2 attempt w/ribs

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by opfoto, Jan 3, 2016.

  1. Just wanted to say hi and tell you a bit about my experience.  

    MES 30in Digital with the BT. The big orange giant gave it to me for the price of the non digital.....couldn't refuse it!

    Decided to smoke some St louis style ribs. 2nd try. It was a balmy 35° degrees when I fired up the smoker to preheat

    Rinsed, Trimmed and Rubbed the ribs a few hours the morning of the smoke (new years day 2016) left them plastic wrapped to warm up before placing them in the smoker

    Brought the smoker to 225° then added apple juice to the drip pan and apple chips to the tray. It took 45 min for the smoke to begin. 

    Plan was to do the 3-2-1 method I read while lurking about the interweb. I added chips every 45m to 60min.

    No spritzing during the 3 period as I figure the apple juice should help keep things moist.

    I placed the racks into covered foil pans (to assist in the cleanup) with a couple of oz of the apple juice for the 2 part

    removed from pans and sauced them up with sauce of choice and left them on racks for 1-1/2 hrs to make up for loss of temp during the final step. I basted them quickly 1/2 way thru the final step. 

    Didn't take any pictures but they seemed to be a bit moister than what I was expecting. Taste was phenominal, better than what I was expecting and my wife was extremely happy and we all know thats whats important. 

    I am very happy with the performance of my smoker esp considering how cold it was, I do want them a bit drier and was thinking to cut down/out the apple juice bath. 

    and the vent was opened about 1/2-3/4 thru out the entire process

    And lastly THANKS to all of you for the information shared on this forum. 

    Last edited: Jan 3, 2016
  2. Great work Marc. You might want to try a dry rib That is one without sauce on it. You might like that better. You will find that a lot of people don't put anything in the waster pan.\People put liquids butter, brown sugar, Honey and more dry rub in their foil during the second part of the 3-2-1 method. Also others don't foil at all the just cook them naked.

    However you cook them there good.    Jted
    opfoto likes this.
  3. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I have a MES 30 Gen 1. My experience with foiling both baby backs and St. Louis ribs is that adding foil juice inside the foil only served to soften the bark and in essence steam the ribs. I don't use foil juice anymore because the ribs create more than enough juice on their own inside the foil from the rendering fat. I'm still experimenting with no-foil ribs and minimum foiling to achieve the best bark and tenderness/juiciness of the meat.
  4. Thanks for the additional tip...will try that the next time I do the ribs. I only change 1 thing at a time as it is easier to keep track of any changes that way, besides giving me a reason to do them again and again [​IMG]
  5. Honestly, you should really try no foil atleast once.  Maybe it's just me, but I have found that foiling will soften whatever bark you make.  I use my AMNPS, hickory pellets, and I smoke 4-5 hours depending on cut and size.  I always get a nice crispy bark, moist ribs, and never any complaints.  My go-to rub is a Memphis Dust that just seems to compliment everything (not to mention always get me a good bark).  These ribs have plenty of fat running through them that you won't dry them out at that low of a temp (I go 225).  I like the use the two step method: I put them in the smoker and then I take them out.  I don't spritz or anything because it will only keep the exterior moist and ruin the bark.  Plus, every time you open the smoker you add some time to the cook.  It's just seems easier to power through it.  Good thing about using the AMNPS is that if it developing too much color, you can just take it out..but iI've never had that problem.  Don't know if anyone else wants to weigh in on this, but I don't ever leave pork out to come to room temp.  Doesn't matter what cut I'm doing, it just doesn't seem safe or make a whole lot of sense.  You are cooking at a low temp anyway so the core temp with pretty much rise with everything else.  I've never noticed that I had odd cook times, drier meat, or anything negative.  Like I said, I could be wrong, but just my $.02.  BTW, I'm glad to see another MES 30 BT on here.  Happy smoking :)
  6. I am a huge fan of the 3-2-1 method myself and have a hard time straying from it, but before I used that method I did the "car wash mike" recipe and it doesn't use foil, but does involve spritzing throughout the cook. It's a good recipe, but I could never achieve the fall off the bone like the 3-2-1 gives. All in what you like, of course if your wife is like mine you are playing with fire changing it up if she loved it before!
  7. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    As if you needed a reason...
  8. I too was stuck on the 3-2-1 method but my last batch came out way to wet for our liking, I think I added a little to much apple/cherry juice during that stage. I plan to try the next batch with no juice in the foil part, I may even nix the foil all together. 
  9. ibbones

