Best So Far

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Smoke Blower
Original poster
Mar 9, 2007
Williamsburg, IA
We realized we'd about 25lbs of "country style(?)" beef ribs in the freezer from a beef quarter we'd bought awhile ago so I decided it was high time to really re-evaluate my distain for beef ribs. I've a couple of new wood suppliers and this time I used an Oak, Hickory, Cherry blend....(man that cherry smells good.)

I used my standard rub and this time got the temp up to a good, steady 230. Instead of trying to hurry everything- after all, smoking is about patience, right?

I had the ribs at a rock solid 240 dang near the entire 6.75 hours. One key is to do as Gunslinger suggests and preheat the wood by placing it on the firebox...THIS WORKS! I put a hot chunk in every 3/4 hour and it went like clockwork. At about 5 hours in, I foil-wrapped and basted with sauce. The last 20 minutes, another basting with sauce and I stuck them into a 450 oven to get them HOT to serve. (I've a minor phobia about serving temperature for food....cold stuff has got to be COLD, almost straight from the refrigerator and hot food's gotta be HOT, not warm!!-- strange?)

Margaret said they were the BEST I've done by far, and I agree with her on the flavor, delicious. Though I thought they were a bit tough....

Should I have left them in the smoker longer, so that when inserting a toothpick or fork, I get little to no resistance? This is the THIRD time I've smoked and I thought that some parts of the meat was tough!!! Am I being too impatient!?

I no longer dislike beef ribs! Plenty of extra ribs and have some smoker mods to make before the next smoke!

I've never tried the country style, but if you want to be sold on beef ribs, keep your eye open for some long ribs. Every once in a while my local grocery store will have them in. If you like prime rib you will love these. They are the ribs cut from the prime rib roast..OMG! It's like if you order prime rib out at a restaurant and you have this bone sitting there begging to be picked up and knawed on, but you hold back until you can get home and open the doggie bag and start pickin. Well the long ribs are a WHOLE rack of that. I just absolutely loved them, smoked with some oak and maple.
I wish I could get those here....the supermarket butchers only can cut what they get, and they all get "short ribs", which I'll not buy. Once in a great while they'll have beef ribs about 5" long, which I'll get for the pups and know they can't swallow them.
Grats on pleasing the little lady.

As for how to make them more tender, when you foil wrapped them, did you add any sort of liquid other than the baste of barbecue sauce? Sealing them with apple juice or Worcestshire sauce/beer combo will steam the meat and help break down the connective tissues which cause it to be tough.

Glad you found a method to keep the fire stoked well. I to love pre-heating my pecan splits on the hot plate above Puff's firebox.

Lemme first say that it's the 3rd time smoking and the 1st time trying the foil. I probably won't be using foil as standard cooking method in the future, but may try once more using the ol' apple juice, just to see what happens.

As far as the time goes, I'm certain smoke 1 was rushed. Smokes 2 & 3 was a good 6 to 7 hours at pretty darn rock solid temps. Is it that my temps are hotter at the cooking surface than at the lid thermometer and that I'm cooking at 20 to 30 degrees higher than I think? I use a meat thermometer and it always shows a cooler temp than the lid thermometer.

Do I just need to start earlier and cook cooler, say at 210 for longer and just be patient? The flavors are excellent, and I'm getting better each time, which is good, but I continue to detect toughness in the meat. I'm guessing it's simply a matter of the connective tissues not having enough time to break down... which is a time factor, yes??

The preheating works so well, I'd swear by it. I tried pre-burning, but found I was incapable- you know, operator error! I usually add a log to the fire at 45 minute intervals or so, and each time, I just add another to the top of the firebox. The firebox is so hot it starts the logs on fire before they get their turn inside the box, so I've taken to turning hot hot! Man they catch on fire the minute they're inside!

thanks in advance for all your help,


3 times and each time better is pretty darn good for me. Margaret was raised on a farm here in Iowa and is an extrememly accomplished cook. When we grill outdoors, she's always been the one who does it. I just never cared for doing it. It's a patience issue. In the past I've had none.

Margaret and I look forward to and attend the BBQ Round-up in Cedar Rapids every year. Herb (HerbieQ) and I try BBQ everywhere we go and have taken to fantasize about opening a 'joint' somewhere, someday. We just have silly pipedreams and that's okay, but I'd really love to perfect my Q skills for the family... If I keep improving each time, it'd be a miracle!!!!

