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Help with ribs, please.

tommyl8586

Newbie
20
16
Joined Jul 1, 2016
Hi all! I am new to smoking. I have done turkey breast, 5 chickens, a small butt, and probably 10 racks of ribs, BB and St. Louis. Everything has been good, except for the ribs. I love ribs, but I just cannot get it right. I have done the 2-2-1 and 3-2-1, and I have tried just letting them go on the rack with no foil. I keep it around 225-240 max and watch for pullback, but it never passes the toothpick test, so I am assuming I am over cooking them? Yesterday they looked good after the two hours wrapped but then went to hell during that last hour somehow. They were so dry and not tasty at all. Any advice?
 

jasper7

Smoking Fanatic
385
31
Joined Mar 14, 2013
What kind of thermo are you using.  If it is the stock one in the door/lid then that could be your problem.  I had one factory thermo that read 325* when it was closer to 225* in the smoker.  Yours could have the opposite problem, and temps are higher than you think.  If you don't already have a good thermo check in to a Maverick dual probe.  Hope this helps.
 

cliffcarter

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Group Lead
2,262
240
Joined Feb 28, 2010
Hi all! I am new to smoking. I have done turkey breast, 5 chickens, a small butt, and probably 10 racks of ribs, BB and St. Louis. Everything has been good, except for the ribs. I love ribs, but I just cannot get it right. I have done the 2-2-1 and 3-2-1, and I have tried just letting them go on the rack with no foil. I keep it around 225-240 max and watch for pullback, but it never passes the toothpick test, so I am assuming I am over cooking them? Yesterday they looked good after the two hours wrapped but then went to hell during that last hour somehow. They were so dry and not tasty at all. Any advice?
IMHO the ribs were undercooked because they were dry(and, I assume, a bit tough) and they did not pass your toothpick test.

Your stock thermometer may be off but an accurate thermometer is less important than most people think. If you can keep the temp consistent, in your case 225°-240°, then you just have to cook them long enough. IMHO "long enough" in the case of pork ribs, both spares and loin backs, is when they pass the bend test-


FWIW I cook ribs in the 250°-275° range. I believe that higher temps will give you better results, YMMV.
 
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tommyl8586

Newbie
20
16
Joined Jul 1, 2016
Thanks for the tips. I will try again this weekend. I think I may have been putting on too much rub too, so I will try less.
 

weensnbeans

Newbie
27
12
Joined Jun 21, 2016
I just got my smoker and did two racks - stock thermo read 225 - 250 on a 95 degree day sitting in the blistering sun.

I used a water bowl in my smoker. I think mine ended up going 4.5 hours total time. Didn't foil or remove from smoker.

At the 3 hour mark - I sprayed dr. p on the ribs every 20 - 30 minutes.

BBQ sauce applied in the final 15 minutes of cook time. Passed the bend test and they were great (unfortunately over rubbed - but tender and juicy).

*I would imagine that the stock thermo would've read 150 - 200 sitting in the sun so I ordered a 2 pronger!
 

fwismoker

Master of the Pit
4,280
1,030
Joined Dec 31, 2012
If I've said this once I've said it a thousand times. K.I.S.S   Keep things simple as possible and you'll have good results.  Temps are largely irrelevant with ribs and so is wrapping (not that there's anything wrong if you do wrap)    You're probably not cooking your ribs long enough...and the tooth pic test will NEVER lie.    I've had excellent ribs cooked at 250* and excellent ribs cooked at 500 plus, you just have to pull them at the right time.
 

fwismoker

Master of the Pit
4,280
1,030
Joined Dec 31, 2012
So, they will get tender after being tough if I just leave them on there longer?
Yes, the connective tissues have to finish breaking down first.  You'll notice more juices puddling up on the ribs which is a sign that the process is well under way.
 
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tommyl8586

Newbie
20
16
Joined Jul 1, 2016
Alright. Thanks! I'll pick up a couple racks of spares to try again Friday. I'm gonna just do SPOG for a rub this time as well.
 

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