Experimenting with Ribs

Discussion in 'Pork' started by jnstrom, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. jnstrom

    jnstrom Fire Starter

    I would like to get your opinions here. I will be cooking some baby backs this weekend but would like to try some new techniques on my cook.

    I usually do the 2-2-1 method with a rub at 220-230. spraying the ribs every hour with apple juice(except during the foil period, I spray them well before the wrap). My smoke starts with Hickory and ends with apple chips.

    I would love to try something new. Just point me in the right direction. I am using a GOSM. My Barrel is still being created.
  2. bbq engineer

    bbq engineer Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    No foil required.....check out these recent posts.



    Also, Sumosmoke sprayed with cherry juice which I thought was a great idea.

    I rarely foil my ribs, as I like the smallest tug on them instead of ribs that you cannot slice because it falls apart.

    You can also try different rubs and wood combinations. I love the combination of apple and pecan or cherry and pecan. The wood you choose does have an impact on the flavor you end up with, but I like fruit woods with ribs.

    Just my $.02, but honestly, how can you go wrong with BB's? That is the best thing about smoking meat...you get to experiment and eat your mistakes (if they can be called that!)

    Good luck and post some pics of what ever you decide to try.

    BBQ Eng.
  3. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Well said. I don't do meats the same way all the time. If you're getting bored with something, or just want something new, just let your imagination go...your creative juices will begin to flow before you even know it.

    You can use variances to some of your rub components, different smoke woods, or different methods for finishing the product. Sometimes even the subtle changes can bring in a new flavor or texture, and give a whole new experience to your smoke! I love playing with the variables. You'll never know what it will do 'til you try it. And, most times, it will be a pleasant surprise. I am seldom disapointed with a new idea that I've tried, even if it doesn't go exactly as I think it will.

    Good luck, and, do post your q-view when you get it going! I'd like to see what you choose to try as well!

  4. jnstrom

    jnstrom Fire Starter

    Does over cooking them really make them more moist? My last cook the ribs seemed a little on the dry side. Still good but I want them a bit more tender (close to falling off).
  5. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    It's like a butt or brisket...longer cooking time will make them more tender, as long as they are exposed to moisture. I wet smoke all the time, then switch to dry cooking at the end, for a good bark, or for birds to get a crisper skin. I gennerally don't even cover my ribs, only done that a few times. It does help with the pull-back from the bone.

  6. m1tanker78

    m1tanker78 Meat Mopper

    Jnstrom, I agree with bbqeng. Try smoking your BB's straight through without foil. If you keep a constant temp around 225 then they should take no longer than 5 hrs. Baste them (if desired) during the last :45 to an hour. It will be a pleasant change for you and your guests.

    Alternatively, you could change it up with some beef ribs this weekend. I don't foil beef ribs either and they come out very tender and juicy. Check out this thread - I made both baby back and beef ribs without foil......


  7. alx

    alx Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    over-cooking will make them dry.Have you ever done a toothpick test.When you can pull the toothpick out with little resistance they are close to done.Try putting a toothpick thru meat raw and pull out-it will lift up rib rack.When done -it should be more like going in warm butter and ribs will not lift up- i like a little resistance personaly-I smoke juicy ribs at 275.
  8. jnstrom

    jnstrom Fire Starter

    Wow what a great idea!!! I had an interesting smoke over the weekend. Started out with the weber indirect heat at 275 then moved it to 230 in the GOSM then foiled it in a pan. I then Accedently cooked it at 330 (temp when I went back out to check) Believe it or not they were perfect. I will try the 275 the with the toothpick next time. Do you foil?
  9. alx

    alx Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I do my st. louis trimmed spareribs-2 1/2 hours unfoiled -1 hour 1/2 foiled and sauce 10 minutes a side to set the sauce.I dont put any juice in foil but cook ribs meat side down in the foil layered in this mixture- parkay,brown sugar, honey,hot sauce( i use tiger sauce) and onion flakes.This was taught me by Lotta Bull comp bbq and he is top 5 winner many years KCBS.At 275 grate temp on my weber smokey mountain these ribs are idiot proof after few practices.I use a standard bbq sauce thinned with honey for finishing sauce.Add a little hot sauce for a kick if you want- i do..I like the fact i get excellent ribs in 4 hours 20 minutes and smokey.
  10. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    experimentation is always good! here's how i do mine:

    Stuff needed
    · Plain, Yellow Mustard
    · Durkee’s St. Louis Style Rub (get more than you think you will need)
    · Low-sodium soy sauce (Kikkoman is good)
    · Dr. Pepper
    · Olive oil
    · Apple Cider Vinegar
    · Dark Brown Sugar

    Before cooking:
    · IMPORTANT! If necessary, remove membrane from bone-side of ribs!
    · Brush with mustard
    · Apply rub generously
    · Cover and let rub work in over night in refrigerator
    · Next morning, get smoker up to 225-250 degrees – sprinkle on a little more rub.

    During cooking (225-250 degrees MAX):
    · Brush or spray with mop (1/3 cup olive oil, 1 cup Dr. Pepper and 2/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce – mix well with hand blender before using) every 45 minutes or so.
    · Turn and rotate ribs around on grates as necessary if using horizontal smoker (optional but not necessary, w/vertical water smoker).
    · Keep a thin, almost-blue smoke. Recommended woods: apple, cherry, maple (or a 1:1:1 combination of these three) – or hickory.
    · Cooking time can be anywhere from three to five hours depending on conditions.
    · When INTERNAL temperature of ribs is just below 172 degrees and meat pulls away from bones a ways, they are ready for final stage.

