Question about ribs

Discussion in 'Pork' started by adam c, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. adam c

    adam c Fire Starter

    Hey folks,
    I picked up a pack of spare ribs at the store yesterday. They were pre-packaged (not cut at the store). The brand name on them was "Farmland". The label says they are injected with a 12% solution to "ensure freshness". We live in a small town area, so my choices are limited on short notice.

    So I throw them on the smoker and leave them alone for 7 hours. When I pulled them off, they had not pulled back from the bone at all!

    They looked great, tasted great, were sliding off the bone and when I cut them apart, the juices literally shot out.

    So the practical side of me says, "hey, the ribs were tender, juicy, and tasty, don't complain."

    But the purist in me wants ribs that aren't full of fillers pumped into the meat at the processing plant.

    So my question: Is the injected solution keeping the meat from properly tightening up? If I kept them on for 10 hours, would they ever pull back like you would expect ribs to do? Has any one else had experience with this?

    Adam C
  2. danbury

    danbury Smoking Fanatic

    Generally speaking, as the pork industry has progressed the pork has become leaner with less fat. Less fat usually means dryer meat so some meat plants started injecting or "enhancing" the meat to make it more juicy. Some people don't mind it but I won't knowingly buy pork or any other meat that has been injected. Hormel has been notorious about it in the past. A few years ago my wife bought some Hormel brand ribs because they were on sale. Though she meant well she had no idea. I smoked them as I normally would and though they were tender, the taste was like salty ham.

    I can't remember if it pulled back from the bone or not to be honest. When I cook ribs on my UDS, the longest I think I ever cooked them was for about 6 hours.

    Others can relate their experiences with enhanced pork.
  3. danbury

    danbury Smoking Fanatic

    Forgot to add.... If you have a Sam's Club in your area, they usually have Cryovaced ribs that in the past did not have enhancements injected in them.
  4. pops6927

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

    The injection is worth about 2% solution and 10% additional weight, lol!

    Pops §§
  5. dirtman775

    dirtman775 Smoking Fanatic

    i would have to say if you looking to be the purist in your Q than stick with the pure pork......nothing "pre" anything just pure meat that you prepare yourself[​IMG]
  6. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I honestly have never watched for pull back although I know it is a widely used method. I go more by time on my ribs and how they look and feel at different times in the smoke. I have some BBs smokin right now and I bought them specifically because they weren't packed in solution. Solution = partially cured. I love cured butt.... it makes incredible dishes from a quick rendition of capicola to buckboard bacon. I love cured tenderloins made into canadian bacon.... but leave my ribs alone. It is purely a matter of taste. Some love ribs in the solution. It really is the difference between the pulled pork taste and the taste of ham. I would guess your temps were probably a little low cooking them for that long.... probably in the 210 220 range if I'm guessin which aint hurtin nothin. I usually cook ribs between 225 and 235 so they get done just a tad faster than your smoke. It is all good man... if they tasted good to you.... then that's the ticket.

    To actually answer your question... Solution does effect the texture of the meat so it could possibly effect the amount of pull back from the bone. That's just a guess on my part. It would be the only reason I could think of other than the lack of fat. I have never smoked spares that were in a solution. Just BBs. You were probably just at a great stopping point on those ribs and they were just right. If you had cooked them 10 hours you probably would have plenty of pull back and something close to jerky. Once you eleminate the moisture you are headed to dry town.
  7. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hi Adam!

    I've been a cryo-vac rib smoker for 8+ years. The enhanced ribs will carry alot of saltiness, so you gotta go with a low/no salt rub. As of late, I have powdered my kosher salt in an effort to use much less and still get a moderately thin, but hard bark without adding sugars. It seems to work well so I'm sticking with that method. Everytime I have a fresh pack, I have to re-think my methods just so I don't botch-up a slab or two.

    I also rinse the enhanced meats very well with cold tap water as soon as opening the package. If you do the sniff test, you'll notice a different odor than with fresh cuts, so get accustomed to that smell, and then you'll know if you left them in the fridge too long or not.

    I have found that pull-back has been difficult to achieve at normal temps (225-240*). I have started foiling since late last fall (I was a die-hard no foiler), and find that will help with pull-back alot.

    Typically, @ 225-235*, I don't see good pull-back for at least 4 to 5 hours with un-trimmed spares. My next rib burn, I may run @ 225* for the first 2 hours, then, push 250-260* and see how well the shrinkage shows.

    Those are just a few things I've learned over the years, and some tidbits from folks here on the forum that have helped me as well.

    Happy smokes!

  8. adam c

    adam c Fire Starter

    Thanks for the info guys. I guess part of downside of living in rural Missouri is limited selection. Sometimes, the local groceries will have fresh cut ribs and shoulders, so I guess I just have to jump on these when I can.

    I did notice a touch of the salty ham flavor.

    I also noticed that I was paying by the pound for injected water. [​IMG]

    On a side note, my wife is now a bbq snob. I picked up sandwiches from a road side bbq down the road this weekend. After every bite, she said, "Your's is better." What a wonderful woman.
  9. geek with fire

    geek with fire Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I hear ya brother. The "Woods" grocery store sells that brand of ribs exclusively. They are too lean and never cook up worth a crap. I get mine from wal-mart or the Sam's club in Columbia. Also find that the farmland ribs are a really wierd cut as compaired to other spares I cook.
  10. coyote-1

    coyote-1 Smoking Fanatic

    Did I just see "use less Kosher salt" on pork? lol

    The 'injected' brand around here is Smithfield. I simply don't buy it. My local Pathmark used to have its own butcher shop, but then they laid off most of 'em and started bringing in the pre-cut Smithfield stuff. Noticed the lack of flavor & texture immediately! Stopped buying pork there.

    Turns out, most of the customer base noticed the same thing. After two years, the store stopped carrying injected pork and went back to having their own butcher shop! SCORE ONE for the consumer [​IMG]

    As far as ribs, my local BJ's (similar to Costco/Sams) has the cryopacs. They are thankfully uninjected and untreated.... the way it should be. But ya gotta keep an eye out for your own interests. Corporations will try ANY trick to enhance their bottom line.
  11. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Here in my area we are lucky. We have two great meat markets Bichelmeyer Meats in Kansas City, Kansas and Steve's Meats in DeSoto, Kansas. Personally I prefer Steve's as I feel they carry a better quality of meats.

    We also have Krizman's House of Sausage in Kansas City, Kansas. They carry all kinds of homemade sausage that they make themselves. They have what they call a BBQ Sausage that is terrific, a lot of the BBQ restaurants buy it from them.

    I wouldn't buy any meat that had a solution added to it because fresh meat should be FRESH not processed.

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