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Gonna give ribs ONE MORE TRY then i'm giving up... end up with shoe leather every time! :(

Discussion in 'Pork' started by jstanford, Oct 14, 2010.

  1. jstanford

    jstanford Fire Starter

    I want to end this bad rib streak i'm on..... What kind should I get that are smoker friendly to a rib newbie... I have grasped the 321 concept but if someone could clarify it for me, I would appreciate. I have smoked many butts and have that one down OK but this rib things killing me! Any help would be GREATLY appreciated

    Thanks in advance
  2. pineywoods

    pineywoods SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member OTBS Admin SMF Premier Member

    3-2-1 means 3 hours in a 225 degree smoker then wrap them in foil add a little liquid and seal the foil tight back into the smoker for another 2 hours then take them out of the foil and back into the smoker for another hour. If your doing Baby Back Ribs then make the times 2-2-1.
  3. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Back away from the smoker JStanford, take a deep breath and tell us what you've been having problems with.

    I'm not a big rib smoker (3-4 times a year maybe) but I always  get some great ribs with the advise from the pro's here.

    I always do spares, I like to trim them St Louis style  and do the basic 3-2-1 but every smoke is different depending on how they are cooking.

    I'm never to happy with baby backs as they're always to lean  (no fat ) for me and tend to dry out when i do them.

    Let us know what the problem is and You will end up with some happy ribs!
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2010
  4. deannc

    deannc Master of the Pit

    Get a rack of spare ribs, they're less expensive than baby backs.  Make sure you have an accurate chamber temp reading for the smoker and maintain 225*.

    As Pineywoods has pointed out, put your ribs on for 3 hours.

    After 3 hours, pull them and double wrap in foil with a half cup or so of apple juice or liquid of your choice, tightly seal the foil and put back in the smoker for 2 hours.  (I prefer 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours) 

    After 2 hours in foil, pull and unwrap, remove from foil, place back in the smoker for 1 hour to firm them back up.  If you want to sauce the ribs, do it during the last half hour of the smoke.

    After 1 hour, pull the ribs from the smoker, tent with foil or wrap again in foil and let them rest 1/2 hour on the kitchen counter.

    If you follow the 3-2-1 (for spares) I don't know how you could end up with shoe leather...the foiling phase alone will cause the meat to nearly fall off the bone.

    The biggest bit of advice I'd give is, NEVER give up!!  If you can smoke a butt, you can smoke some great ribs!  Calibrate your thermometer you're going to use to monitor the chamber temp to make sure it is accurate.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2010
  5. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I also use the 3-2-1 method, but rather than the last hour in the smoker, I finish them on the grill.  This dries out the outside and gives them a nice dark skin to the outside.  Just my preference.

    If you're ribs are getting tough, I bet your temp is too high and/pr you don't have enough moisture on them when you foil.  Check your thermometer in your smoker to make sure you're getting a correct reading.

    Try Again!

  6. realtorterry

    realtorterry Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    These guys are ALL right. Don't give up friend. If their leather your probably going to long. One of the things I've learned is the  bend method. If you pick up one end & the other end bend down 80 to 90 degrees your good to go. Other thing you could try is a quick spritz here & there of what ever juice your going to put in the foil. Make it quick though cause if your looking you ain't cooking, but you gotta start somewhere. Keep us up to date * we'll getcha there
  7. I'm with T Johnson.  Just a wild guess, but I bet you have a temp issue.  The door mount thermometers in my stick burner are 40 degrees off from my grate level thermo.  (Which means they are basically just there to stop up the hole)  Butts are forgiving enough to handle a pretty wide temp range, but it could be enough difference to dry your ribs out.  Do you have a way to take a temp reading at grate level?
  8. bamaboy

    bamaboy Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    DITTO.I wash and trim my spares,apply alot of dry rub and store in the fridge overnight.I preheat the smoker with chips to 225 internal.this temp is from a second digital gauge because the factory unit is off by 20 degrees.Smoke for 3 hrs(I spritz with apple cider every hour)then 2 hrs in foil with copius amounts of cider and 1 hr with out foil.my family inhales these ribs.they are super duper good.lol
  9. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    My way exactly, except for the Apple Cider. I use Apple juice & JD BBQ sauce, but I gotta try Apple Cider--That's gotta be even better!

