Smokin vs Oven for tenderness

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Original poster
Aug 29, 2007
I've been smoking St Louis style, Country style and back ribs for a short while now and i have a question on tenderness. I find that my spare ribs after about 5 hours have a good smoke profile but don't have that "it" tenderness. They aren't tough or dry but aren't notably tender either. I smoke at 225 with a 50/50 mix of lump hickory and kingsford. I use a dry rub and a vinegar based mop during smoking. So far i haven't had any complaints, (everybody is too drunk and hungry to know the difference)...But i'm striving for that clean bone tenderness that you get from oven cooked ribs. Is this feasible??
whats an "oven"?

Says the redneck w/no elec to the house.........but still has elec to the barn.
Are you using any type of water pan? That might help add some moisture which can help the tenderness. Also, have you tried the 3-2-1 method? This might be what your striving for. Good Luck Smokin'.
Thank you all for the quick responses...I completely forgot to add that yes, i am using a baffle and the 3-2-1 method...With this method i have achieved my best result but it is still lacking the tenderness...I'm thinking that my thermometer may be over gauging the temp (seeming that it is on the top and in the middle of the smoker where the heat rises.) I find uneven cooking to be a particular problem (especially with country style ). You think perhaps i should add a little more heat to meat...That grissle just won't break down enough to my liking.
What kind of smoker are you using? That info will help us give you better answers. If you are using the stock thermo that come with most smokers, that is usually a source of problems as a lot of them are wrong. Confirming that actual temp of the smoker with some type of thermo placed a grate level will give you better feedback on the performance of your unit.

Oh BTW, Welcome to SMF!! Glad you found us!

Hope this helps!

Take care, have fun, and do good!


Ribs need a little "bite" to be ribs. Get 'em to done & you might just as well do a butt & make pulled pork.
Like Debi said, spend more time in the foil. And/or add more moisture to the pack when you foil (beer and apple juice works well). Foil too long, and they can even get mushy. Sounds like you want something halfway between what you have and mushy.

Personally, I don't like them to fall off the bone; partly because I don't like them to fall apart when I glaze them during the last hour (flip and coat every 15 minutes.)
Well, that ain't gonna happen smoking ribs, no matter what method you try.
Properly cooked rib meat should tear away from the bone with little effort, and perhaps even leave a bit of meat on the bone, but it definately should not "fall off the bone" (over cooked). The bone should dry quickly where the meat was.
Check your thermometer/s and keep things low and slow. Foiling and adding liquid is akin to doing things in a crock pot (do it long enough and even the bones will be tender).

Ribs have the full spectrum of ediable animal tissue just about, from bone and connective tissue and membranes to tastie morsels of tender meat and fat, and all of it packaged together in serving sized units with a bone handle. All of these factors come together to make ribs waste for some, treats for others and sometimes a real cooking challange. Cook them too fast or hot and they can be too tough to eat, cook them too long and they can end up as dry as a bone (pun noted). The thing is that we are looking for a happy medium to be called that "Just Right" rib.

I am really the wrong guy to be giving an opinion on how ribs should be done because, in all honesty, I will eat them anyway that they turn out! If however you want more tenderness, then, I think that more time in the foil is the answer provided that your temps are low enough.

The main thing is to keep trying, and remember or document your efforts and results so that you can duplicate your favorite results.
I have a Charbroil Silver Smoker... Great for the price...To answer one question, the vinegar hasn't been an issue because i've used a simple mop forever and it hasn't been an issue. What i'm gathering is that i should apply more heat and perhaps increase the the time in foil...Another problemo is poor temperature distribution. I stack the far side of my firebox and do not put meat within 6 inches of the vent...Yet, the meat is always much better on the fire box side then on the other. Unfortunatel a rack won't fit in my chamber!!!
Haha..I didn't see that there was a second page of responses.. Thank you all for the replies. On saturday i'm smokin for the guys on opening day...I'll let you know how it comes out...Cheers is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.