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No pull back on baby back ribs?


Joined Dec 7, 2010
Hey Guys,

So last weekend I got a chance to smoke some baby backs, i have to admit they were some of the best I've made ever.

Meat selection is key I've realized.  I smoked them w/o foil for 4 hours at 220-240F.

They were not fall off the bone but they were firm the way i like them, very juicy too. 

My question is, how come the meat doesn't pull back from the bone?  Is it because I dont foil?  (ok so there is one bone exposed all the way at the very end)



Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
Joined Aug 27, 2008
I've done alot of no-foil ribs in years gone by. The cut end of the bone should protrude about 1/4" - 3/8" when they're done. You will get alot more pull-back if you foil after a few hours, but that gives a very, very tender chew, which is not to everyone's liking.

Was your temp gauge up to snuff? If the accuracy isn't verified/calibrated, you could have been smoking at much lower temps than you think, which will give far less pull-back due to the ribs being cooked to a lesser state of doneness.

Also, your time for a 225* smoke should be at least 5 hours, but probably closer to 6 w/o foiling, and 5 hours foiled (using 2-2-1). I've done tons of spares using no foil, and foiled more in the past couple years. No foil can take up to 7 hours or more if I had any low temp issues, while foiled have been done in anywhere from 5.5-6.5 hours.

So, possible temp gauge issues and more time, IMO.



Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Sep 28, 2009
if they tasted good      who cares about pullback

if you really need pullback just wrap in foil with some apple juice for a couple hours 


Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
Joined Oct 18, 2007
Pullback is up to the pit master. Some seem to like it and some seem to hate it. To me pullback means nothing. As long as the ribs taste awesome that's all I care.


Meat Mopper
Joined Feb 25, 2010
I almost never have pull back and my ribs are always tender. I think its the quality and different meat variations but if they taste good who cares. Some can be so meaty that they wont pull back.


Legendary Pitmaster
SMF Premier Member
Joined Oct 17, 2009
Pullback is overrated, I smoke at 250* and when there done, there done. No less,no more!
 This includes all meat and fish.


Master of the Pit
Joined Feb 10, 2009
As long as you like the ribs then all is good,you don't have to have pullback to have good ribs. Most here do like to foil so we do get the pullback and get tender ribs. But i must admit i do not foil ever time i do ribs.its all up to you!!


Meat Mopper
Joined Feb 25, 2010
I tailgated this year and had 5 slabs of spares going and I had to much going on and just forgot about foiling but they smoked for some time. When finally pulled out those things didnt last 30mins and everybody raved about their tenderness. Point being, if smoked long enough without foiling they will still be tender, foiling in my experience keeps them a lot juicier.


Gone but not forgotten. RIP
OTBS Member
Joined Jul 19, 2010
My latest beef ribs had almost no pull back, but were perfect.

Glad I took one out for tasting when I did.



SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Jun 22, 2009
Pretty much what everyone else said. You get more pullback when you foil. Pullback doesn't change the flavor, but I think it looks cool. That's just me.


Gone but not forgotten. RIP
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Jun 21, 2007
Pretty much what everyone else said. You get more pullback when you foil. Pullback doesn't change the flavor, but I think it looks cool. That's just me.

What he said. 

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