Poor Ribs

Discussion in 'Pork' started by magnum3672, May 22, 2011.

  1. So, I smoked some ribs today attempting the 3-2-1 method.

    They turned out pretty poor I must say.  They were way overdone somehow. I am 99% sure I followed the directions implicitly but let me know if I did something wrong.

    Took my pack of Spare Ribs (full slab) and trimmed off the excess.

    Put the rub on them today right before they went on.

    Put them on my smoker at 10:30 EST at about 210ºF.

    Every hour or so I peeked in and sprayed em down with Apple Cider Vinegar (the method I saw said to use vinegar, others used juice)

    At the 3 hour mark I yanked em off, wrapped em in foil with a bit of H20 and some of the vinegar

    After 2 hours I unwrapped them and put my sauce on and let em hang out for about an hour.

    I'm guessing that my smoker was hotter than what the thermometer said, or the slab of ribs I used was small so they ended up overdone.

    Any tips would be suggested.

    If its of any concern I have the Masterforge Electric Dome model from Lowe's

    I would have pics but they got eaten, they were much better than most grilled ribs I've ever had, but like I said, waaaay overdone or something
  2. ecto1

    ecto1 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    OK just advice as everyone has different views.  In my opinion 2 hour in the foil is way too much time but it works for some.  I use to do 2 hours but know I just do 1 hour sometimes only 45 minutes.  I like tender ribs but not mushy so I do not add any juice to the ribs when I foil.  I do add a coat of butter and brown sugar during the foil.  I then put back on the pit for the last hour so mine is more of a 3.5-1-1 method.  You have to play with it to find out what you like My wife loves 3-2-1 ribs but I can't cut them because they fall apart.  Trust me search Ribs on this forum and you will learn everything you will ever need to make a good tasting rib.

    Second it does sound like you were cooking a little hotter than your smoker said it was.  Temp control is key when cooking outside.
    Last edited: May 22, 2011
  3. First time I did the 321, mine were overcooked also. I found that at 225 or so, 3 - 1 1/4 - 1 works better for me.
  4. tyotrain

    tyotrain Master of the Pit

    yup I like to do 3-1-1 for BB and 3-1-2 for spares works great for me[​IMG]
  5. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    As you have heard there are a lot of ways to do ribs. The ribs I have been getting lately have been so thick that i do a 3-3-1.  The thing that i was wondering is, are you sure on your smoker temp.? Did you have a reliable therm. on the grate that you checked in boiling water first?
  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I think you may be right about the "hotter than your thermometer says", and/or they were on the small side.

    We like ours to be "Fall off the bone", and I do 3-2-1, yet I have never gotten mine to "fall of the bone". I think maybe it's because I pick the biggest ones they have all of the time.

    That's just the way Bears are, I guess!

  7. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I didn't see mention of your having removed the membrane.  Also, 3-2-1 is not my favorite unless you like falling off the bone meat, but many people like it that way as well.  Keep experimenting and you will find the combination that you and your family likes.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  8. I removed the membrane and a few of the super duper thick parts (still smoked em but treated em like separate pieces of meat)

    Also the thermometer I have runs a bit cold (when I boiled in water it said 207 instead of 212 and I am only about 500 feet above sea level and it was a clear day)

    So, when I put the ribs into the foil how far into the cooking process should they be?  That was one thing that I never saw advertised really well.  It just used a time reference and said "you'll know when to do it by how they look" with no description (kinda frustrating).  Today when I put them into the foil they looked "done" by my standards.
  9. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    First of never trust the stock thermometer on a smoker they can be off by 50-100°, so get a good therm and check it in boiling water. Like the others said 3-2-1 is a rule of thumb, not a hard must follow rule. Also you mentioned spitzing every hour, honestly I don't bother doing that if I am going to use 3-2-1, every time you open the door you mess up your temps. When you put them in the foil they will get plenty moist.

    Don't give up, just take your time and change only 1 thing at a time till you dial in the ribs the way you like them.
  10. I have an "after market" thermometer.  It's not a great one but its one I've tested and it only runs about 5 degrees cooler.
  11. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    At only 500 feet above sea level that therm should run at +or- 1 degree with the boiling water test.  Having said that the therm should be tested in water at a full rolling boil, and away from the bottom or sides of the pan. A pair of tongs to hold the probe will save steam blisters on your hands.  Just be sure not to get the wire wet or you will be looking for a new probe.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  12. Can I get an answer on "done-ness" when I'm about to foil up my ribs?
  13. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Please re-state that particular question.

  14. I had a question about how close to being cooked through the ribs should be when I put them in the foil.

    I hadn't read anything (I have have and I just forgot or didn't realize what I saw) and when I had made mine over the weekend they looked pretty close to cooked through in my opinion.

    Thanks for the help up til now though!
  15. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Rule #1 Never Trust a Cheap Thermometer.

    Rule #2 Refer to Rule # 1

    We never trim our spares so I don't know what difference that would make in them, we usually go by look and feel.  Ribs are hard to check with a thermometer.
  16. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That's a hard one to say:

    I use the 3-2-1 on Pork Spares & Big old Beef Dino Ribs. 

    I like fall off the bone, but I don't usually get that, because I think I alway take the biggest racks I can find.

    I also use the 2-2-1 on Baby Backs.

    You should try these, and go by how YOU like the results. You may want to add more time to the 2nd (foil) stage, if they are too dry, or the opposite, if they are too fall off the bone for YOU. 

    There are a lot of adjustments YOU may want to make, that others may not, but I would start at the 3-2-1 and 2-2-1 the way I stated above & take it from there.

  17. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I did notice you applied sauce to the ribs during the last hour. If the smoker was quite hot, I would suspect you chared the sugar which might have given you a taste you did not like. 3-2-1 is not a must, just a guideline for you to use. My wife prefers it, I tend to like more a 3 1/2 -1 1/2 - 1
  18. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Bear I have been getting huge Baby Backs lately. Been doing 3-3-1 at 225 to get fall off the bone. Can you believe that? I've had some almost 2" thick.
  19. hardslicer

    hardslicer Smoking Fanatic

    thanks for sharing.....I learn something everyday I'm on this site...thanks guys
  20. so ms smoker

    so ms smoker Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

      If you think the ribs were too done after the first 3 hours, try the 2-2-1 and see how that comes out.


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