I'm very stubborn, generally think that my way is the best...but since I've never smoked anything it's pretty hard to have a "my way," so I've been most receptive to suggestions, hints, etc. I want to thank everyone here for helping, I'd be LOST otherwise.


From what I gather, you are using a horizontal unit. You are very correct in assuming that your temps can be drastically different at grate level than a door thermo. The same can be said to the proximity of Firebox chute. (Unless you own a high-end return baffled unit).

I try to stress upon everyone to purchase little oven (dial type) thermos. $4 @ Wally World. They can sit upright or hang on the rack itself. When placed at strategic locations, they offer key insight into where the "Hot Spots" are along the horizontal reck. They work equally well with upright cooking chambers.

I hope this helps.


teacup wins the not-so-trivial trivia question of the day.

Marty DiBergi's influential documentary film chronicles Spinal Tap's waning popularity during a tour of the U.S. to promote their latest album Smell The Glove in the fall of 1982. If you remember anything from the late sixties (still calling themselves the Thamesmen) Gimme Some Money was one of their big hits, 70's Big Bottom was one of their top 10 smashes. During filming, band member Nigel Tufnel sets director DiBergi right when asked about his superior Amplifiers...,"These go to eleven." and that said it all!

Every little bit helps. I think I'll get a couple of those thermometers you suggest and cook the ribs longer. My next rack of ribs'll be at about 220 for ten hours. I swear to the smoking gods I'm gonna get some tender ribs one of these days.

Aggravation, exaggeration.... I'm a little frustrated that 6.75 hours at 240 didn't make my ribs tender. On my third try: Excellent flavor, tenderness was lacking. I listen to everyone talking about their tender ribs and wonder what it is I'm doing wrong. I'm guessing it's a temperature issue, I do NOT mess with the ribs once I put them into the smoker and only open to temp dump if it looks like it's gonna get too high.

I'm gonna fix some venting issues, place additional thermometers, make and install some tuning plates, and try again at 230 for 6 hours. Then maybe the 3-2-1....That don't work, I may try smoking for 2 hours and stick in the oven to finish.

Prior to getting the smoker, Margaret (wifey pooh) would stick ribs and sauce in the slow cooker all day while at work and they were tender as all get out. That may be the answer....2 hours in the smoker, hand'em over to her to finish in the slow cooker!! I just want some tasty, tender ribs man! Funny part is that ever since I got my smoker, I read and watch any and everything that's got to do with smoking AND that some guys only cook their ribs for 2.5 hours and get rave reviews!! Sorry for the whining.

IMHO beef ribs are best when smoked for a couple of three hours then thrown into a crockpot or oven and finished in lots of sauce... there seems to be more fat on a pork rib than a beef rib...

i dont smoke beef ribs to a finished state because i always thought they would come out like beef jerky with a
You guys are killing me with this "Crock Pot" stuff. Patience, guys... you'll work it out. I can stick a Brisket or Butt in the Crock Pot with barbeque sauce but it doesn't make it Barbeque. I've seen a few people finish a smoked brisket in the oven due to "hold time" and they had hungry mouths to feed. But that is usually after it's reached at least 160* and has been on the spit for 10 or so hours.

I've been on sabatical for a while, so I'm not sure what type of equipment you're using - but it CAN be done, guys.

Mike my smoker doors stand out from the barrel and I have temp gauges in them. I found that im running 25* hotter on the grates than what those are showing. I use digital stats and monitor my meat and grate level. If I keep the grate temp around 230* my ribs come out great. I also preheat my wood after I have a lot of hot coals going it keeps creosote from building up on the meat.
Good to see you Jeff.

Mike, are you going to try beef ribs again or pork, I can't speak to beef ribs as I have never made them but if you a re going to do pork ribs I highly suggest you do try the 3-2-1- method or a similarly modified one . The "2" part when it is in the foil with a bit of your choice of fruit juice is what will really help them be "Tender".

One of the biggest "Tools" in making good BBQ is time, and not allowing yourself enough of it. Once I learened to relax and allow myself enough of it my Q improved. It's done when it's done. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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