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AUBBQ
12-21-2011, 11:07 AM
Alright guys, this yr my worst category was ribs. Iím looking to change my flavor profile for next year. Iím currently using a commercial rub, which I really like, and a sauce I make. The sauce is basically a blend of two store bought sauces sweetened up a lot. I know Blueís Hog seems to be the trend now, so I thought about trying it. I havenít been, but does anyone here marinade ribs? Any tips or suggestions would be appreciated.
Iíve been cooking my ribs at 250 and I do wrap in foil the last 45 mins or so before I glaze. Iíve done a few practice runs at 275. What are your thoughts on cooking them at 275 rather than 250?

lcbbq
12-21-2011, 01:25 PM
I struggled on this as well. I am going to work on making them sweeter and perfecting the tenderness for next year. I currently cook at 225 for 4 hours, and wrap about 3 hours into it. I have not tried cranking up the heat yet but I think im going to try that as well. IMO, as long as you can perfect the tenderness, with either slow and low, or running a little hotter, it doesnt matter. As long as the bite mark looks good and its not to tough/tender, that should be fine. I recently got to taste a few grand champion ribs and they were SWEET. Im going to experiment with different sugars to see what I can come up with.

boogiesnap
12-21-2011, 02:22 PM
1) 225* for 4 hours isn't going to give you the necessary tenderness. even wrapped for an hour. i'm cooking @ 275* for 4 hours.
2) share what products you're using and i'll try and steer you toward a different flavor profile.
3) i do not marinade ribs.

huminie
12-21-2011, 02:28 PM
What areas are you struggling in? What do your scores say?

I have noticed when I nail the texture, I do well. My ribs tend to be sweet with a bit of heat. I cook at 250 as that works best in my cooker. 2 hours in the open, 1 hour in foil and then about 30-45 mins with the sauce.

Ribs are my go to category.

AUBBQ
12-21-2011, 02:44 PM
I’ve been using yard bird rub with sweet store bought sauces (big bob gibson’s red and sticky fingers sweet) that I doctor up with additional sweeteners. I think the sauce is really sweet, too sweet for my liking at home, but it may not be sweet enough for the judges. When I foil I also add the usual ingredients to add another layer of sweet. They usually cook 3.5 – 4 hours at 250 then foiled for 45 mins and glazed for an additional 10 mins.

Mister Bob
12-21-2011, 03:16 PM
I'm cooking at 275 for 4 hours 2 - 1 1/2 - 1/2
Didn't start scoring well until they were WAY sweeter than I like them.

Hot Sauce Hoss
12-21-2011, 03:22 PM
:pop2:

Lake Dogs
12-21-2011, 03:55 PM
:pop2:
:ban::ban::ban:

AUBBQ, You may be heading off in the wrong direction (flavor profile I mean). On most tables, the difference between the top performers and the bottom isn't flavor (averages being averages) so much as it tends to be tenderness. I'd start there. Know the definition of the sanctioning body you're competing, because a few define them a little different from one another.
Then make your ribs, slice them how you do, put them in a styrofoam box (with the same greenery you use in comps), let 'em sit for 30 minutes, open it up and see what you have. Many change over those 30 minutes.

Then, once you've hit tenderness perfectly, is when you should consider flavor IMHO. Also, are you putting too much sauce on the ribs? Does the sauce mask the flavor of the ribs, or does it enhance it?

AUBBQ
12-21-2011, 04:42 PM
All good points. I’m going to work on perfecting the tenderness more than anything over the next month or so. I may play with some marinades and try some blues hog on the next few practice runs. I like the rub so I’ll stick with it and see how it works with the new sauces.

Good idea with the boxes. I did that several times at the beginning of the yr with all entries. I waited about 20 mins and tasted. Meat temp was the main thing I noticed. It’s amazing how much it cools off.

Good question… To me the sauce is really sweet but bland. It may need some heat or tang to balance it out.

Thanks guys!

Farmer Rob
12-21-2011, 04:45 PM
another vote for 275 - time will vary due to the cookers efficiency
assuming it can steadily hold 275 measured at the grate i've been doing well at 3 hours- no peeking, followed by two 15 minutes basting - sauce sessions

boogiesnap
12-21-2011, 04:51 PM
lance is spot on. get your tenderness right. your 1st post states 225 for 4 hours which raised a flag for me, later you write 250. so thats a bit confusing. either way, i think you're short on time at those temps or low on temp at those times.

as far as flavor...just get some blues hog original and TR, mix em and you'll have real spark.

