Foiling--The Texas Crutch

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by daricksta, Dec 29, 2014.

  1. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Meathead Goldwyn doesn't believe in the 3-2-1 method for barbecuing pork ribs and cites reasons why he thinks it should only be used with beef brisket? What's the consensus of opinion here?

    I don't think thread starters can be deleted but I thought the Smoking Meat General Discussion was a better place for this topic so I also posted it there.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2014
  2. bear55

    bear55 Master of the Pit

    I always follow the 3-2-1 method for spare ribs.  Of course, I pay attention during the last hour and remove them if needed.  Likewise, I always foil my briskets.
  3. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I think I'm going to experiment with ribs, using a crutch on one and leaving the other one unfoiled (I usually cook just two racks at a time) and compare the differences. I did something similar last year; three baby backs in a rib rack inside my Weber 22.5 inch One Touch Silver (with wood chips on the charcoal) and three racks in my MES 30 with wood pellets. I don't think I foiled any of the ribs in the smoker. Both sets of ribs turned out great.
  4. slowcookaz

    slowcookaz Newbie

    I am new to smoking and an MES30. Have cooked one brisket and one batch of loin back ribs. Using 3-2-1 on the ribs, at 208 degrees, it seemed they could have cooked another hour or more to get more tender. They were good, but a little firm for my taste. Same on the brisket. I have ordered a thermometer probe system for future use on brisket, pork butts and other big cuts, figuring temp as the guide instead of time.

    Who cooks ribs more than 7 hrs, and at what temps?
  5. bear55

    bear55 Master of the Pit

    Ty cooking your ribs at 235-240 instead of 208 and you'll have it.
  6. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    At 208° an hour more would have been better. Like others here, I typically smoke at around 235° but plan to experiment with 250 this year. My ribs are done within 5-6 hours using a variances on the 3-2-1 method. Next time I'm going to try leaving one rack unfoiled while I cook the other one with 3-2-1 or something similar. I think the lowest temp I've heard of someone using consistently is 215.

    With ribs, the pros like a little pull or tug when biting the meat off the bone. Falling off the bone is overcooked for them.

    What therm probe did you order? I use the Maverick ET-733 but there are other good ones out there, too. The Maverick ET-733 and the older version, ET-732, are very popular throughout SMF.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015
  7. mark4mn

    mark4mn Fire Starter

    I religiously foil when I do meats on my CharGriller outlaw. However, I did find that doing similar cuts of meat in my SI #2 or #3 (have both!), I do not need to foil. The meat, in my opinion stays moister. That being said, I have been know to foil briskets and pork shoulder on the SIs to geat around the stall.

  8. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Until recently--in this thread--I'd never been given the advice to foil meat to get around the stall. I may try that this year to see how it goes. THE longest stall I ever had was with cooking a chuckie which stalled at 160° IT for literally hours. I was having a problem with my MES 30 that day (since resolved) which might have played into it.
  9. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I concede that there is a reason he is known as "Meathead"[​IMG].

    His best buddy, Dr. Greg Blonder, recommends foiling to get through the stall when cooking pork butts.... I thought Meathead was on board with that.

    Too much self promotion at Amazing Ribs for me to take it too seriously. Some recipes are very good, other stuff is just off the wall or wrong.
  10. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks. I didn't know that about Amazing Ribs because I rarely visit there. For the most part I get my smoking tips from SMF.
  11. parrot-head

    parrot-head Meat Mopper

    I made my first rack of baby backs over the weekend using 2-2-1 @ 225

    They were good but not quite as tender as I like them.  I wrapped them in foil with some OJ in the bottom for the middle 2 hours.  Next time I'm going to try

    to raise the temp a bit and place the ribs in an aluminum foil pan and wrap the pan.  Wondering if that will allow more steam to be created?
  13. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Totally agree with what Jted advised. The 3-2-1/2-2-1 thing isn't set in stone. I do variations of it. I also do the "bend" test; you take the rack of ribs and slightly bend it outward while holding it at both ends. The ribs should bend easily without the meat coming off the bone. This test is a trial-and-error thing until you know what to look for.
  14. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I was watching a Food Network program on the best BBQ joints and I noticed something that got by me before: none of those places wrap their ribs or briskets in foil but most of them turn out food which is tender, moist and smoky. The only exception I saw was Mighty Quinn's BBQ in NYC. This one FN chef who I don't care for said it was the best BBQ joint in town. But what I saw was ribs with heavy black bark; a style I don't care for. The beef brisket looked absolutely dry to me; other joints on the same show did a much better job. I saw ribs and briskets which looked like what I produce in my MES 30, which filled me with pride.

    Yes, I understand those joints aren't using small electric smokers and wood pellets, and some use those rotating carousel racks, but none of them used foil. So, this year I won't foil anything, not even a beef brisket, just to see if I can still produce moist, tender, and flavorful Q.
  15. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    I have gotten in the habit of foiling almost all pork and beef products. It was a necessity when I was using an old second-hand electric smoker that fluctuated temps frequently. Even with my new smoker I can't kick the habit. I guess one of these days I will do some test runs and see how it works.
  16. smokesontuesday

    smokesontuesday Smoking Fanatic

    I've never foiled anything until I pull it from the smoker but I don't like ribs so I don't cook them often. If I did that might be the one thing I foiled regularly.
  17. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You're a smoker and you don't like ribs? Sacrilege!
  18. smokesontuesday

    smokesontuesday Smoking Fanatic

    When they're good they are great and when they're bad they're really bad. I think it's the hassle of messing with them that I don't like more than liking/disliking ribs themselves. 
  19. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    Looks like you need to try the texas crutch. 
  20. smokesontuesday

    smokesontuesday Smoking Fanatic

    When they're good they are great and when they're bad they're really bad. I think it's the hassl
    Having to mess with foiling them is the hassle I'm talking about. There are just so much better cuts of meat, in my opinion of course, that are better. Even with them already done I'll always choose pulled pork or smoked pork loin over ribs. They're just not my favorite.

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