Extra Meaty Baby Backs

Discussion in 'Pork' started by ryanhoelzer, Jun 12, 2010.

  1. ryanhoelzer

    ryanhoelzer Smoking Fanatic

    I've been buying steaks at a meat counter in a little convenience store for years.  They expanded a while back and now have baby backs, briskets, and pretty much anything else you want.  The guy was telling me last weekend that sometimes they cut the baby backs "extra meaty" when they have a side with a bigger loin.  They had some this weekend so I got a slab.  Their prices are higher but they're fresh and cut themselves.  I thought the sign in the counter said $4.39/lb but I noticed when I got home they only charged me $3.99/lb.  These are 2.99lbs so they were $11.93.



  2. sumosmoke

    sumosmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That's a great price ya got those bb's for. Love your pics, and bet they will be a great treat when they're done!
  3. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    that's some nice looking BBs and a great price too.

     lets see some finished pics!
  4. ryanhoelzer

    ryanhoelzer Smoking Fanatic

    Here they are after 3 hrs, before being foiled.


    And after 6 hrs.


    I did 3-2-1 and started running low on fuel so I had trouble keeping 220 the last couple hrs, more like 200.  After 6 hrs they were OK but not as tender as I wanted so I put them in the oven at 250 and decided to sauce them.  I've cut one off each hour since and I'm at 8.5 hrs right now and still not how I like them.  There is alot of meat on them but I think my real issue is not keeping the temp up.
  5. ugaboz

    ugaboz Smoking Fanatic

    looks good what kind of wood did you use
  6. ryanhoelzer

    ryanhoelzer Smoking Fanatic

    Smoked with hickory.

    Pulled them at 10 hrs.  They're still not falling off the bone but they are nice and tender.  The quality is definitely good.  I think the next time I get some of these I'll try 3-3-1 or 2-3-1.


    Sorry for the last pic, light was kinda funny.

    See my baby back experiment here.  I think the foil pans and the amount of apple juice I used in the experiment made a big difference.
  7. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Man those look really good. You got one heck of a good deal too. Now it's hard to find the old fashion butcher shop anymore. I cann't believe what took the ribs so long to get tender and done the way you wanted them. Did you foil them at all??
  8. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The tenderness is in the nature of the cut.  The babybacks are the rib bones off the center cut pork roast.  When extra meat is left on, it's from the center cut chop which has far less integrated fat (marbling) in it than does the meat off the belly where regular spare ribs come from, so it takes longer to tenderize the meat and break down the connective tissues; it's extra lean (lean is mean, and fat is an acronym - Flavor And Tenderness!).  You need to increase the braising time (in foil with moisture) to adequately break down the meat fibers to tenderize them more.  (I'm sure we've all experienced the pan-fried overcooked center cut pork chop that chews like a boot!).
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2010
    cliffcarter likes this.
  9. ryanhoelzer

    ryanhoelzer Smoking Fanatic

    Foiled them for 2 hrs.  That makes alot of sense, they are very lean.  I'll foil them longer next time.
  10. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    IMO after 10.5 hrs of cooking those ribs shouldn't have been fall off the bone, they should have been bone fall out. I wonder if you didn't have more than low temp issues if you kept them in an oven for 4hrs at 250 and they still were not tender. Pops6927 talked about braising in his post and I think he brings up a very good point. Foiling ribs is a braising technique, the liquid in the foil packet gets hot and steams the meat to tenderize it. In your rib experiment it looked as if the ribs were bathing in the apple juice. With so much juice in the pan I doubt that very much steam would be created unless you kicked the temp up significantly. 

    If you take the next 3 lb rack that you buy and cook it for 2hrs @240F, then make a foil boat(using heavy duty aluminum foil about a 12" longer than the ribs), place the ribs in the foil with a 1/4 cup of apple juice, seal it tightly, put it back in the heat for 2 more hours and when you open the foil you will see the steam escape from the inside and that means tender ribs.

    I also think that you might have better results if you raise your cooking temp slightly, say the 235-245 range, that's just an observation based on my own experience.

    Good Luck on your next rack[​IMG].
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2010
  11. ryanhoelzer

    ryanhoelzer Smoking Fanatic

    I did these foil wrapped, not panned, with a few oz of apple juice.  I have to think the panned experiment must have been steaming by the way they were separating.  I wonder if the pan lets the steam circulate more and actually does more??

    Overall, I think the combination of the temp issues and the leanness combined to make them take so long.

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