Ribs to the next level

Discussion in 'Pork' started by av8tor, Oct 6, 2009.

  1. av8tor

    av8tor Meat Mopper

    I have been smoking ribs the same way for the last couple of years and there is room for improvement.
    First off I started using 3-2-1 method but this season I have started using the 2-2-1. I am using St. Louis Style ribs, I always remove the membrane. I use Jeff's rub the night before (great stuff), apple juice during the foil period and Sweet Baby Ray's before serving. Cooking temp is 225-250. Wood is usually Hickory but have tried Mesquite and Mesquite Hickory mix.
    The results are tender for sure. When cutting the ribs many bones just fall out of the meat.
    One thing I need to learn how to do is to cut off the cartilage that joins to the end of the bone. A real bummer when you chew into one. Maybe I just need to get better meat but have tried many cuts from many places. I am wondering if I should cut back on the foil time as it seems to soften the meat too much.
    How do I take this to the next level?
  2. bmudd14474

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

    Do you take spares and cut them into St.Louis? If not that is what I would do. There is a good youtube video of trimming spares into St.Louis.

    If they are too tender then cut back on foiling. I usually go about 2-3 hours or until I get 1/4 to 1/2 inch pull back. Then I foil for about 1-1.5 hours. Then finish to firm them back up.

    You can also try to not foil them. Some folks do this and like it alot.

    Cant wait to see how the next ones turn out.
  3. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sounds like you have it down as far as being able to turn out consistantly good ribs. Now all you need to do is fine tune.
  4. old poi dog

    old poi dog Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    "You can also try to not foil them. Some folks do this and like it alot."

    I'll second that.
  5. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    HEH-HEH-HEH! I remember you asking about the no-foil method a few months back...sounds like you found that sweeter rib smoke, Opd.


    It does take some change-ups in your methods for different results. As said above, less foil time will mean a less tender interior. I've done alot of variations of the 3-2-1. I change the times depending on the thickness of the cross-section, whether I use rib racks or place them flat on the grates, average smoker temps, and the texture I'm looking for. If you play with the times just a bit you'll find what changes it to your liking. Longer smoke time with shorter foil will give a slightly less tender chew, but also, less fall-off-the-bone texture.

    I don't remove the membrane, so if I want a true bone-popping slab of ribs, it won't fall apart when I handle it. That's just me...I like to play with the variables now & then, just for something different, and sometimes I get the "wow, what'd ya do to these, they're really good". That's what makes playing around worth it...you'll never know what you and yours like the best if you keep it the same...variety can get some nice responses, too...just a little twist from the norm.

    If you prefer a more pronounced bark (crust), then you should go with more unfoiled time at the end of the cooking.

    Lastly, the 3-2-1 and variations, are simply estimations, just as with X minutes/lb of pork @ 225*. Cross-sectional density (thickness), smoke chamber/grate temps, cook chamber humidity and orientation of the meat can all change actual cooking time.

    Oooooooooh, I digressed again....anyway, there are lots of ways to look at it...hope I didn't put you into melt-down while you read through this.

    I also hope to see your next rib burn, what you're shooting for, and your take on the outcome.

    Good luck & great smokes!

  6. tn_bbq

    tn_bbq Smoking Fanatic

    I concur.
    Cut back on your foil time.

    I also like to sauce mine before foiling instead of using apple juice. I find that when I take them out of the foil for the last bit of cooking, the sauce will help in the formation of a crust and adds to the texture.
  7. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It does sound like you can turn out the same ribs all the time. They sound great and you do a fabulous job on them. They are saying to cut back on the foil time for a rib with alittle pull back. Thanks for asking you just helped me out too.
  8. old poi dog

    old poi dog Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    "HEH-HEH-HEH! I remember you asking about the no-foil method a few months back...sounds like you found that sweeter rib smoke,"

    Aloha Eric....Yes, I prefer the no foil method, but one of my wife's friends likes em' falling off the bone and with sauce, so for him I'll do the foil and sauce the ribs during the last timed segment.

    I'm beginnig to enjoy my ribs with sauce on the side. I am wanting to taste the rub on the ribs. I started out with Jeff's rub and have tweaked it to my taste. For friends that like sauce I play it safe by doing Jeff's sauce. It complements his rub, however I just make it to be served on the side. The Ribs are the main attraction.


    All is good....The fun part is sorting out all the sugestions you've been offered. Have fun Smoking, let us know what you like and post Q-views when you can. [​IMG]

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