing to watch when foiling is that the ribs don't stay in the foil for too long.  Foiling tenderizes the ribs.  Too long and you end up with mush.    Basically, you want to pull them from the foil when they are just about done.  Using the aforementioned tests, you want there to be just a little bit more resistance than what you consider ideal.  You want the ribs to bend, but not quite as much as they would need to in order to pass the bend test.     The reason for this is that they will continue to cook when you put them back on the smoker for the last hour or so.

    As to when to foil, I go by look/color.  When the ribs look nice and pretty to you, wrap them up.

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