Whats wrong with my ribs

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Meat Mopper
Original poster
Jun 5, 2007
Jacksonville, FL
Ive smoked a couple slabs of spares now all using the 321.. they never recede from the bone more than about an 1/8th of an inch. I want the bone to show. Is there anything I can try to do to make the meat pull back a littl further. Maybe i should try a 3 2 2. more time is the only thing i can think of. Thanks
Sometimes the meat won't pull back as much as expected. The main gauge would be if the ribs were cooked all the way through. Also make sure the the temp. was where you wanted it ti be, are you using a tested thermometer? What was the temp at the grate/rack?
Remove the membrane from the back of the rib slab which will expose the meat and allow for better penetration of the rub and smoke. And marinade, if used.

I'm thinking your pit temp is to low, more time generally = mushy ribs. Did they taste good? Who cares how far back they pull off the bone?
They need to be trimmed well also
and the slabs in the hottest part of my box pull back more than the cooler area so I tend to rotate them every hour
Charles...it may be that your ribs were very lean ? less fat to render out of the meat equals less pullback on the bones,,,just my 2 cents
Another good one to watch is this one: it shows how to prep your spare ribs for Kansas City Style Ribs.
I am going with the heat on this one. I tend to think because of my own expierence that a slightly higher temp causes more or quicker pullback. Basicly I have noticed that when the heat is a bit high I char the ends of the bone and there seems to be more pullback. This is not to say that there are not other factors. The question may really be "What causes the meat to pull back from the ends of the rib bones?" My guess is moisture loss caused by the heat along with the heat weakening the conective tissue at the bone to meat juncture. I would assume that anything that affects the moisture of the meat affects the pullback. Heat, convection, salt, humidity, what have you. Basicaly, the meat shrinks as it cooks.

I could be wrong, and wouldn't be suprised if I was, but I am more concerned about me pulling the meat off of the bone for eating than anything
I agree with the higher heat causing more pullback, but some ribs just don't pullback much and those tend to be the meatier ones. I keep short pullback for more meat anyday! May not be photographically perfect looking but they sure do taste good!
I have to think, as my esteemed fellow smokers have said, that it is a heat issue.

I am speaking from experience. I made 4 slabs last weekend for a comp, faught the temp all day. Couldn't get it above 200. Bad ribs.

Made ribs last night, just for momma and me, and kept it between 215 and 230 and the meat was pulled back better than half an inch and you could pull the bones out like a toothe pick out of butter.

Too many people treat pork ribs like a beef brisket. 225 or 230 is not gonna hurt the ribs,,trust me..you don't need 12 hours! lol

Good luck in the future
Like the others have said...Many things can cause the meat not to pull back. Sometimes its the meat sometimes the conditions and sometimes the cook.

The 3,2,1 method is pretty fool proof. Ribs will be done at the end unless you are totally cold in the smoker. I had trouble with one smoke where the meat did not pull back very far. Next smoke I left them wrapped for and additional 20-30 minutes and no problem.

Fret not.....You'll get a better feel for whats going on the longer you do this.

Just finished my first 3-2-1 today they came out great got my smoker up to heat before I put them on and used a good therm for inside temp, temp was around 160-170 and smoker temp depending if the sun was out was 225-260- also sprayed every hour with apple cider vinager. see pics below to see how my bones looked




Here ya go right from the butcher!

Brisket Bone (Rib Tip)
Rib Tips are small, meaty pieces that have been cut from pork spare ribs during the trimming process when making a St. Louis Rib.

Pork Spareribs, St. Louis Style
St. Louis Style Ribs originate from pork spareribs and are prepared by removing the brisket bone approximately parallel to the rib side, exposing cartilage on the brisket bone side. Skirt meat is removed.

Pork Loin Ribs (Baby Backs)
Back ribs shall consist of at least 8 ribs and as many as 14 ribs. Generally, a rack of ribs will be 12 to 13 ribs. The back rib is the vertebrae section of the pork loin. When specified, the "skin" (peritoneum) shall be removed from the inside surface of the ribs along the intercostal meat.

Spare Ribs
Spare ribs are the intact rib section removed from the belly and may include costal cartilage, with or without the brisket bone removed and diaphragm trimmed. They will contain at least 11 bones.

St. Louis Style Ribs
St. Louis Style ribs are cut from the spare rib and are prepared by removing the brisket bone parallel to the rib side, exposing cartilage on the brisket bone side. Skirt meat can be removes. If left on, the outside edge of the skirt should be trimmed.

Pork Brisket Bone (Rib Tip - Breaks - Tips)
are the small meaty pieces that are removed from the spare rib during the process of making a St. Louis rib. Cut from butcher hogs, they are very meaty.

Kansas City Style or Bar-B-Q Cut (KC Cut - Colorado Style - South Side Cut)
a spare rib which has had the hard bone removed, and in some cases, the point squared.

from the loin or spare ribs, generated by straightening the loin or cutting down a loin or spare rib. Will vary in size and weight.

Flatbone - Button Bone Riblets
The last four to six bones of the back bone, not having ribs connecting them. A cover of meat will connect each.
Hmmm...my first smoke today and I tried the 3-2-1 as well. When I checked at 3 the meat hadn't pulled back as much as I thought they would have, so I just went on to the 2 and foiled them. I'll check back on them in a few. Good to know that the exposed bone thing is not written in stone
check my post on "today's feast" - i went 4-1.5 & 2- they had a lot of fat & i didn't have a lot of patience but lemon in the spritz worked.. - well the pics say it all- it's just a guide line... feel the force luke......
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