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Babyback ribs in a MES.

Discussion in 'Pork' started by garyc, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. garyc

    garyc Smoke Blower

    I have always loved ribs in my Chargriller but since I can't use it in our harsh Illinois winters I asked Santa for a 30" MES. I have been trying several different methods to adapt my charcoal smoker recipes to my electric smoker and I think I finally got it right. I would like to share my recipe and see if any one else likes it.

    First up is my rub:

    2 tablespoons paprika

    1 tablespoon black pepper

    1 tablespoon brown sugar

    1 1/2 teaspoon salt

    1 1/2 teaspoon celery salt

    1 teaspoon garlic powder

    1 teaspoon dry mustard

    1 teaspoon cumin

    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


    Wash the ribs and blot dry both sides. Remove the membrane on the back of the ribs


    Coat both sides with the rub, massaging it into the meat well


    Put the meat on a cutting board and let sit in the fridge for 3 hours.

    Put water in the water pan, put dry hickory chips in the chip tray and preheat the smoker to 220 deg.

    I use an external temp probe rather than the built in probe, it is easier to keep clean that way. Insert the probe into the thick part of the meat making sure you do not touch the bone.


    Smoke the ribs until a temp of 160 deg is reached. It took mine about 2 hours. After the initial chips burn away use water soaked chips. Look for a medium smoke. When 160 deg is reached take the ribs out and lightly brush with "sweet baby rays" BBQ sauce. Not to much, you want to taste the meat, not the sauce.

    Put the ribs on a cookie sheet and place under your oven broiler. Keep the probe in the meat, another reason to use a external probe rather than the built in one, and broil until the meat reaches 170 deg. Be careful not to burn the sauce, you just want to caramelize the sauce.

    The finished product.


    I get raves with this recipe. I hope you like it as well!!
  2. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Can you post a picture of how the meat pulled away from the bone on those ribs.  Time seems real short to me to get the proper breakdown on the connective tissue from bone to muscle.
  3. garyc

    garyc Smoke Blower

    To late. They are all gone! The meat was still a little stuck to the bone but not very much. I don't like the meat falling off the bone, IMO it is better if you need to bite it a little. If I cook them long enough to make the meat fall off they tend to get dry. I guess it is personal preference. Trust me though, they were VERY tender and juicy!
  4. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I'm with bbally, something is not right with the time frame. I don't see how you could smoke them for only 2 hours at 220 and have them be done. Unless the high temp in the broiler finished them off. Seems to me that they'd be a little tough. That's just my 2 cents.
  5. I am normally an advocate of temp cooking rather than time cooking, however, with babybacks I find it difficult to actually find a piece of meat on them big enough to actually use a probe correctly and accurately.  When I do ribs I usually cook using sight.  When the meat starts to pull away from the ends of the bone is usually a good indication of doneness.  I usually wait until the meat has pulled back between 1/4" and 1/2".  I just check ever 30 minutes after the first 3 or 4 hours, depending on the size.  That's the point that I'll start to mop as well.  With this method I've always gotten rave reviews on my tender, juicy meat (insert toung in cheeck comment) that just falls off the bone.

    Your rub looks good though, I like mine a bit more spicey though (about a tbs cayanne for every 1/4 cup of sugar).  I too like the Sweet Baby Rays sauce, I cook it up with a bit of cayanne and hot sauce.
  6. garyc

    garyc Smoke Blower

    I am not sure what to tell you but I can assure you they were very tender. I don't like ribs that are so tender they seem more like pulled pork than ribs. Like I said, it seems to be personal preference.

    I asked the wife what time I put them in, she said it was 12:30PM. I remember taking them out around 2:45 so it was more like 2:15 hours. I can only say they were at 160 deg when pulled. I was VERY careful about where I put the probe. There was a thick layer of meat on the large side of the ribs. I put the tip of the probe as close to the bone without touching. They did sit for about 30 minutes before I got them in the broiler so they may have finished a bit more before I put them in the broiler. I had to wait for something my wife was cooking before I could use the oven.  Maybe I should have mentioned that, my bad. I am not used to documenting my cooking so I hope I will get better at it as I go along.
  7. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Well if you say that you smoked them for 2.1/4 hours and they were tender hell more power to you. Ribs are the only meat that we smoke by time and not temp. So keep on smoking them your way if you want and I'll keep smoking mine my way. Then we will both be happy.
  8. I've got the 40" MES. I just did a set of back ribs and I smoked em for 6 hours and they weren't "fall off the bone" but close.

    I wish i could get your results in that time frame. It usually takes me atleast an 18 pack.
  9. garyc

    garyc Smoke Blower

    Could my thermostat in my smoker be off? I am not telling stories here.
  10. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    If you think your therm is off I would put a probe on the grate next to the ribs so you can get a reliable grate temp. You may be right about the temps. My friend insists on grilling his ribs on a weber kettle @ 350 & it only takes a couple of hours to cook them. They turn out like you describe your ribs as being. No one here is criticizing you or questioning your cooking procedure. It's just that you have guys here that have smoked thousands of ribs in their lifetime & 2 1/4 hours @ 220 degrees is so far from the norm that it raises questions. We are all here to help one another become better at smoking.
  11. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I cook ribs just like the WIKI reads.

    Spares  3-2-1-

    BBs      2-2-1

    Same with a whole Turkey.

    Same with bacon.

    And most everything else.

    Lots great info here.

    These guys here are pretty dang smart.

    Perfect every time.

     Have a great day!!