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BB Ribs: How long to stay at ~200?

tnt barbecue

Joined Aug 12, 2016
Hey all,

I'm still really new to smoking ribs, and I have a quick question as I head into my fourth cook...

I recently had great success with smoking baby back ribs via the 2-1-1 method with my Weber kettle, a Slow & Sear, apple wood chunks, and Meathead Goldwyn's Memphis Dust. That third cook was the first time I succeeded with the Texas Crutch, and when the meat hit 200, the fat melted and the results were quite good.

But I think I stayed at high temperature for too long... The meat pulled back from the bone more than expected, and the ribs started to fall apart a bit. I kept a Maverick probe in the slab even during the crutch so that I could monitor temperature.

So if the goal is to get the fat and cartiliage to melt in the 195-201 range, how long should the meat stay there? Do you just hit that temperature and then progress to the next step, or should you hold that temperature for a set period of time? Again, in my case, I think I held a bit too long...

Thanks in advance.



Smoking Fanatic
Joined Dec 21, 2015
I have cooked ribs using both the temp method and the bend test. Usually when I would use the temp method I would remove as soon as I got to about 195-197. If you get to 200 they will most likely fall apart when you try to take them off the smoker. As far as bone pull, I've had ribs that were perfect tenderness and hardly any bone pull, so you can't always go by that.


Meat Mopper
Joined Dec 27, 2012
Agreed. For some reason a lower cook temp yields less bone pull back in my opinion. Example would be Ribs cooked at 200* vs 275*+.

Mkriet is on the money with the IT temp. 190 -195 is a nice bite. 195 -200+ is FOTB.

Happy smoking!


SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Jun 22, 2009
Agree with the above.

As soon as you hit your target temp, they are done.


joe black

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Jan 25, 2015
I never cook ribs by temp. I think it's too easy to hit a bone or go all the way thru. I smoke baby backs at 260-275* nekkid for about 3 hours. At that point I'm getting a pretty fair bend. I sauce/ glaze the ribs twice for 15 minutes each and they are done with a good taste, very moist and a good, slight tug. I use Jeff's rub and sauce with Jeff's sauce. Both are really good.

Good luck and try a set without the foil. Keep smokin', Joe. :grilling_smilie:

tnt barbecue

Joined Aug 12, 2016
Thanks guys. Tremendously helpful. I've got my fourth cook coming up this weekend, and I'll pull them when the maverick hits temp.

I haven't had a problem with false positives or bad readings, as I'm always careful where I place the probe. But you're right, it's easy to poke all the way through if you're not careful.

I'll report back on how it goes.


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