Help with Beef Back Ribs

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chaim baconman

Original poster
Sep 2, 2011
i got a WSM a few weeks ago.  First time using it i did 3 racks - baby back, pork spare, and beef back and they came out amazing.  

with just worcestershire as a binder and a good rub i honestly thought the beef ribs were amazing.  they were smokey, moist, flavorful.  i didn't use foil and about a 4-5 hr smoke at 225ish (membranes removed).  i got pretty cocky with myself and invited a bunch of family over and thought i'd do 3 racks of beef ribs same as i did the other time and again took membrane off (as much as i could but beef membranes can have various layers) used worcestershire sauce and my favorite rub.  i got completely different results and this 2nd time the meat was pretty dry and tough.  i still had another 2 racks the next day and tried them again to redeem myself and even sprayed apple juice on 1 of them just to see if anything would change.  they have good bark but honestly they are dry and chewy.  i'm dumfounded how i could have gotten such opposite results- both beef backs were from same market.  not sure if i should try foiling them next time like  the 3-2-1 method with pork spare, and baby backs.  anyone have any thoughts on this? how can i get moist and non chewy beef backs?
The best beef back ribs come right off the whole standing rib right at the butcher shop if you can get them that way nowadays.  The ones that come in the cryovac are inconsistant in how much meat the processor actualy leaves on and the fat that's left to keep them moist. Most of the "fat" is on the side the membrane is in the cryovac packaged ones.  It is important to take the membrane off but i do try to keep as much of the fat on as possible.  The meat between the ribs is pretty rich by itself.  Is it possible that the beef ribs you did the first time were "meatier" than the second batch?  If you did everything the same way, to me it would be the racks of ribs themselves. I was a butcher for over 35 years and have handled many beef back ribs and have cut many off the whole standing.  There is a world of difference in what's cut in a meat shop and what you get in the cryovac bags.  There is more meat left on the one's cut in the local meat markets.  Tough dry ones could also be of a lower grade of beef.  The beef back ribs in the pic below are from being cut from rib roasts i bought that were marked down after the Christmas sale period.  Normaly these can be found also when shops get long on standing ribs and bone them out for bnls rib eye steaks at a good price.  I know it can be hard at times but when looking for beef back ribs these days in the cry'o pacs sort them out by the packs that have the most meat on them.  They have to be USDA choice or higher for me also.  I know this somewhat of a rambling post but i hope it helped some. Reinhard

after further thought, maybe i got lazy and didn't fill the water pan enough. i only put a liter or so of water and the water pan probably takes 3-4 times that much.  i'm thinking because of the lack of moisture the meat got a bit dry.  that small amount of water probably evaporates quickly. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.