Fall off the bone, or a little "bite"

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how done should ribs be

  • Fallin' off the bone

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • A little meaty bite type texture

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • other

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
  • Poll closed .
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Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
Sep 26, 2006
I hear a lot of talk of ribs that are "so tender they fall off the bone". My question is whether or not that is a desirable thing.

I'm well known for shunning Q chains, or for that matter, Q joints that cook in "set it and forget it" stainless cabinets that only burn 3 or 4 logs in the process of cooking a few hundred pounds of meat.

These are the types of places that, any and all, serve what we call "babyfood ribs", or, if you will, fallin' off the bone ribs.

We feel like ribs should be tender, but still retain the texture of real meat, or as they say, have a little "bite". Not bite as in spice or heat, but where you have to bite the meat off the bone. You shouldn't need to gnaw it off, but just a little texture.

That being said, I'm curious what the great majority thinks, and for that reason, here's the poll. To Bite or Not To Bite, that is the question.

These are the two opposites I was speaking of. to us , the ones where the bone slides out is overcooked, and the true art of ribs is to cook them until tender, but not to the final stage where the bones separates. It's easy to cook them to that point, just foil, and keep cooking.

I have had and made both. Both are tasty but my personal preference is with a little pull, chew whatever you want to call it.

It's one of the reasons i don't foil my ribs anymore. While it produces very tasty ribs it seems it's very easy to steam them and thereby losing that chew. Maybe it's just my inexperience but I felt I had better control with them unwrapped.
Well put, IMHO. Steaming, or even braising, is necessary for some cuts of meat like beef brisket, for example, but a true rib meister doesn't need to steam them. Ther aren't enough rib meisters out there to fill the needs of the chain Q joints, so they have to steam them. or in some cases, buy them already steamed.

Its hard to say!! Sometimes a rack of bb's that you have to chew and knaw on the bone alittle is good... But there are time when I like to just have a short end just melt in my mouth. I could honestly say 50/50 I know I didnt really help much...
Well I agree about the steaming although I'm certainly no rib meister
. I think a lot of it is personal preference. The texture of the meat is a choice just as is the type of rub, the use of sauce, type of sauce, etc.
I've considered all the ribs I've done as "fallin of the bone" but they have all had great meat texture and taste. I guess it's in one's definition.
Tim, just take a look at the pic at the top of the forum. Looks like two guys enjoying a pigcycle, kinda like them like that don't you think.
...Cooked BB's for 4th celebration....only one broke in 1/2 putting on the serving tray....best ever says the wife....

We prefer some "bite" and I am learning to perfect my technique that omits the foiling...seems the best thing to do is leave the water pan in for all but the last 45-30 minutes and use a spritz about every hour

Nothing better than ribs
Didn't read every post, but, the best ribs (in my opinion only!) are those that have a little "bite" to them. Falling off the bone ribs to me are a way to make expensive pulled pork. I stress again, just my opinion.....
My opinion is that real Q'd ribs should have some chew to the bone - the bite is what keeps your attention. If you can suck your meat through a straw it may be over done.

I like the bite, my wife likes them fall off the bone. Usually when cooking pigcicles I try to manage groups of done and over done. But that's just me.

Keep Smokin
i want to clarify my answer. i like the rib bone to pull out w/ light resistance & a few tendrils of meat- but the "joint or knuckle bones"to stay intact,w/ a slight gnaw when chewed.(if all that made any sense)
Rib meat should tear away from the bone, but only where you bite it. Properly cooked, the bone will dry almost immediately where the meat was.
That's what I'm lookin' for.
Rib meat that "falls off the bone" is overcooked and gets low scores in KCBS sanctioned competitions.
Preach on to the choir brother Knight of the OTBS. You know what I think.

For those of you that weren't there, the Short One put on a demonstration of what "steak on a stick"( spare ribs) should be @ the get together.

I cook em' a bit different for my family and friends than I will for a comp....but definetley not 'FALL OF THE BONES" for either. Love a little pull.
This is a great debate: for back yard enjoyment, my typical crowd likes the meat if not falling off the bone, nearly so. As we muck around trying to prepare for competition BBQs, the rules require that they not fall off the bone. At the risk of sounding like a "mug wump", I like them 'nearly' falling off. Foiling seems prudent, but it may be that the "2 - 2- 1" formula is not quite right. We cook at 220 -240 range and think that 2 - 1 - 1 is probably closer to the right times.

By the way: mug wamps were birds on a fence and in the elections of the 1800s, they were politicians with their 'mug' on one side of the fence and their 'wump' on the other!

Good news: there ain't no bad bbq!!!!!

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