Sledneck
12-21-2011, 05:01 PM
The slabs amazing glaze http://www.thekansascitybbqstore.com/kc2/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=658

AUBBQ
12-21-2011, 05:11 PM
I’m going to try 275 the next couple of cooks.

Boogie – I’ve been cooking mine at 250, lcbbq, 2nd post, said he cooked his at 225. I usually keep a good log of times and temps so at 275 I’ll be sure to keep good notes. I’ll try the bh original and tr, I’ve heard nothing but good things about those two.

Thanks.

Mike - CSBBBQ
12-21-2011, 05:56 PM
Hoping Dan Hixon (3 Eyz) will post :-D Mine stink most of the time and he is the best rib cook I know!

SeaDogBBQ
12-21-2011, 07:27 PM
Hoping Dan Hixon (3 Eyz) will post :-D Mine stink most of the time and he is the best rib cook I know!

I agree....Dan give us your secrets:clap2::clap2::clap2:

Mike...can we get your brisket secrets?

For those making time and temp recommendations...what are you cooking...baby backs or spares? I think tenderness issues need to take into account which cut you are usinf.

boogiesnap
12-21-2011, 07:57 PM
Iím going to try 275 the next couple of cooks.

Boogie Ė Iíve been cooking mine at 250, lcbbq, 2nd post, said he cooked his at 225. I usually keep a good log of times and temps so at 275 Iíll be sure to keep good notes. Iíll try the bh original and tr, Iíve heard nothing but good things about those two.

Thanks.


:icon_blush: sorry.

i cook spares.

slabs AG is an excellent product as well.

AUBBQ
12-21-2011, 09:19 PM
I cook spares as well.

White Dog BBQ
12-21-2011, 11:20 PM
The slabs amazing glaze http://www.thekansascitybbqstore.com/kc2/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=658

Do you use this stuff in place of or in addition to sauce?

boogiesnap
12-21-2011, 11:42 PM
i've brushed it on over sauce and the rib was waaaay too saucy.

but then again, i don't really set my sauce on the cooker.

however, steve is a far better rib cook than myself, so he may do it differently and or better.

Crash
12-22-2011, 01:34 AM
We use the largest spares we can find and cook at 250 with a Stoker using a fairly strict 3-2-1 method. It's done well for us in the tenderness portion of judging.

For taste we go disgustingly sweet on both rub and sauce. I'm not a fan of the taste, but past judges have liked them.

Sawdustguy
12-22-2011, 08:23 AM
:ban::ban::ban:

AUBBQ, You may be heading off in the wrong direction (flavor profile I mean). On most tables, the difference between the top performers and the bottom isn't flavor (averages being averages) so much as it tends to be tenderness. I'd start there. Know the definition of the sanctioning body you're competing, because a few define them a little different from one another.
Then make your ribs, slice them how you do, put them in a styrofoam box (with the same greenery you use in comps), let 'em sit for 30 minutes, open it up and see what you have. Many change over those 30 minutes.

Then, once you've hit tenderness perfectly, is when you should consider flavor IMHO. Also, are you putting too much sauce on the ribs? Does the sauce mask the flavor of the ribs, or does it enhance it?

+ 1 x 10e6 Perfectly cooked ribs win competitions. As long as you are not doing anything whacky flavor profile seems secondary.

Flavor Gangster
12-22-2011, 09:26 AM
275 all the way! Even 300 sometimes.

AUBBQ
12-22-2011, 09:28 AM
Thanks for alll the tips guys. I think tenderness is the main issue as well. I'm sure the family will be tired of ribs by the time i get done... I plan on cooking them every weekend until I can get the tenderness down consistently.

boogiesnap
12-22-2011, 09:31 AM
Thanks for alll the tips guys. I think tenderness is the main issue as well. I'm sure the family will be tired of ribs by the time i get done... I plan on cooking them every weekend until I can get the tenderness down consistently.

thats exactly what i did. took about 2 months.

enjoy the journey!

mobow
12-22-2011, 09:36 AM
Does anyone do well without foiling. I hate foiling ribs. Have been working on ways to not. So far has not worked well for me. Middle of the pack as far as my competitions go. Have not given up. keith

2Fat
12-22-2011, 09:57 AM
+ 1 x 10e6 Perfectly cooked ribs win competitions. As long as you are not doing anything whacky flavor profile seems secondary.


biggest lesson in bbq is first cook the meat!

