View Full Version : can we please talk about ribs...

10-05-2011, 11:23 AM
Hello everyone! I have posted b4 on brisket and ribs and asked questions... I think im gonna approch this differantly... ill say what i do and id like to hear what others do to place in ribs... I cant get it right... its like a wall or something... Here goes... I used to cook st. louis style then i was talked into baby backs... i take my baby backs and remove membrane and remove large fat deposits... then I put them in a bryne of apple juice salt tyme rosemary and brown sugar... the brine has been boiled and strained and cooled... then i pull them out pat dry about 2 hrs before they go on ... rub and let them sit till its time to go in pit... i smoke them for 3 hrs and foil with apple juice for 2 hrs ... sauce and put them back on pit for last hr ...they are cooked at about 235... i use my own rub and sauce... im just not happy with them and everyone else seems to only take 3 hrs and ALWAYS taste and texture and smoke ring are better than mine... I am new to competition bbq only been in 2 nbs and one kcbs here in western ny... I am cooking on my big pit and can change temp on one side a bit but always thought cooking at low temp was the way to go...

10-05-2011, 11:53 AM
use spares. skip the brine. cook hotter. use commercial rubs and sauces. foil with more than just AJ. sauce last 5-15 minutes or out of cooker.

if you look around here, you can find what i do exactly.

have fun experimenting and good luck!

10-05-2011, 12:16 PM
First a few questions:
Where are you getting hit in your scores? Taste, tenderness or both?

How is your sauce? Here in the Midwest uber sweet seems to rule.

When you wrap are you using anything other than apple juice? (ie brown sugar, honey, squeeze butter?)

My suggestion would be to skip the brine, and add a little something extra to the foil when you wrap. Also two hours in foil for BB's seem a little long. I cook BB's at 240 and 1 hr. foiled seems to work for me.

In general, here is what I do:
Pull the membrane
Trim anything that looks like something I dont want to eat but don't go crazy.
Rub an hour before I put on the smoker
Bring the pit up to 240.
I do spray my ribs but I wait until the rub has set before I start. After that I spray about every half hour.
At the three hr mark I wrap in foil.
At the 4hr mark I unwrap and pour any foil juice back over the ribs and apply sauce and or glaze.
'Bout 30 minutes later I pull off to prepare to make the boxes.

As I'm sure you know, the trick is to not have them falling apart tender. However, always error on the side of over tender. In my experience, everyone agrees on a tough rib. Too tender is debatable. A good friend of mine says they should "Feel like a wet dish rag" in the foil. After you take them out of the foil, if you find yourself thinking "Oh no, I may have gone too far on tenderness" odds are you are right on, they will come back together a little as they cool. Of course, if you know for a fact "I have gone too far" then there isn't much you can do except hope you can get six ribs that stay together enough to put in a box.
But dont worry, I have seen overcooked falling apart ribs take first place. See note above about over tender being debatable.

Hope this gives you something to consider.
This is just what I do and it seems to work for me in a Backwoods.

10-05-2011, 02:15 PM
Hmmm I use strait apple juice... and see here lies another question ... you cook at 240... I cook at 235... my ribs are on for damn near 6 Hrs yours looks like about 4 and a half... if I pulled them at that time think mine may be on the under done side.... hmmm could me brining them affect cook time? Also I am getting dinged in tenderness ... also flavor most SEEM TO LIKE but its a split... half like it half don't... the half that like it im getting 9,s the half that don't im getting 7's... its at every contest... I eat a rib of my buddys on another team... his ribs are always better... he cooks at a much higher temp
like 300 and cooks bb as well only foils an hr... here in north east sweet and sweet a little heat works too... thanks to everyone so far... I want a call for them next year so bad! Lol don't we all?! I may try spares again too...

10-05-2011, 02:39 PM
I use St. Louis cut spares, peel the membrane, trim excess surface fat. Then rub turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw) on all surfaces, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 2 hours before cooking I remove the ribs from the fridge and let them come up to ambient temp. 30 minutes before cooking I liberally rub the ribs with my own rib rub. Cooker is at 275 F and ribs go in for 4 hours. The door doesn't open again until 4 hours is up. At that time I check tenderness and glaze if tender enough, 30 more minutes and they're done.

10-05-2011, 02:41 PM
Why do you feel the need to brine your ribs? I would also start using commercial rubs and sauces to start out so you have a baseline, cook your ribs at 275*, layer some flavorsand add a little heat to balance all the sweet.....

10-05-2011, 05:24 PM
Here's the thing I never felt the need to brine... it came about last year some friends that q and place told me to try it out so I did... I don't like too many changes all at once... I usually listen to ALL input and make one or two changes so I can really get a handle on what's changed going on ect... I guess the brine thing stuck... I have no idea why either... so rub with sugar ... and get some commercial rubs... I have my own rub... it took alot of effort to get it to were it is... its AMAZING ON CHICKEN! AND AWESOME ON THE BUTTS... may be its just not right for ribs... or maybe try the sugar thing with it and 86 the brine... and use a sweet sauce...

Contracted Cookers
10-05-2011, 05:26 PM
2 hours in foil with aj seems like it would wash alot of flavor out

10-05-2011, 06:05 PM
The sugar rub gives a bit of a sweet note to the meat as the spices in the rub bring out the pork flavor and a bit of heat to offset the sweet. When you bite into the rib, you smell and taste the smoky flavor of the bark created by the rub; it creates a contrast of savory and sweetness.

Here's some non-competition (no glaze/sauce) ribs I did with this method a short while ago.


The juice from the meat explodes into your mouth and you taste juicy, modestly sweet smoky pork. Just when you'd start to think that it'll be too sweet, the Ancho and Chipotle heat starts to build. The combination of the smoky chili heat and the sugar's touch of sweetness intensify the pork flavor immensely.

10-05-2011, 06:27 PM
did someone say skip the brine?

good idea. :)

10-05-2011, 06:34 PM
I think I do this a little diffrently than most. I pull the membrane and trim. I make a wet rub of salt, sugar, spices, honey, mollasses, and thin it down with AJ. I put them in the marinade right after meat inspection and take them out 1 hour before they go on the cooker. i apply my dry rub right away and then reapply right befor they go on. I cook at 230 for 4 1/2 hours in a rib rack. I don't foil. I start spritzing 2 hours into the cook and then every 30 minutes. I remove them with 30 minutes to go and lay them flat to sauce. This seems to be very different than most but my results speak for them self. I've only cooked 4 events and I have gotten a first, fifth, six, and a 15th in westmont. I think I would of done better in westmont if the ribs didn't have to wait a extra 2 hours for turn in.

10-05-2011, 06:36 PM
I forgot to say I use babybacks

10-05-2011, 06:52 PM
No brine and don't rub as early, all that salt and time will cure your rib and give you a hammy taste. I thought my homemade rub was really good when I started 4 years ago too ... get some Head Country for now and then go back to your rub when you realize comps are all about sugar and salt in the right ratios.