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To foil or not to foil???

Joined Oct 28, 2013
Morning Guys, ive been smoking ribs for 6 months now (noob) and i always foil they taste pretty good but for me they come out over cooked they are alway falling of the bone, i havent tried smoking ribs with out foil. my question is if i dont foil how long should i have my MES running at 225?

chef jimmyj

Gone but not forgotten. RIP
OTBS Member
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Joined May 12, 2011
At 225°F it will still take about 6 hours for Spare Ribs, 5 for Baby Backs. I have an MES as well and frequently smoke Spare Ribs at the MES max of 275°F, no Foil, for 4 hours. They are bite off the Bone tender but not falling off the bone. You can test with either a toothpick, it should slide in with no effort, or the bend test. Pick up the rack with a pair of tongs from one end, about 4 bones, if it bends 90° and the meat starts to split and tear a bit you are good to go...JJ

ted campbell

Joined Jan 8, 2013
I put my ribs in a 275 for 2 hours and then wrap them in foil with some apple juice for another 2 hours or so until they reach a temp of about 195-200.  They come out perfect.  You could put them on a grill or back in the smoker with some sauce or more rub to get a little bark.


RIP. Gone but never forgotten.
OTBS Member
Joined Apr 4, 2013
Last night I did a St.Louis rack, at 230 w/ Pecan. I was really expecting about a 6 hour cook, but it took every bit of 7 to get them right. That's no water pan, mopping, spritzing on an MES30.

They were tender, but had some bite which why I did old school, kinda missed it. Juicy! The ends got a bit dry, but it was otherwise pretty dang tastee!

I really wish I had a 40, its almost a sin to have to cut a rack of ribs in half.....LOL Also you can't do a good break over test with 1/2 a rack of ribs.... I want a 40...!!! I want Bear's, it works and is seasoned already...BEAR!!!!
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Master of the Pit
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Joined Apr 23, 2010
The thing is, it doesn't matter if you foil or not, the time is about the same running at 225.  6 hours for spares and 5 for BBs.

Try it without the foil and see how you like it!  The key is maintaining a steady smoker temp no matter what temp you choose, and of course knowing the right tests to check for doneness.

The bend test - pick up the ribs with tongs near the end, if they bend about 90 degrees and start breaking they are done

A more non-destructive test is to insert a toothpick, if it goes in and out with little to no resistance - they are done!

Good luck,


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