    Final Stage:
    · Toward the end of cooking time for ribs, mix together in a small saucepan the ingredients for finishing glaze (1/3 cup mustard, 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar and 1/3 cup dark brown sugar) over low heat until completely dissolved and thoroughly blended. Cover and set aside.
    · Moments before ribs are ready to be pulled off, brush with glaze (both sides)
    · As soon as ribs are pulled off, brush with glaze again (oth sides).

    BBQ sauce?
    · Ribs cooked this way shouldn’t need any, but it is always good to serve some on the side, for those who don’t know that! ;)

    are they good? take a look and decide:


  11. rons

    rons Smoking Fanatic

    Man those DO look good. I gotta try your technique. Dr. Pepper.. who'd have thought!

    I smoke Dr. Pepper and I'm proud... lol (70's commercial reference)
  12. bman62526

    bman62526 Smoking Fanatic


    Lots of good ideas here...

    Last weekend, I did St. Louis style ribs and they were the best I've done in about a years worth of smoking.

    #1 - This was my first time without foil...I will probably never foil again (mama always taught me, never say never) [​IMG]

    #2 - I found (keep in mind this is MY opinion based on MY experience and taste) that hovering in the 220 - 230 range did me no favors. This last smoke, I kept her at 260 for 3 hours, then dropped it down to 200 for the 4th hour, and then back up to around 230 for the alst two hours.

    #3 - I used a water pan inside the smoking chamber, RIGHT on top of the firebox opening. Now I know there is plenty of controversy on whether or not the water pan helps - but but for me, my taste, and more importantly I think - my smoking setup, it really helped. I could actually FEEL the humidity come out when I slooowly opened the lid to rotate the ribs...and I could see whisps of moist smoke that told me I was on the path to happy pork [​IMG]

    6 hours => perfect ribs...as far as how I like them, which is to say - there IS a little resistance or tug, but when you do pull on it - the bone comes out CLEAN with no meat attached.

    Last 30 minutes I basted w/ Stubbs Original..tangy, refreshing, awesome!

    Just thought I'd share what works for me. The important thing is, you can mess with time, temp, rubs, methods, moisture, etc...but as long as you pull them at the right "doneness" time - you can't go wrong! Some methods will take you 6 hours for Baby Backs - some will take you 4 hours...just experiement, as long as you do a toothpick test, or bend test, or twist on the bone test - and then pull them out at the right moment!
  13. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    ron - i never would have thought of it myself but a friend from tennessee suggested it and i tried it, liked it and eventually incorporated it into my method. another friend from florida suggested a slightly-different process with 7-up or mountain dew and i gotta admit that sounds really good - will probably try it.

    here's a link to my expereinces with ribs, hopefully you can learn from my mistakes!


    if you do give this a try, let me know if you like it and what, if any, tweaking you do. i am always looking for imporvement on a good method.


  14. rons

    rons Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks for the link, I'll check it out for sure!

    We have a new Winco food place in our area, they are supposed to have pork ribs at a really good price so was going to get some and try them on the smoker on Sunday.

    Last summer I did them a few times on my gas bbq with wood smoke really low and slow. I didn't know what I was doing but copied what I thought I saw on a texas BBQ cook off show. Amazingly they came out good. How we did them was we made a bowl of yellow mustard with garlic powder, onion powder, some mixed steak seasonings and ... dang what is that spice.. it looks like tiny little sticks.. oh rosemary. Then slathered the heck out of them with that and just cooked em till done. No mopping during cooking, no spraying... now I'm amazed they were good. Bet these will be better though! wow mt dew, ribs with a caffine kick! heh heh thanks!
  15. alx

    alx Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Great recipes guys.My technique is more for consistent results in comps-i should have stated this in thread- and i usually practice it at home-and comp cooking tends to be a one bite deal-super sweet etc.I do smoke my meat at higher temps then most and i have never had tenderer or better brisket then BLACKS in texas and he smokes at 300 plus.I catered a job last year and we did 100 racks and no way would i foil that many and they were excellent-but as mentioned before- pulled when done.Be interesting if folks posted different techniques and recipes in a thread.[​IMG] .
  16. rons

    rons Smoking Fanatic

    The done part is my hardest thing. I've read some on it, I'd love to hear detailed techniques of checking. I can never tell if it's pulling enough..

    BTW, anyone else's email notification links not working? I get the email saying reply, click and it gets stuck every time for every thread
  17. alx

    alx Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    In the technique i use for comps- done is the exact time i cook them 4 hours 20 minutes total at 275..Mike Davis(lotta Bull bbq) who taught me this has cooked probably 1,000 racks plus for comps.Toothpick test is reliable but it is feel-if you put a toothpick in raw meat -when you pull it out- it will want to lift up rack of ribs.As they are cooking do this and you will notice resistance go away as you pull out toothpick and pulling out like it went through butter is fall off bone or close to it.If you pick a rack up in middle it should bend on either end 45 degrees when cooked.I cant update my avatar since monday BTW.
  18. linescum

    linescum Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  19. rons

    rons Smoking Fanatic

    Cool thanks for the tips on that. I always wondered with temps too as it's so hard to get accurate, it's relatively thin and so much bone to mess up the thermometer readings. I'll try both those this weekend. Thanks.

    Must be having some server issues then
  20. alx

    alx Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I dont cook low and slow for reason you stated-relatively thin and lots of bone.It is very easy to dry out ribs at 225- but folks who have mastered it pull it at right time.By not adding juice to foil and cooking at 275 grate it will baste in its own juices as well.I used to add apple juice and they were always mushy-i add ingredients i posted earlier to foil-but it is great to experiment-and linescums ribs look awesomeYou will have to adjust some things to your smoker-i have found on my WSM this technique gives me reliability- which i have to have in comps.

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