To wrap or not to wrap....That is the question

Discussion in 'Pork' started by mike5051, Feb 28, 2015.

  1. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    So,  I'm prepping some ribs for a smoke tomorrow.  I've done the 2-2-1 and 3-2-1 methods for baby backs and spare ribs respectively. 

    Lately I've been reading a lot about not wrapping meats when smoking.  I didn't wrap the last butt I smoked and it was awesome.  

    Does anyone have a procedure for ribs without wrapping?  I'm thinking about 250 degrees for about 5 hrs, but I also want to sauce a rack for the wife.  She likes em sticky.  I usually add the sauce when I wrap and then finish them for the last hour unwrapped to cook the sauce.  

    I'm not sure what exactly I'm looking for, just enjoy trying different smoking methods searching for the holy grail.  

    Thanks for any ideas,

  2. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You'll probably be looking at about a 7 hour smoke without foil. If its as nice tomorrow as it was today, you picked a great day for it, but I fear its gonna change.

    Don't worry about saucing until the last hour. You can burn the sugars in the tomatoes if put on too early.  Use the bendover test to see if ribs are done.

    If I do foiling which is completely new to me, I am old style low and slow, use a foiling sauce. Mine, I like apple cider vinegar, apple cider, butter and honey. Just drop the honey and add a bit of your BBQ sauce.

    Always try to keep the lid down, if you are looking, it ain't cooking. You also will realize a time lose for temp. recovery.

    Take your time, have patience, go bake a cake. Poke the meat with a toothpick to check doneness, and trust the breakover method for final judgement before pulling.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2015
  3. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks Foam,

    I'll use the bend test for when done.  I didn't think it would take that long, but I won't rush them.  I think the weather will cooperate.

  4. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Foiling decreases the time needed. I usually figure foiled is 6 hours, unfoiled 7. Thats not BBQ'ing, thats low and slow smoking. 230 to posibly 250.

    You know LSU pulled a double header so as not to get wet tomorrow.
  5. I vote no wrap. I also vote cooking at low heat (250-300°F) vs very low heat (225° to 250°F). But that's just me. No offense, but I don't want to wait 6 to 7 hrs for ribs that should be ready in about 4 hrs. Admittedly, spares do take a bit more time than loin back ribs.

    Here's one idea for some sweet and spicy ribs from There tons of other ideas out there. I do this on my WSM.


    2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
    1 tablespoon kosher salt
    1 tablespoon paprika
    2 teaspoons mustard powder
    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    ¾ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
    2 meaty racks baby back ribs, each 2 to 2½ pounds


    1 cup apple juice
    ¼ cup cider vinegar


    ½ cup maple syrup
    ½ cup ketchup
    ½ cup cider vinegar
    4 ounces bourbon
    ¼ cup Dijon mustard
    2 tablespoons hot chili-garlic sauce, such as Sriracha
    2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper


    Combine the rub ingredients. Using a dull knife, slide the tip under the membrane covering the back of each rack of ribs. Lift and loosen the membrane until you can pry it up, then grab a corner of it with a paper towel and pull it off. Season the racks all over with the rub and allow them stand at room temperature for 45 minutes before cooking.

    Prepare the cooker for indirect cooking over low heat (250°F to 300°F).

    In a small bowl mix the mop ingredients.

    In a saucepan combine the sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce reduces by half and has a syrupy consistency, 6 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat.

    Cook the ribs, bone side down, over indirect low heat, with the lid closed, for about 2½ hours, rotating them two to three times so that both sides of each rack spend the same amount of time closest to the heat. After the first hour of cooking, baste with the mop. Continue to baste every 30 minutes or so.

    After 2½ hours, check to see if one or both racks are ready to come off the grill. They are done when the meat has shrunk back from the ends of most of the bones by ¼ inch or more. Lift a rack by picking up one end with tongs. It should bend in the middle and the meat should tear easily. If the meat does not tear easily, continue to cook until it does, up to 1 hour more.

    Remove the racks from the cooker and lightly brush them on both sides with some of the sauce. Return the racks to the cooker and cook over indirect low heat, with the lid closed, until the surface is slightly crispy, 10 to 15 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove from the cooker and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Cut the racks between the bones into individual ribs and serve warm with the remaining sauce.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2015
  6. I'm doing 18 racks today. I never wrap. I'll put on at 250. In two hours I'll flip them for one hour then flip again and put sauce on. Then in another hour turn heat up to 300 sauce again. In half hour or so  I'll check to see if need more sauce if not I'll take them off. Let them rest for 15 minutes then slice. Good luck
  7. one eyed jack

    one eyed jack Master of the Pit

    Foam has you very well covered on this one.

    I never foil a butt till it goes to rest in a cooler before pulling.

    I don't foil Baby Backs either just keep an eye on smoker temps and start probe testing after 5 hours or so.

    I am getting away from foiling Spare's as well as I find that it speeds up the cook too much and is too unpredictable.  I have finished several racks of Spare ribs in under 5 hours total using foil.
  8. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    If you search "Disco ribs" and then look at a thread entitled " ribs the way I like them", Disco gives a great demonstration of the way he does ribs with no foil. From the looks of them he pretty much nails the "tender but with a little bite" texture.
    I can't seem to be able to copy and paste links on this phone, but just do the search and you'll find it.
  9. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for the suggestions,

    I just put them on and I am not going to foil. I have a good feeling about these ribs!

  10. heubrewer

    heubrewer Meat Mopper

    I jokingly call the method I use for my BB the 5-0-0 method.

    Smoke unraped the entire time. I add BBQ sauce at the last hr.

    Very simple and very tasty....Ibelieve we often "overthink" ourselves.

    I suppose wrapping is really beneficial if you are concerned with drying the meat out.

    I have an MES and that is not an issue, from what I have read about the WSM, it does not sound like an issue either as long as there is water in the pan
  11. bear55

    bear55 Master of the Pit

    I always foil my ribs, however, there are many who do not.  My advice is to try them both ways and simply decide which way you like best.  You might find others in your household that prefer them the "other" way and that is okay too.
  12. upin smoke

    upin smoke Newbie

    I use an off set stick burner .Would that have much bearing on whether to wrap or not?
  13. aceoky

    aceoky Smoking Fanatic

    As already stated depends on what you (and yours) prefer, I don't foil anything as a general rule, I /we love good bark and tender /juicy smoked meats
  14. one eyed jack

    one eyed jack Master of the Pit

    That's sound advise;  "Try them both ways".  You need to to develop your own method and it's a good excuse to smoke more ribs.  [​IMG]
  15. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Done deal!  Thanks to everybody in this group, the ribs are awesome!

    foamheart likes this.
  16. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I don't think ya coulda done 'em any better in foil!  They look great!
  17. one eyed jack

    one eyed jack Master of the Pit

    Yup!  They look pretty much awesome to me.  [​IMG]
    gary s likes this.
  18. bonzbbq

    bonzbbq Smoke Blower

    I do it both ways, foiled and no foil, depends on my mood, looks like you did it your  way and nailed it, good job

  19. aceoky

    aceoky Smoking Fanatic

    Oh yeah , those look outstanding!

  20. Look great, color is fantastic didn't get to dark  Good Job     [​IMG]


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