    ibbones Meat Mopper

    Once you try the 3-2-1 or 2-2-1 and then do the no foil again, you will never try wrapping them again.  They just come out better.
  10. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    Bones, it is a matter of taste preference. I've tried it both ways and prefer mine to be foiled after 3 hrs. I do mine 3 hrs, then moisten ribs and foil them, the put back in smoker for another 1 1/2 hrs and they come out great and extra tender.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2016
  11. smokin ts bbq

    smokin ts bbq Fire Starter

    When I cook ribs (Im 17 but I've been smoking meat for about 4 years now. I started out on ribs.) and trust me. I've cooked a lot of them. For a while I was cooking 3 racks every weekend Just to practice out on.

    Anyways. I make my rub. Trim my ribs (usually St Louis style but occasionally I do baby backs) put the rub on. And let it sit in the fridge till an hour before I'm ready to cook. Then I take them out. Heat up the smoker to 225-250. Put in some pecan. Hickory. Cherry. Or sometimes apple wood. I put in about 2 handfuls of chips to start with. Then I open up my vent 100% next I put my ribs on (IDK about you but in my MES 40 I can fit 2 full racks of ribs easy on one cooking rack) I cook them for about 3 hours. Dry. Don't even go look at them!!!!! (I tend to do this with whatever I cook just alter the times) then after 2:30-3:00 hours. I'll take them out. And lay them meat side down on some aluminum foil that I spread some butter. Brown sugar. Local acadiana honey. And a little sauce. Spread that on the foil. Lay the ribs on.(this is what I've seen the pros do on YouTube and TV) And seal it up tight. Before I seal one end. I pour about half a can. But the coke is my idea) of cherry coke in. This helps bump up the flavor and add some needed moisture to the ribs. If you want dry ribs skip the coke. Or add it to your sauce. Then cook like that for about 45 minutes. No need for more smoke. They're wrapped up. Then I unwrap them. Trying my best not to let them fall apart. Then I lay them meat side up on my cooking wrap. I like to pour all the coke sugar butter sauce and drippings from the foil. Onto my ribs. Then I sauce. And cook for about an hour. They turn out looking a little like this:
  12. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    3 racks per weekend just to practice cooking ribs? Who was buying all those ribs--you or your folks?

    They look really good. How did you develop your recipe? That's pretty complex for someone your age--and I mean that as a compliment. Personally, I have another way of cooking both St. Louis and baby back ribs that I prefer. It's still a work in progress since I'm always looking to improve but I've gotten great results. I own a MES 30 and I can only fit one rack of ribs on one cooking rack. I cook 2-3 racks at a time.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2016
  13. smokin ts bbq

    smokin ts bbq Fire Starter

    Thank you!! I've been cooking since I was about 3 years old. I started BBQ when I was about 13 or so when my dad was at work offshore for Memorial Day and it didn't seam right to me not to have BBQ on that holiday so I got his recipe for ribs from him. (But he goes through an entirely different process for ribs than I do). So I tried his recipe and technique out. Wasn't very pleased with my results. So I went on YouTube and for a solid month. All I would watch was BBQ videos. Smoking videos. Rub videos. How to smoke on a direct cook grill. Then one weekend. I put together all the knowledge I learned. Cooked a rack of ribs. They were Sooo much better than my dad's recipe that he gave me. It was the first time I ever had smoked food (my dad boils then grills his ribs) it was great. So I just tweaked that recipe over and over again till I was thoroughly satisfied with my results. I bought my first smoker for my 15th birthday (a little stick burner for about $200 of my birthday money I saved up) kept practicing ribs. Got a hold of a brisket one day. YouTubed some recipes and techniques for a few hours. Planned out a rub and technique based on the videos I've watched and my knowledge of cooking. Cooked it perfectly. Did the same thing with a pork shoulder. Whole chicken. The thanksgiving turkey.(on my MES 40 I bought on black Friday for $200) Now if you give me any piece of One of the 4 main KCBS meats. I can cook it pretty close to perfect. In my opinion lol. The main thing with BBQ is to practice practice practice. Can't wait for the Super Bowl. Got a 20 pound brisket for $30!!! A pork shoulder. In the freezer. Going to do 4 different styles of chicken wings. Probably some baby backs. And Some armadillos (jalapeno poppers. Atb's. Whatever you wanna call them) for appetizers.

