Rib help, Having family cookout and need to resolve my problem.

Discussion in 'Grilling Pork' started by vafeades1984, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. OK so I smoked for the first time a few weeks ago. I'm not new to cooking, just smoking but its quite easy to do and not as hard as everyone made it sound. I had problem with ribs though, Maybe it was the quality of meat but not sure. I did get the ribs from a local grocery store, baby backs. I cut membrane from backside and dry rubbed over night. There is alot of opinions about apple juice being in the smoker for moisture and some say you don't need it so I did it anyways just to cover all angles. I occasionally sprayed meat with apple juice to keep moist as well. Smoker maintained between 220 to 230, Never had a spike in temp but got down as low as 200 a few times trying to figure out refueling time. I did a charcoal hickory wood mix. about 6 to 7 pounds char base and kept the smoking running on hickory wood for the remaining 6 hours and throwing in tin foiled wrapped cherry and oak packages. 2 of each over the six hours for that sweeter taste. Obviously the hickory was predominate.

    The pork butt came out fine which is an easy item to smoke and hard to mess up. I did chicken breast and topped them with fatty thick cut bacon and they came out awesome. A little dry though, Cooked about 45 to an hour to long so I got great feedback on chicken and now will master it. The RIBS!! they looked awesome, They smelled awesome, they even had that great smoke taste!! The problem. Way to tough, You could eat them though. It wasn't like a rock but not tender. I could have gotten better baby backs at Fridays or roadhouse. Why did this happen? was it meat quality? I smoked the ribs for a total of 6 hours at a maintained temp of 220. About every 30 to an hour i sprayed with apple juice and had pan of apple juice right below the ribs. I put the ribs at the furthest part of the grill under the smoke stack so it didn't get over 220, naturally the smoker is hotter when closer to the firebox. My ribs had no pullback at all!!! I was so disappointed. I could better ribs on a standard grill and in an oven than on my smoker. what did I do wrong? I gave you all info in my process if you need any other details just ask.

    'Please help! I have family coming this weekend for a BBQ and I'm going to smoke again but want perfect ribs. I plan on getting the ribs at the local popular butcher rather than the grocery store this time. Also, I wanna try a pork shoulder. Is this hard to do?
  2. slownlow

    slownlow Smoking Fanatic

    I'm just a n00b so the experts will be along.   2 Things  I could tell you are check your therms to make sure they are correct and also read this http://wyntk.us/3-2-1-rib-method
  3. smokinal

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

    If you want fall off the bone tender ribs then you will find the 3-2-1 method will give you the results you are looking for. It's 3-2-1 for spares & 2-2-1 for bb's.

    It simply means smoke the ribs for 3 hours then foil them with some liquid so they steam for 2 hours then unfoil & back on the grate for the last hour. If you are using BBQ sauce you would want to sauce them for the last 30 minutes. Hope this helps!
  4. teeznuts

    teeznuts Master of the Pit

    did you do 2-2-1 or 3-2-1 method? 2 or 3 hours in the smoker then pull ribs, wrap in foil with some apple juice in the foil and back in smoker for 2 hours foiled, then unfoil for last hour in the smoker. type in 3-2-1 or 2-2-1 in search bar here. if you already know or use this method I apologize for the redundancy.
  5. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Use the 2-2-1 method with Baby Backs
  6. thank you all for the feedback, I really do appreciate it. I did so much research on smoking and seen the 2-2-1 and 3-2-1 method. There was however many other people saying it's a waste of time but as I know some people will eat just anything lol. For example my uncle loves his bbq chicken burnt!! which means the meat will be dry which is just nasty lol. I will def do the 2-2-1 method over the 3-2-1. I seen someone said use a liquid when foiling, what do you suggest it be? apple juice? one more question if I may gentlemen. Is the apple juice in a pan underneath necessary or not?

    I will take photos and give feedback next weekend so you guys can get feedback on your method which I'm confident will be successful. Once again thank you everyone [​IMG]

    p.s My temps are right on with 220. I knew that was most important in smoking so I got that covered [​IMG]
  7. teeznuts

    teeznuts Master of the Pit

    I pour some apple juice or apple juice and captain morgan in my water pan in an effort to hit the ribs with an "apple steam" while they are uncovered. Some guys like to spritz the ribs every so often with apple juice or a mix in a spray bottle. I prefer the steam so I'm not opening the smoker constantly and losing heat. I pour a little puddle of apple juice in the foil when I wrap the ribs for the middle 2 hours.

    This is just my opinion and remember there's more than one way to skin a cat and nobody's methods are necessarily right or wrong unless its regarding food safety. This is just what seems to work for me.

    Good luck!
  8. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Foiling liquid can be any combination of things you like.  We love apple juice because apple and pork seem to have a great relationship. and it adds just a bit of sweetness.  Some of us will add a bit of Captain Morgan's rum, maybe some brown sugar, pineapple juice.  Just about anything that adds moisture and flavor.

