checking temperatures

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Mar 20, 2006
Hey everbody,

Great site, I"m glad to be here.

Got a real stupid question here! Going to smoke B-Back ribs this weekend with an Electric water smoker that has two little sliding doors to check water and wood. What is the best way to check the temp on ribs? I know I'm looking for 160* to 170* range, but how do I do it? What is the best method?

I can see myself sticking a therm in a big piece of meat, but there isn't a lot of meat in baby backs? Do I just stick a therm in it and thats it? Also, what is the best therm to use and where do I stick it in the ribs?

Well, gortiz on all the ribs that I've done spare ribs and baby backs, I've never probed them with a thermometer. I just smoke them until the meat pulls away from the bone. I like to pick the rack of ribs by the bone in the middle of the rack-when the meat tears under the weight of the rack their done. Most of us here use the 3-2-1 method for ribs and I do the 'rib check in the last hour of smoking.

As for thermometers, I use the Maverick ET-73. it is a dual probe thermometer that allows you to monitor the smoke box temp. and the internal temp. of the food you're smoking. You can find out more about in the Thermometer thread in the Smoking Supplies and Equip. forum.

BTW in this board there is no such thing as a dumb question!
Welcome gortiz.

Baby backs will cook a little quicker than spares so if you wish to use the foil method you may want to try 2-2-1 or even 2-1-1. Foil is optional when cooking ribs. Mmmmm ribs, I cooked a couple racks this weekend and it's ribs for lunch today! :D

If you can pull two bones apart and the meat between then tears easily they are tender and done. Likewise, if you pick up a slab in the middle with a pair of tongs, it flexes easily and the meat pulls away from the bone it's done. Also you can give a bone a twist and if it pulls out of the rack it's definitely done. The visual check is when the meat shrinks back from the end of the bone 1/4 to 1/2 inch.
Perfect, thanks guys, this really, really, helps. I also wasn't sure how 321 applied to B-back ribs, but I got my answer, THANKS!
Now, measuring internal temps, the probe is placed in the meat and left there? so then you just wait until your internal temp is reached?
As mentioned above by Earl, I've never used a thermometer to check rib meat. I just go by sight & touch to tell when they are done.
gortiz, the only ribs I use a thermometer on is the "country style" spare rib. These have a lot more meat to them and it's easy to pick a spot to insert the thermometer in. As for baby back and spare ribs-no thermometer is used-just sight and touch is my guide.
Good Luck~ anything we can help you out with just let us know!
The numbers represent the hours of each stage of cooking:

3 - hours in the smoker to absorb smoke
2 - hours in the smoker wrapped in foil to braise in it's own juice or some added liquid
1 - hour back in the smoker unrapped to dry out and firm up a bit - also a glaze or sauce can be added if desired.

Baby backs usually cook for 2-2-1 or 2-1-1. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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