    Also. I did some measurements comparing the 30 to the 40 inch MES and the 40 is significantly wider deeper and taller. (I've never tried ribs in it. But seeing how I was able to fit a 8 pound brisket flat on one rack. 4 links of sausage length ways in one rack. And a 12 pound Turkey on one rack. I'm hypothesising 2 racks of ribs will be no problem. I even checked that 20 pound brisket I bought today and it's gonna be tight. But it'll fit lol. )
  14. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've been smoking for just over 3 years but I admit I had to Google what KCBS was although before the results came up I figured it was Kansas City BBQ...something. Anyway, you're on the right track. First, you bought the best smokers you could afford. Unfortunately, a $200 stick burner isn't very good but a $200 MES 40 is a steal on the best electric smoker in that price range. I (over)paid $189 for my MES 30 Gen 1 only because I was too impatient to wait for a better deal. Yes, it is more cramped inside than a MES 40 but I typically cook for no more than 2-4 people at a time. Pork ribs and beef briskets butt up against the walls because I refuse to cut them in half to fit. Within 3 hours they've shrunk in size and away from the side walls anyway. The smaller smoker size does limit the size of what's placed inside it, but it's plenty for who I'm cooking for. I even have leftovers!

    I'm really impressed about how much you've studied to improve your smoking skills. I watched You Tube videos to learn how to do the St. Louis trim on spare ribs but otherwise my knowledge has come from SMF and from reading cookbooks. I've studied up on various techniques and tips. Each time I smoke I try to learn something new. The next time I smoke either ribs or brisket I plan to leave the meat unfoiled to experiment with getting the exact texture for the bark that I want so I can then get it consistently. I'll also try different types or mixes of wood pellets, different smoking times and temps. I also try to set aside time to make my own dry rubs and BBQ sauces from the many recipes I've collected. I suggest you look at recipes and pick out 1-2 for dry rubs and sauces and have at it. You can make stuff in your kitchen that easily tastes as good as the commercial stuff.

    Where did you find a 20 lb. brisket for $30???? That's equivalent to finding the Holy Grail or the Last Unicorn or World Peace around here. If you can afford it--and it would take a lot of saving up--buy a whole packer sometime. The brisket point is a different animal from the flat. With the point you can make burnt ends which will thoroughly impress family and friends alike.

    Do you know about the Danger Zone for food? Just to review, food should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 140° within 4 hours. For meat and poultry the USDA advises cooking It in an oven at a minimum of 325° but us low-and-slow BBQers know they're wrong there. I bring this up because while you can cook a whole turkey in a MES 40 you need to pay attention to that meat IT in all parts of the turkey. A turkey 18 pounds and over might not completely heat up to 140° within that 4-hour window and then you're running the risk of making people sick. While the bacteria might be killed the toxins they leave behind might survive the higher heat. http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/food-technology/bacterial-food-poisoning/   I've got a 12 lb. turkey in my freezer that's going to be smoked in my MES 30 sometime during the summer. That's a size I feel comfortable with. Last year I smoked a boneless turkey breast of the same weight. Turned out incredibly well.

    I haven't cooked any appetizers yet since I concentrate on the entrees. As for your comment about cooking those meats "pretty close to perfect", it might be too soon in your burgeoning smoking career to make that statement unless you are indeed a prodigy. It takes a great amount of experience and skill combined with a great palate to make close to perfect BBQ, let alone perfect. Do you like a little smoke or a lot of smoke? A spicy dry rub and sauce or more mellow and sweeter? And you have to get feedback from the people who eat your food. Do they honestly think it's as good as you do? And what is perfect? I've watched enough cooking competition shows to know that palates are personal; one critic may love something on their plate while another will detest it. Perfect is in the palate of the beholder. There are many, many BBQ styles. I've chosen to cook in a kind of KC/Memphis/Texas style. I go for sweet and smoky with some heat. I'm restricted in the heat since my wife doesn't like dishes made with hot chile peppers. But from my own experience I know I look pork ribs smoked over hickory or apple or pecan wood pellets (or a combo of them) and I like brisket smoked over oak wood pellets. I'm still experimenting with foiling and not-foiling. Keep pushing yourself as well. Try to learn something new each time you smoke, if only to confirm that you do know what you're doing.

