Couple of rib questions

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Original poster
Jun 29, 2007
Hey there,

I'm a newbie. I want to do some ribs tomorrow in my homemade smoker. The smoker worked great for a butt that I did over Father's day. So, I'm comfortable using it. I plan to use the 3-2-1 method, so here are my questions:

1. Do I mop the ribs during the initial 3 hours, if so with what.. plain apple juice?

2. Do I take the wood chunks out during the second stage (the 2 hour portion) so that it's just a cooker then?

3. Which are better for a newbie, spare ribs or baby backs?
1) Mop or spritz the edges if they start to look dry or as though they're going to burn. don't be too anxious to do so, this is the stage where the bark develops, and too much moisture will prevent that from happening. We prefer using a trigger sprayer using 50:50 water based liquid (sugar water, cider, whatever) and EVOO or canola. The oil helps seal in the moisture and prevents drying.

2) No need to remove the wood during the foiled period, but no need to use any either being as the smoke won't get to the meat. One caution, be careful not to use too much smoke during the unfoiled period. Ribs can't take an oversmoking the way that a butt can.

3) In our opinion, spares would be the thing to do. The meat is alot thinner on BBs, and not only do they not need 6 hours cooking, they really have a hard time taking that much cooking. Look for small slabs of spares-3.5# and smaller if possible. Avoid slabs weighing more than 4#. You'll also have a much meatier end product if you stay away from St Louis style (that's a slab w/ the brisket meat cut off).

Anyway, that's what we think. Let us know what you do , and then what you think.

Good Luck, and may the Smoke be with you,


PS- Where do you hunt sharptails?
1. If you notice they are drying out, I use 75% apple juice/25% apple cider vinegar. I have on occasion "misted" once an hour, but the process takes a tad bit longer. Keep your temp between 200* and 215*

2. You don't have to remove, but a mentioned, no smoke will get in when wrapped in foil.

3. Experiment.

Keep in mind smoke is a seasoning, so be careful to not over smoke.
So, the style of rib you suggest is known as Kansas City style, right? KC is where I first experienced REAL barbecue and have craved it ever since. That's why I made my own smoker and I'm now trying to learn how to do it.

What does Memphis style mean?

I live in Idaho and so I mainly hunt sharpies here. I have chased em around in Utah, Montana, and together with the prairie chicken while living in Nebraska.
You can't go wrong with spare or bb, depends what you like.

Don;t mist too early or too vigorously as you don;t want to spray the rub off before it sets up.

Enjoy and show us the results.
I'd stick with the full 3-2-1 with spare ribs. Now with baby backs you cut back on the time. More like 2 1/2-1.5-.5
this is a good starting point, but you must find you own special times.
Well, I finished up the ribs last night. I did spares using the 3-2-1 method. They turned out alright. I learned a ton this time:
1. I used too much rub.
2. My rub recipe wasn't quite what I was after, a little too spicy for my taste. I'm going to order Jeff's rub recipe and give it a try.
3. I should have mopped (or sprayed) em with something at least once or twice as the edges were a little dry, nonetheless they fell of the bones.

I also made some of Dutch's beans, totally rocked! I omitted the mustard and only put in 1/2 a jalepeno. It was spot on as for heat. Maybe could have smoked em a little longer to add a little more smokey flavor, but I was too hungry.

I also made some cornbread muffins. They were excellent. I have posted the link for the recipe in the breads forum, check it out, they're great.
From one Idahoian to another....Welcome to the SMF... I'm near Twin, and you?
We here in Oklahoma call that Oklatex style. That is what you'll get at just about any non chain rib joint in Oklahoma or Texas.

What most know as Memphis style is the "wet or dry" option, Wet being mopped w/ sauce while still in the smoker, or even over direct heat; dry being dry rub only and sauce on the side.

I've never heard of KC style. I know that some folks from up that way call a strip loin steak a KC strip as opposed to a NY strip.

No, what I'm talking is just a standard slab of spare ribs with nothing done to them other than removing the rest of the pig from them.

What SmokyOky Tim said!
Spares are 1- cheaper 2- have more fat = more flavor 3- meater
And have big ol' bones you can fling back over your shoulder.
Also, coat those ribs with mustard before applying the rub. The mustard pretty much disappears while smoking, holds the rub. You can also do this prep the day before and wrap the slabs in clear plastic wrap, fridge them overnight, gives the rub time to work. Set the slabs out an hour or so before putting them on the smoker so they come to room temp.
3-2-1 smoke em & ENJOY!!!!
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