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why do my ribs dry out?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by iluvribs, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. iluvribs

    iluvribs Smoke Blower

    I have done the 3-2-1 method and changed that several times just experimenting, i have foiled the ribs short times and long times, i have smoked them with no foil, i always have excellent flavor with different wood,apple hickory ect. The ribs are always tender, i can make them fall off the bone or with a slight tug........but for some reason i cant get them to be real juicy, they always seem to dry for me, every one else that eats them says they are fine....maybe im my worst critic, any idea what im doing wrong here...using a WSM  22.5   Thanks.
  2. placebo

    placebo Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Do you spritz them? If so with what? What are you using for a rub? Have you ever tried the squeeze butter thing or the coating with brown sugar thing?
  3. iluvribs

    iluvribs Smoke Blower

    i used apple juice in the foil i have spritzed the, i used jeffs rub and others, i have used brown sugar, never heard of the squeezed butter on them, coat them with mustard, for me they just always seem to be on the dry side, i had some of smokey joes ribs here in columbus ohio and thats the way i want my ribs but he wouldnt give up his secret, thats cool i respect that, he does alot of compititions,,,and wins, thanks.
  4. bacardi

    bacardi Fire Starter

    Try one rack, even a half rack using oven bags instead of foiling.  Unlike foil they are sealed and create sort of a pressure cooking effect.  Juiciest ribs I've ever had were the 3-2-1 using oven bags
  5. iluvribs

    iluvribs Smoke Blower

    i have recently heard of using oven bags and forgot about it just as quick, thanks for the reminder, im gonna try that.
  6. mythmaster

    mythmaster Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    You could try marinating, brining, or curing them, too.
  7. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Alot of the so called q joints either par boil or steam or pressure cook their ribs b4 they smoke them.

     They are real juicy that way but it aint bbq.

    There are some pressurized smokers out there that commercial operations use.
  8. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    I'm going to do that (curing) soon, like Pops posted (Bacon on a stick), but that wouldn't taste like ribs. That would taste like Bacon---even better. That wouldn't solve iluvribs problem. Seems like he did all the right things.


    Are you using a water pan under the ribs?

  9. mythmaster

    mythmaster Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I didn't say it would solve his problem, I said he could try it. [​IMG]
  10. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    LOL---I didn't say you said it would solve his problem. I just figured he never heard of curing ribs, so in the nicest way I could think of, I told what that would do to the ribs.

    I didn't mean to offend you. I'm still gonna cure some ribs soon, whether you like it or not, because I'd also like to thank you for reminding me. [​IMG]  [​IMG]

    Your old friend,

  11. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Are you using a lot of salt in your rub?

    What is your temp and is it accurate?

    I have notice a significant difference cooking at 210 - 225 compared to 240 - 250

    Here is what has worked great for me, soory so long its a copy/paste from my blog.


    Ribs ready for slicing

    Ribs are prepped by trimming up St. Louis style, removing membrane then coated heavily with rub the night before, no mustard, I have cut back on the black pepper in my Rib Rub because of how much rub I use on the ribs, it was a bit spicy for some of the family.

    So far the best luck with the ribs have been a modified 3 - 2 - 1
    • -3- Smoking at 225 degrees for a maximum of 3 hours uncovered in a rib rack.
    • -2- Place in a steamer pan, bone side down and foil for 1 hour 40 minutes.
    • -1- Then remove foil and smoke another 40-45 minutes.
    I was getting a bit annoyed at how much juice was lost after removing the foil, so I decided to leave the ribs in the pan for the final part of the cook and as you can see from the above photo, there's no loss of juices.
    I just mix the juices and barbecue sauce as its brushed on the ribs.
    Next Rib cook I will try glazing after step 2

    This gives me ribs that are easy to slice clean without tearing the meat and mangling the rib.
    The result is pull of the bone clean just where you bite into it without the whole piece of meat coming off in 1 shot and slapping you upside your chin.
    My previous Rib cooks, the ribs were good but slightly dry on the outside, resulting in hard to slice clean and the meat all coming off in one shot.

    The ribs are cut down, brushed thoroughly with BBQ Sauce and served in a steamer pan.
    The ribs will go a good part of the day without drying out.


    Another shot at some ribs...

    .... just off the smoker

    [​IMG].... glazed with "Sweet Baby Rays"

    [​IMG]... sliced

    [​IMG]... sliced
    [​IMG]...nice smoke penetration



    Last edited: Aug 30, 2010
    Bearcarver likes this.
  12. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Hey SQWIB,

    Hope you don't mind---your post is now in my collection

    And a thumbs up in your rating box too!

  13. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Whay Sqwib said... go with lower temperatures. I have the 22.5" WSM and used to do my ribs with the lid therm running at 250°, now I do them with the lid therm at 200-220°. Even unfoiled they still come out great!
  14. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Another thing you could try, is using back ribs rather than side ribs. I find in my area side ribs are sometimes trimmed to with an inch of their lives, to the point where theres hardly any meat left.
  15. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Now I have tried the whole spritzing thing too and then foil them only for a hour and maybe a little more if I don't like the way they look. But they are always juicy and have a little tug to them too. Now when you foil the ribs are you making sure that your not punching a hole in the foil. I have done that and it's not pretty. I would also ask about the water pan. Do you have one and if so make sure theres water in it to. I know dumb question but I'm gresping at straws here.
  16. rp ribking

    rp ribking Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Low and Slow!!
  17. bacardi

    bacardi Fire Starter

    Outstanding SQ.  You're the only other person I've noticed that uses a bag vs foil. 

    An issue with "foiling" is it isn't an one size fits all term.  Heavy duty vs normal, single layer vs double vs triple, amount of overlap, overall leak percentage.  Bags on the other hand are fairly consistent...
  18. iluvribs

    iluvribs Smoke Blower

    Yes I do use a water pan, but i think one of the mistakes i make is i use boiling water in it, so maybe it doesnt absorb much of the heat. I do believe (after reading your comments) that i have been running a bit on the warm side, 230 to 245 at times. I have not tried marinating or brining, i would like to leave the ribs as they are. I bought a case of backs at sams, 18 racks for $127.00. So will be back at it next weekend. I have been away from this site for a little while due to my job, so its good to get back here and get a good reminder of what i need to do. Before i found you guys i boiled my ribs and then put them on a grill and THOUGHT it was barbque. Thanks for all the comments and reminders. To busy this weekend to smoke. Will be bake next weekend with Qveiw of some juicy ribs...thanks again!
  19. nrok2118

    nrok2118 Fire Starter

    yeah while 250 is fine for a butt, ribs are a lot better even lower, i shoot for 215 as my target temp and always came out great. Personally i think your expecting too much but try lower temps and make sure to foil.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2010
  20. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I am flattered[​IMG]