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Why are my ribs not fall off the bone

Discussion in 'Pork' started by alika2580, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. alika2580

    alika2580 Newbie

    I smoke about a 4lb rack  at about  225 degrees and the internal temp hits 165 within 2 hours instead of 4 hrs. They aren't that tender. Should I leave it in there for the full 4 hrs
  2. tdwester

    tdwester Fire Starter

    The way I do them is 2-2-1. 2 hours in the smoker wrap them in foil for 2 with a little apple juice then 1 hour un foiled. They come out nice and tender.
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    A full rack of Spare Ribs will take about 6 hours at 225*F...The 3-2-1 smoked rib recipe is a good way to smoke ribs and tends to turn out perfect ribs every time whether you are using the meatier Full rack spare rib or the Saint Louis cut. Baby Back ribs use a 2-2-1 method. The ribs are smoked at 225 - 250 degrees for best results...
    The 3 stands for the 3 hours that you initially smoke the ribs with nothing but your favorite rub on them and some smoke with your favorite hardwood such as hickory, apple, pecan, etc. After the 3 hours you remove the ribs and quickly double wrap them in heavy duty foil.. just before you seal them up add some Foiling Juice or Apple Juice and close the foil leaving some room around the ribs for the steam to be able to flow around the meat and the juice to braise the meat which Flavors/Tenderizes it.

    The ribs cook in the smoker wrapped for 2 hours undisturbed. There is no need for Smoke at this point... After 2 hours remove the ribs from the smoker, unwrap and place back into the smoker for the final 1 hour, with smoke if you wish.This firms them up, creates a nice Bark and finishes the cooking process. You can add a glaze or sauce at this point if you like. The meat will be pretty close to fall off the bone and be extremely juicy, tender and flavorful...JJ


    BTW...Go over to Roll Call and introduce yourself...Give some info on experience, equipment and your location...It will make helping you easier...
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2013
    CharlotteLovesFood, fizhd and woodbtu like this.
  4. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    You have all the info you need from JJ!
  5. africanmeat

    africanmeat Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yup JJ nail it
  6. scarbelly

    scarbelly Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    JJ gave you the best - like he said, please go over to roll call and introduce yourself 
  7. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Now Jimmy did give you some really good advice and I think that you should follow for the first time and see how you like the ribs. Then if you want to change the times (I did) you can adjust your times to fit your needs and likes.
  8. Have had perfect ribs every time using the 3-2-1 or 2-2-1. Will have me some ribs ready at about half time of the Super Bowl.
  9. tt ace

    tt ace Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    Chef Jimmy J said it all.  Sounds like you were smoking baby backs?  If so, the 2-2-1 method would have been the best. 
  10. monoxide

    monoxide Smoke Blower

    I had a question about foiling can I put the ribs in a foil pan and then put foil over the top? I think it would be quicker then pulling out and fooling around it. It should still steam in the foil pan.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  11.  Absolutely, that works just fine.  


    woodbtu likes this.
  12. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yes you can I do this all the time.
  13. monoxide

    monoxide Smoke Blower

    Ok. I'll let this thread get back on track I didn't feel the need to ask a question when it was half discussed on here

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  14. denden28

    denden28 Newbie

    Has anyone boiled their ribs, then smoked them?
  15. frosty

    frosty Master of the Pit

    I have boiled them in the past, but they were just blanched for a short time. Not a favorite, I must admit.

    They really didn't have as nice a texture, or flavor as when I smoked them using the full 3-2-1 method.

    Even then, gotta love ribs!!!
  16. nickyb

    nickyb Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    One thing I would suggest is the fact that 165° is the temp at which the muscle starts breaking down as well as fat.  It is also the most common temp I see when the plateau starts for smoking.  The key here is the fact that when you see it reach that temperature it will take a while to break down that connective tissue and that is why you didn't end up with fall off the bone ribs.  It will also stay around this temp for a while as it is breaking down all that tissue.  At least that is how I have always understood and based my own cooking times off of.
    Last edited: May 27, 2012
  17. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Bingo. Thanks for answering the OP's question. Whether you foil or not, time is the most important ingredient in getting tender ribs. Foiling for 2 hours hastens the process, but it CAN take it too far resulting in ribs that are in my opinion too tender. I happen to like a little less time in foil for a bit more firmness to my ribs. But that's me. I'd suggest the OP (if he's still around) check his ribs using the "bend test". A rack of ribs, when lifted in the middle with a pair of tongs, will bend in varying degrees depending on how far along they are in the tenderizing process. If they fold almost in half, you're probably there. Temp checking on ribs is difficult as there are bones, thin meat and connective tissue all occupying a very small area.
  18. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    I like the bend test myself. When ribs fall off the bone they are overcooked in my opinion. Sometimes you can't help it, but I am always disappointed with "fall off the bone" ribs.
    Last edited: May 27, 2012
  19. nickyb

    nickyb Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    I agree with solar here but that comes down to personal preference.  Most people and places talk about fall off the bone being the best for ribs and that is what a lot of people look for but I personally like it when it still has just a little pull to it.  You still get a clean bone but you can use to bone to eat with still.  But best of luck and make sure to stick around.
  20. Here's my golden rule:
    • If you are serving ribs for kids and little old ladies, they can fall off the bone.  That way the little old ladies can gum the meat to death, the kids can not waste any meat, and they can get a kick out of giving the bones to the dogs.
    • If you are serving ribs for grown people that you want to impress - they better not fall off the bone.
    Just my own little rule of thumb  [​IMG]

    "Falling off the bone" is a piece of meat that is overcooked.  We are just so used to hearing that term because people throughout the years (at no fault to them, they just didn't know any better) have done it that way.  If you want to make sure your ribs are cooked through all the way, use the 'bend test'.

    Pick up a slab with tongs.  If the meat begins to crack and split, they're done.  Make sure that you foil them when you pull them off the smoker and LET THEM SIT for at least 30 minutes.  This will test your ability to avoid temptation and you will gain patience as well [​IMG]
    slickjack likes this.