    I have a last suggestion for you. My wife turned me onto a site called Craftsy.com. There are many cooking classes there. I suggest you wait for a good sale and take this class:

    I have one of Lampe's cookbooks (among the many BBQ and grilling cookbooks I own) and I got some good recipes and tips from it. I've only watched part of an online lesson from his class but I think it would be even more instructional than the You Tube videos. I'm also taking a Chinese cooking class on the site and have learned much from it. But keep doing what you're doing and you mind find that you've found your career.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2016
  15. Update with my 3rd attempt:

    I prepped the ribs fri night, removed the membrane and used a yellow mustard base, sweet and savory rubbed in, cellophane wrapped tand placed in refrig until this morning (1/17/16) 36-ish hours wrapped. It was a balmy 32° when I turned on the MESmoker and set it to 225° . I waited 15min and added 2 loads of apple chips to get the smoke started. 7 min later smoke was see rising thru the vent that was mostly closed for the warmup period. Placed ribs bone side down then opened the vent all the way. I added chips every hour. I am not sure if I had TBS but there was a big difference in output compared to last time when I used apple juice in the water pan. This time it was empty but in place. I was mistaking the steam for smoke. I then gave it 3.5 hours due to temp drop when I opened the door to load the racks. Half way thru I took the #1 rack and swapped it with the #4 rack and then swapped #2 and #3. My thought was to even out the smoke in all 4 racks...I placed the ribs in covered foil pans with 3oz of apple juice and put them back in the smoker for 2.5 hours to make up again for the opening of the door. After the foil period I removed them from the pans and sauced them for the remaining hour. 

    1 problem that I had was...trying to be aware the chips were cold, I loaded the chip tray but did not dump them so to warm them a bit then dump when needed ...OOOPS ...Had heavy smoke as I found out they got lit too. Live and Learn!

    The rub:

    Going in:


    After the foiling and resting for 10 min:

    the blurry finished rib:

    Summary....Getting better each time. Fell off the bone, Good bark. Texture inside was perfect not too wet nor too dry. 

    Next time I wil try the brown sugar and honey in the foil with the apple juice for a "sweeter" rib as it is my wife's preference

    I appreciate all the info I have read since finding this forum and everyone sharing ideas. 

    If anyone has any comments please don't hesitate on posting them.


    smokin ts bbq likes this.
  16. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Just from looks alone you nailed what pork ribs should look like. Tweaking the flavor profile will come easily.
  17. Thanks,

    From what I have been noticing...it will constantly be a work in progress....Fortunately we LOVE RIBS!
  18. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I think smoking is always a work in progress. I enjoy cooking ribs. I keep going back and forth over whether I prefer baby backs to St. Louis style ribs or vice versa. Both have their positives and negatives, with b-backs being the easier of the two to cook, in my opinion. I would even buy regular, untrimmed spareribs if I could find them. I chuckle at the pre-seasoned or marinated ribs I see in the supermarkets. A lot of the fun in smoking is creating or choosing your own dry rub and BBQ sauce for the flavor profile you choose, not what some meat packer has chosen for you.
  19. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    My only addition to this would be instead of 3-2-1. You cook to temp instead, and after the foil stage you put the ribs on a screaming hot grill for just a couple of minutes to set them & add some bark to the tops.

  20. Al,

    I am very new at the smoking thing but cooking to temp maybe difficult when tring to place a probe into the meat without poking thru or hitting a bone...ideas on a better way to check the temp...I haven't tried the built in probe or the old Maverick Redi chek ET-72 that I have.

    As an aside...We ate some leftover ribs tonight and they were even better reheated.....  
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016

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