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Cost of Smoking Pork Ribs Comparison

Discussion in 'Pork' started by nwjt, Dec 20, 2010.

  1. nwjt

    nwjt Newbie

    New guy here, tell me where I am going wrong here:

    Famous Daves sells a full rack of rips, all cooked up with sides for 21.99


    I use a charcoal smoker, and here is my costs:

    Full rack of spare ribs:  $13

    Famous Daves Rub:  $2

    Fmous Daves BBQ Souce:  $1.50

    Bag of Charcoal:  $5

    Wood to smoke:  $5

    I won't count the small things like apple vinager etc..

    Total:  $26.50!!   Plus Several hours of my time but I don't count that since I enjoy it

    Looks like just the ribs + charcoal + wood is more expensive.  What am I doing wrong here.  Could I get off cheaper using propane?
  2. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    With a bag  of charcoal and wood you could do a bunch of racks  and cut you cost per rack down. He also pays less for the meat,  and you'd save a ton if you make your own sauce and rub.
  3. You get the satisfaction of enjoying a truly good meal that you created yourself, which are probably better than the Famous Daves   Ribs. 
  4. Another way to make the most of each smoke...fill up the smoker!! Even if you don't plan on eating it that day, you can utilize the extra space on the racks. If you're doing ribs, throw on a fatty, a few pork chops, some ABTs, whatever you think would taste good with the wood selection you are using for your ribs, and store those goodies away for a later date. Foodsaver + Deepfreeze = BBQ goodies on days when you didn't really feel like going out and lighting the smoker...
  5. nwjt

    nwjt Newbie

    The sauce and rub is pretty cheap, so the cost is mainly comoing from teh meat, fuel and wood.

    It looks like if I did 3 racks, I could save around $10 - $12.  I thought cooking was supposed to be cheaper than eating out.  I will have to find a cheaper meat source

  6. SmokinAl

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

    Sam's Club is a great meat source. The quality is good & the price is right.
  7. coacher72

    coacher72 Smoking Fanatic

    As mentioned above, the only true way of cutting costs is to have more than one rack of ribs in the smoker. Fill it if possible. Places like Famous Dave's are buying everything in bulk and therefor their costs are a lot less than ours. Doing it ourselves has given me a better understanding why BBQ at restaurants can be expensive at times. Anyway for me I enjoy the whole process. I try to look for sales and stock up when I can to cut costs.
  8. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Another thing you can do, is make your own rub in bulk

    Here's the recipe for famous daves rub.;


    Also buy meat when it's on sale, then buy a bunch and keep it in your freezer. In my area I can sometimes get racks of full untrimmed spare ribs for 6 bucks. When they're on at that price I'll buy 6 at least. Then I can take one, trim it St Louis style, and have a bunch of extra meat for rib tips etc.
  9. Al is on the right track, you can get giant racks of spares at Sam's that you can feed a family with. If you plan on getting into this hobby I would reccomend getting some spices and making up big batches of rub that you can store and use whenever you need them. Homemade bbq is usually better in my experience than going to a restaraunt. They know what they are doing but they also are a business and have to cook a lot of meat. Those circumstances considered, they can't take the time to put the care and attention and love into cooking that you can at home. It is most definitely cheaper to bbq at home if you go about it the right way.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2010
  10. fourthwind

    fourthwind Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Buying the charcoal and wood in bulk helps too.  yesterday I smoked 3 racks of ribs and a fatty that fed 5 adults and one child for just under 50 bucks.   Thats 10 bucks a person for fabulous BBQ versus the semi edible stuff you get going out to eat.    Five adults at "famous daves"  (still wondering why they are famous)  would cost you double to triple that, and the quality in my opinion isn't there.  LIke what was mentioned before.   Make your own rubs, and sauces.  Do a few extra racks at a time, and enjoy the fact that you are creating your own great BBQ at a fraction of the cost of going out.
  11. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Not sure where you are buying your spares at, but shop around. You should be able to find a cryo pack with two full racks for about $20-$22 (approx. $1.99 per lb.), that drops the price per rack down to $10, and as Fourthwind pointed out at Famous Daves that is usually one person ordering a "rack" add the rest of the family to that tab and the number is much higher.