  10. jstanford

    jstanford Fire Starter

    I have a probe at grate height and one in the meat, I got lucky, my door temp guage is only 5 degrees off (not bad from what i've seen)... I'm gonna try this weekend and I promise Q-views, picked up a cold 12 pack of the new Coors Light aluminum widemouths (I'm a sucker for gimmicks) and my brand new Wireless 2 probe thermo... I will take a deep breath and give it one more go round
  11. pineywoods

    pineywoods SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member OTBS Admin SMF Premier Member

    Don't use a thermo in the meat just go by time and looks its too hard to get an accurate reading. Its one of the few things we go by time and temp I know. Just use a decent thermo for smoker temps.
  12. rdknb

    rdknb Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I would not worry about the probe in the ribs, there really isn't enough meat to get a real temp reading .   Just smoker 225 and follow the 3 2 1 and you will be fine3
  13. jstanford

    jstanford Fire Starter

    Will do!
  14. pops6927

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

    One other thing.. your definition of great ribs and our definition of great ribs may be somewhat different.  We don't cook them until they are 'fall-off-the-bone' done.  In that scenario, more than likely (esp. if from a retail rib joint) they've been boiled or parboiled for a length of time.  They'll be so tender the bones will rattle the plate as they fall off, but the meat will be tasteless and mushy too. Left swimming in that pot of water is all your F.A.T.  (Flavor And Tenderness).

    With the 3-2-1 method, you will still have a slight 'tug' on the meat, separating the meat from the bone, but the bones should pull out clean with little effort.  By no means are they overcooked or dry, however, or undercooked with meat tearing away from the bones.  But they are not 'fall-off-the-bone' either.
  15. dick foster

    dick foster Smoking Fanatic


    Apply rub,

    overnight in the fridge,

    take out ribs and preheat smoker to 225

    put the ribs in the smoker and do the 3-2-1 gig and you will have good ribs each and every time.

    It never fails and I don't spritz or add moisture either. I do however have a pan of water in the smoker to keep the smoke chamber moist so as not to dry the meat so much.  
  16. cole

    cole Fire Starter

    You know all of the ribs joints around here all state that they smoke their ribs for 4 hours.  Tomorrow I am gonna be smoking two racks of baby back ribs and a whole chicken.  I was gonna put some rub on them tonight and start them tomorrow around 11 or 12.  I'll be checking on them and the water pan periodically.  My new smoker seemed to drink the water last week.  It is propane.  I was gonna change it up and use a disposable aluminum pan for water and move it up from right above the burner to the first rack and just use the water/wood pan below. 

    I have always used manual methods to check for doneness of ribs.  If you put a fork in the ribs and the meat comes apart easily they should be done.  Also, if you pull on a bone and it starts to come out or spin freely I would say they are done.  With the chicken I tend to stick with the thermometer. 

    Best of luck!

  17. dick foster

    dick foster Smoking Fanatic

    Rib joints are in business to make money too and time is money. If you're in a rush you can just grill em too but it just won't be as good. Its like anything else, you get what you pay for.  
  18. the dude abides

    the dude abides Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    One other thing to make sure you're doing is to remove the membrane off the bone side.  It's like a piece of rubber if you don't get that off of there.  I didn't do that the first time I did ribs and couldn't figure out what in the world I did wrong.  Makes all the difference in the world

  19. jstanford

    jstanford Fire Starter

    I did it! I did it! Finally made edible ribs thanks to you guys and gals!

    All the tips and tricks worked like a champ, smoker spiked a little in temp so I pulled them off the first 3 hours a little early (2.5 hrs) and wrapped in foil, added a little beer to me and the ribs, out of the foil... Mopped in SBR, off the smoker, sat for a half hour and darn were they good!

    I have no Qview due to new computer at home (Mac) and everything I own is PC, I will get pics eventually... Tried two rubs on a taste test mission, one was Jeffs rub and the other was Rendevous from Memphis, I did not tell my wife which was which and we both agreed that Jeffs rub took the honors.... Rendezvous was good, and I may doctor it a little next time, If you have a chance to get some, try it.. I got mine at Sams here in TN.

    Anyway, thanks again everyone!! Smoke on

  20. que-ball

    que-ball Smoking Fanatic

    Glad it worked out, and we didn't lose you as a rib smoker.

    Have you identified what you did differently this time that gave you better results, or was it more than one thing?
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2010