    The foiling will make the ribs tender  

    I like to make sure there is a bit of sugar on the ribs when I return them to the smoker after unfoiling because I like a bit of sugar crisp on my final product.  .

    3  2 1 or   2 2 1 are great guides but timing is up to you, not set in stone.  I smoke till the ribs are firmed up and have absorbed a good amount of smoke, then foil until they are tender and have good pull back, then back on the smoker until dark and a bit crispy and firmed back up a bit.  The first step should be done on the smoker, the second step could (heaven forbid? be done in the oven, the third step can be back on the smoker or a hot grill.

    Good luck, let us know how you do
  9. michael ark

    michael ark Master of the Pit

    A good dark beer is also used by many on here.[​IMG]
  10. iso

    iso Smoke Blower

    "I cut membrane from backside and dry rubbed over night." [Emph mine]

    Depending on your rub that could be your problem.
    After rinsing, trimming, & drying apply a binder if used then your rub.

    There are as many ways to cook anything as there are people that cook it.

    Wrap in plastic wrap and sit in fridge for an hour or until the rub has become wet and shiny. It does not take overnight to rub ribs. Discard plastic and place in smoker bone side down. From here on it is up to you how you cook them. Some 321/221 the ribs. There are many other methods as well.
  11. smokinal

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

    Most of us just put water in the water pan.

    Here is a link to a good foiling sauce:

  12. I've never foiled (not saying I wouldn't, but my ancestors didn't have Mr. Reynolds, lol), but six hours seems a bit much to be smoking ribs.  My rule of thumb is that if you put plenty of fuel in your coal basket, water in the water pan, mop the slab when you first put it in there (depending on the rub you used), and keep a good level of water in the water pan, you should have perfect ribs in about four hours.

    I've only been smoking about a year, but the guys here on the SMF helped me out tremendously to the point where I've smoked turkey, pork butts, briskets.

    Watch your temps and no peeking!
  13. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    welp.. i wonder how they turned out ?.. I've found out that the last hour is a lil to much... seems to dry em out for me.. the biggest thing is to "keep the smoker closed" .. everytime you open you lose 15-20 minutes cooking time... so when you go by time (3,2,1, or 2,2,1) you don't actually get the full amount of cooking time If you keep opening the smoker.. JMO
  14. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    I didn't see the type of smoker you were using ,but if you are using a MES at 220 then it's probably only running 195 - 200. Undercooked ribs look good but are usually tough. get a good thermo and check your grate temps. vs what your smoker says
  15. michael ark

    michael ark Master of the Pit

    Look for the minimal processed meat.It's more but it's o' so good and not injected.Thats my job.It's not localy grow at a (csa)comunity suported agriculture or grass fed but it's pretty good.
  16. ecto1

    ecto1 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I love cooking ribs...but to answer this question we really need a little more information.  Do you like wet or dry ribs...Sweet or savory...are they St. Louis cut or whole spares.  I think ribs are one of the esiest meats to perfect you just need to find what you like.
  17. tom c

    tom c Smoking Fanatic

    It sounds like you under cook them
    3-2-1 Spare / St. Louis Ribs  2-2-1 Baby Backs, during the first and second steps I do not open the smoker at all. 
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
  18. steamaway

    steamaway Smoke Blower

    That was always my problem with my Char Griller smoker. Temp guage was off by 50 degrees. never trust them. I used 1 digital and one regular one that sat on the grates in between my slabs. 
  19. Rib Health

    hi vafeades1984

    Your Temperature is too high for the leght of time you are cooking them and you are drying them out.  If you want to cook them for 6 hours, you need to turn down your temp to 200 degrees. 

    If you want to lose some of that hickory flavor, soak your chip in strong apple juce.  Buy a can of concentrate apple juice and use only two cans of water instead of three.  Then soak your hickory chips in that. 

    Do not open your smoker to mostine your ribs for at least 4.5 hours.  This draws down the constant heat that 200 degrees provides and the ribs need.  Trust the heat at 200 degrees and let them cook and they will be fall off the bone moist unless you over cook them and this is will dry them out. 

    At the 4.5 hour mark, take a thermomitor and test the meat.  If they are at 168 to 175 degrees, then beleive it or not, they are done. Usually mine are done at the 5 hour mark, but i like mind a little crispy so i let them go til the full 6 hr mark has past. 

    And about the Applebees...they boil their ribs at a facrory, pre-package them, throw them in the oven in the local kitchen and smother them in a BBQ sauce...this is not BBQ.  This is a mass medium for cooking ribs...so never compare your ribs to theirs...just turn down your heat.

    Big Smoken Dave
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2011
  20. owlcreeksmoker4

    owlcreeksmoker4 Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    In my experiences I always seem to have better luck when I use a apple vinegar cooking oil mop (about 60% vinegar 40% oil) and I always use the 2-2-1 method for baby back. You do need to foil them at least for the last 30 min of smoking in my experiences. Also you may try a light mustard coat before rubbing (sometimes helps, regardless it always leaves a terrific crust) hope I helped!

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