STL spare ribs help

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Original poster
Oct 15, 2016
Hello all, so smoked some spare ribs today, my third time at it as I'm new at smoking. As the third time, I keep getting better and this time was really good. The flavor was outstanding! And this time the meat was a lot more tender with a nice smoke ring. But it just seems the meat should be even more tender yet. Seems I'm still on the edge of having a slightly touch meat, maybe more of a tough skin or crust. If I can just get it a little more tender and maybe a softer skin it would find perfection. I do a 3-2-1 method, averaging
135 degrees. Maybe cut it down to 225? Maybe extra 1/2 hour on the 2 hour tenderization? Curious of any veteran thoughts. Pics attached
If you want more FOTB ribs then just foil them longer.

I'm assuming that you added some liquid to the foil.

Hey Al, thanks for responding. Yes, i spray them with apple juice about every hour in the 3 hour smoke part, when I foil them for the 2 hours I put squeeze parkey, brown sugar, and honey on both sides, then on last hour after the foil about 30 min into it I add a glaze. I know that last hour is to firm them up, but do u think it is hardening that outer skin too? Sounds good on the foil them longer, I was having the same thoughts, guess just cause it's 2 hours don't mean it's always 2 hours and u reallly have to feel it out each time.
Yes the last hour will harden the outside too, but that's what most of us like.

It's called bark!

If you don't want that bark, just leave them in the foil until they are done.

I always put a little apple juice or water in the foil too.

Hello chbart,

Agree with Al's advice...he's spot on.  The longer the ribs are in the foil, the more tender they will become.  But you have to be careful with this step...if you leave them in the foil too long, they can turn to mush.

If you don't care for the hard "bark" that forms during that last hour, just cut that time down to only long enough to allow your sauce to set up a little - maybe 10-15 minutes should be enough for the glaze to set.  Or, as Al suggested, eliminate that last hour of unfoiled time all together and leave them in the foil until they reach your desired tenderness and serve  (either way, I like to allow the rack to rest on the counter, tented loosely with some foil, for up to a half hour before slicing).

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Two things stand out to me-

1. You are cooking at 225°, why this is important to your problem is in part related to #2. For the record I like to cook ribs in the 250°-260° range.

2. You are opening the pit and spraying a cold liquid on the meat, this will extend the cook time because the pit has to heat then evaporate that cold liquid before it can begin cooking the meat again. Because you are cooking at 225° this will take a longer time than if you were cooking a higher temp. Thus I believe your ribs were a bit under done, even with a 2 hour foil phase.

My recommendations-

1. Turn up the heat, 250° is what I recommend.

2. If you want to add moisture to the ribs during the 3 hour phase, I suggest using a hot mop that you keep hot by keeping it in the pit along side the ribs.

Good luck
Thanks guys!! Ur all awesome! I will absorb all of this advice and make the necessary adjustments. On the temp, My compass was pointed at 235, but making sure I was between 225 - 250. I was only wondering if 225 was an option for correction. And I actually like bark too, I think I just need a slight tweek in robbing a little more tendernous for bark, but want a little bark present. Again, I love this forum and so glad u guys replied!! All great suggestions!

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