Smoked some babybacks

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Feb 18, 2007
Anyway,about three weeks ago I smoked some babayback ribs(two slabs).I used a dry rub off the internet(salt,pepper,paprika and brown sugar) and cooked them by the 3-2-1 method.I did not like them!The wife didnt like them and the kids didn't either!I took some over to my parents and they tried them said they were ok.I used cowboy charcoal from lowes which worked good.The ribs were not as tender as I thought they would be.I don't think I will be smoking anything in the near future because of this.I think it was the rub myself.
You should be more specific when stating that you didn't like them...too dry, too salty.....?

Have you used this "cowboy charcoal" before ?
Jerry -

Smoking recipes are like anything else some suit you some don't. What specifically didn't you like? To sweet? To smokey? To hot? To burnt?

We can help you man!
Cool, just keep will get better at smoking..sometimes it works some times it doesn't.keep a notebook of things you think you did right..and things you will not do next time..(like not useing the rub like you said) if i think back at all the time i had to go out and eat because of how my Q turned out at the start. and sometime even now.. i would have stopped a long time ago.. it gets better just don't give up..
Jerry don't give up, the old cowboy said if a horse throws you just get up and climb back in the saddle. Don't let him know he got the best of you. Practice makes perfect. Fire that smoker up and try again. Change the things you don't like and if you have questions don't be afraid to ask, we've all had bad times.Fire Up and cook something else and may the smoking gods be with you.
Sorry to hear that Jerry, since you think it was the rub, perhaps when you get a chance you can post it so we can see maybe what the problem might be....if a rub is way to hot or salty or even sweet it doesn't work well, it's all about balance. The only other things I can think of why everyone didn't like them is a creosote problem(your lips and tounge would have felt a bit numb along with a horrible taste)were you getting alot of thick white smoke??? Or they were overdone, with babyback/lion backs the cooking time is more like 2-2-1, but still woulnd't have been "horible" just overcooked a bit.
Buddy, when I burned up my ribs a few days ago, it just makes me want to try again the next day!! It's a hobby/sport/tradition! Don't give up, that's quittin'. Use mistakes as learning tools. Heck, this meat is cheap.....try a shoulder or butt this time. I believe ribs and briskets are the hardest things to do, so far.
Hey Cool85K5, I agree with every one , don`t give up learn from your mistakes , get back on that smoker and try to u succede!! heck the 1st time i did spare ribs my wife said it stunk the house up, she wanted to throw them & me back out side now when i smoke she wants me to cut the meat off the bone for her & says it smells good now !!
then she ask me if i`m gonna do a cpl Fatty ,,, also if your not sure bout something ask there lots of great people here always willing to help !!!!
lots of luck
Ok,I think it was the rub.It tasted salty/spicy to me.
1/4 cup coarse salt (kosher or sea)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sweet paprika
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

The ribs were not tough,you could pull the meat from the bone.It did'nt fall off the bone by no means.

The cowboy charcoal is made with three different hardwoods,Hickory,Oak and ?? can't think of the other.It works awsome for grilling also,burns cleaner and hotter.There was no white smoke,only clear/blue smoke,and I kept the temps around 180-210.

All I want is a simple rub,not sweet,not spicy.But that rub just did'nt do it for me.

And I think I will try again,I aint no quiter!
Cool find you a better rub you like and bring that heat up to 225-230 and you will get better results. Have you tried Tulsa Jeffs rib rub its damn good.
Just looking at this rub and comp[aring it to others I've seen here, the rub is not balanced. It's probably best to stick with the ones you find here than stuff out on the internet.

But if you like hot and salty, this rub sounds about right.
Wow, 2Tbs of pepper is alot compared to the rest of the ingredients.
I haven't tried Jeff's rib rub because I might not like it.I would have to but it and not like it.

I think I will look for some other rubs.Anyone have a simple 4-5 ingredient rub,nothing real spicy.
Is it possible that too much rub was applied ?

Admittedly, I'm still using a store bought seasoning salt. If I'm not careful, I can over apply the salt.
From the Lump database at Nakedwhiz...

Scrap Lumber Pieces?: Nearly 100%

"We have received two separate reports that ceramic insulation from the kilns used to make Cowboy charcoal has been found in bags of Cowboy products. The ceramic insulation was found in Whole Foods and Wild Oats charcoal, both of which are made by Cowboy. Both individuals who found the insulation in the charcoal contacted Cowboy and Cowboy indicated that the material is indeed ceramic insulation. The insulation has been described as "cotton fluff" and "like fiberglass insulation". Cowboy told both individuals that the material is harmless. One individual contacted an EPA toxicologist who indicated that this material is "is probably as carcinigenic as asbestos" and should not be allowed to contaminate the product. As always, we want to be sure you understand that we are not qualified to judge the information provided by Cowboy or the EPA toxicologist. However, we strongly encourage anyone using Cowboy or one of the other brands supplied by Cowboy to carefully examine the charcoal when they add it to their cookers. Be on the lookout for foreign objects, especially anything that looks like fiberglass insulation. It may be harmless or not, but it doesn't really cost you anything to be on the lookout and remove it if you should find any."

"We recently purchased a bag of Cowboy lump for use in our burn time comparison test. We are a bit distressed to say that we found a sheet of plywood in the bag:

We wrote to Cowboy for an explanation and after 3 follow up emails to customer service, they finally responded. The bottom line is that they say that none of their suppliers makes plywood so Cowboy doesn't know how the plywood could get into their supply stream. We continue to receive stories of odd things found in bags of Cowboy lump. This is the first truly bad item we personally have found, but the stories do concern us. At this point, short of rating this charcoal as simply unacceptable, we highly recommend that you keep an eye on what comes out of the bag before you let it get into your cooker."

PS If you have a Brookshires grocery locally, their "Picnic" brand of lump charcoal rated very highly and is usually on sale.
Here is my rub! I love it on pork and chicken.

BBQ Rub Plus


2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
¼ cup paprika

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well; use as a dry rub on chicken or pork.

Take care, have fun, and do good!


If you want to make sure you will like the result, I suggest you taste the rub before you apply it to your ribs.
I experiment all the time with different ingredients in my rub...
Once it's mixed, taste a little bit of it..
That's the easiest way to find any inbalances before you ruin a good piece of meat.

If I don't like the way the rub tastes...It's not going on my ribs!!

Seconded..... taste testing

Also, not all paprikas are the same...only taste testing will tell.

Also, I'm told tablesalt is twice as salty as kosher salt by volume. Many recipes don't state which type of salt was used. This is a simple error most anyone can make. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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