    Also when you start making your own rubs and sauces you will get a much better product than you get at a resteraunt. Plus like the others mentioned load the smoker, don't just smoke 1 rack of ribs and call it good. When I do spares on my WSM I do 2 full racks, and usually have a couple of chuckies or some chicken on the bottom rack (or both), I vacuum pack and save the other meats and use them for meals throughout the entire week. I usually average 4 or 5 meals out of one smoke.
  12. lexscsmoker

    lexscsmoker Fire Starter

    Wait for the sales and buy them in bulk.  I did my first ever baby backs because one of the local grocery stores had them on sale.  I buy drumsticks for 99 cent a LB and get 2 or 3 packages.  I buy baby backs for $2.99/lb and get 3-4 racks.  Then when spares go on sale get 3-4 racks of those and freeze 'em.  Just like tbakko said, it's much more enjoyable when you make them yourself. 
  13. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    Other points to consider.

    The rack you get from Famous Dave's is described as 12 bones.   How does that compare to the rack you bought? 

    Dave's rack most likely is trimmed.  The racks I buy from BJs at $1.89 per pound have a lot of flap meat on them.  That meat is good eating, whether smoked with the ribs or turned into chile verde for another meal.
  14. nwjt

    nwjt Newbie

    Update:  I went to costco, and picked up 3 racks of ribs.  Came out to $2 per pound, I realized I had paid over $3 pound before.  I also got two huge bags of charcoal for $10, which is 4 times the charcoal I had before and much cheaper.  Also they had ribeye for $6 a pound, as compared to $13 per pound at my normal place!  $50 later I have atr least $100 in meet read to smoke for xmas!!

    Thanks guys for your help.
  15. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Cool! Glad to see you found some ways to bring the cost down a bit..... plus once you get good at smoking meats how YOU like them you will never be able to eat at Famous Daves or similar joints again... lol. I tried some restaraunt "smoked" meats a while back and it was tasteless on the inside, and sickly sweet on the outside [​IMG].

    The one other thing you will want to get if you don't have one is a vacuum sealer! You can package up all the stuff you are not eating that night and it will keep in the freezer for a loooong time.
  16. SmokinAl

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

    Yes, definitely a vacuum sealer. I have a food saver and it's a must have item.
  17. nwjt

    nwjt Newbie

    Does anyone know if using propane is cheaper than charcoal?
  18. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    The propane/electric/charcoal/splits discussion seldom has anything to do with cost.  I get pecan splits for free and buy lump charcoal in 50lb bags.  If you go electric or propane the main reason is convenience and stable cooking temps.  
  19. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Let me go off track a bit.  DO YOU FISH?  If you do, how much money you got tied up in all the items you need?  Got a boat and trailer too?  Add more bucks.  All to catch a fish?  How much would a similar fish be in the market?  Oh wait, the point is irrelevant because fishing is relaxing......right?  Well, for many of us, smoking foods is relaxing.  I don't do it commercially because that would take the fun out of it.  Don't compete either.  That's somebody else's thing, not mine.  BUT, one thing I do know, I generally can smoke something a dang sight better than some of these fancy joints, thanks to the guys and gals that haunt this and other fine smoking sites.  By the way, you forgot to factor in your time and fuel to get to that BBQ joint and back for the food.  Unless you plan on going commercial, you're micromanging this subject.  Oh, and the rib flap trimmings are fantastic in Dutch's Wicked Baked Beans too.
  20. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I was gonna ask you where you buy your meat from? I just bought a bunch of ribs for around 21.00 for 4 racks of some pretty good looking spares. I use propane and to tell you the truth I really don't care how much it cost me. The food is fabulous and it's really fun to smoke some meat and the feeling that I get from seeing my family and friends enjoying my food PRICELESS. 
    smokinstevo27 likes this.