Flavor Gangster
12-22-2011, 10:13 AM
biggest lesson in bbq is first cook the meat!


Ya, what he said! :becky:

Buzz made some really pretty and tasty ribs at the Jack this year.

SCSmoke
12-22-2011, 10:26 AM
Does anyone do well without foiling. I hate foiling ribs. Have been working on ways to not. So far has not worked well for me. Middle of the pack as far as my competitions go. Have not given up. keith

Why do you hate foiling?

IMHO it is ALMOST impossible to get the proper level of doneness and moisture retention without wrapping. Saying that, I don't usually foil when I do ribs at home. But at a contest we aren't cooking for ourselves.

Flavor Gangster
12-22-2011, 10:41 AM
Ribs next Pork is our strongest. Well, we have been top ten most of the season in Ribs. Top 5 about 25% and a 1st. Finaled in our first MBN in ribs too! Had not foiled once.

However, that is my method along with the rest of my process. That does not mean it is the way to go. It is just part of a bigger picture.

boogiesnap
12-22-2011, 10:44 AM
Why do you hate foiling?

IMHO it is ALMOST impossible to get the proper level of doneness and moisture retention without wrapping. Saying that, I don't usually foil when I do ribs at home. But at a contest we aren't cooking for ourselves.

naw, it can be done IMHO.

however, getting the depth of flavor AND timing AND tenderness without foiling, now that's a different story.

Cue's Your Daddy
12-22-2011, 10:53 AM
Best ribs we ever scored on was ribs that were not foiled and cooked in a BGE at Hudson Valley Rib Fest couple years back. 3rd place out of 72. I actually didnt think they were that good, but hey i will take the easy judges any day.

SCSmoke
12-22-2011, 10:55 AM
naw, it can be done IMHO.

however, getting the depth of flavor AND timing AND tenderness without foiling, now that's a different story.

Thats why I put ALMOST in there. I know it can be done and that there are quys that do it. Some the best ribs I have made have been unwrapped at home. But at home there is no clock and no 20-30 minutes from when they come off until when there eaten. Usually its more like 2-3 minutes:wink:

Lake Dogs
12-22-2011, 10:56 AM
It's rare on any one table to get 2 let alone 3 ribs cooked to perfection where you're able to score one higher on taste than the other. More often than not the tenderness score is also reflected in the taste score. Unless you're just putting something out that tastes skunky or part of the barbecue terrible too's (refer below), you're usually going to get a favorable taste score if that tenderness is on target.

Too's:

too much smoke [can't taste the meat, seems like you're biting into a piece of wood]
too little smoke [might as well have cooked it in a crock pot]
too salty [had some where I thought I was tasting a salt lick]
too peppery/spicy [too much spice here will run folks off]
too much sauce [can't taste the meat at all]
too little sauce [can leave it dry and in some cases a little flavorless]
too fatty [need to render as much fat as possible without making it dry]
too dry [nobody likes cardboard]
too greasy [dripping usually doesnt win]

Barbecue and the terrible too's!!!

MoKanMeathead
12-22-2011, 11:07 AM
It's rare on any one table to get 2 let alone 3 ribs cooked to perfection where you're able to score one higher on taste than the other. More often than not the tenderness score is also reflected in the taste score. Unless you're just putting something out that tastes skunky or part of the barbecue terrible too's (refer below), you're usually going to get a favorable taste score if that tenderness is on target.

Too's:

too much smoke [can't taste the meat, seems like you're biting into a piece of wood]
too little smoke [might as well have cooked it in a crock pot]
too salty [had some where I thought I was tasting a salt lick]
too peppery/spicy [too much spice here will run folks off]
too much sauce [can't taste the meat at all]
too little sauce [can leave it dry and in some cases a little flavorless]
too fatty [need to render as much fat as possible without making it dry]
too dry [nobody likes cardboard]
too greasy [dripping usually doesnt win]

Barbecue and the terrible too's!!!


Excellent post!! Once you hit the tenderness (and avoid the too's) you are there. You do have to be careful of the sanctioning body, especilly KCBS since they try to dictate the tenderness so much. With others, such as IBCA you might want them a little more tender since the judges have to take the meat off the bone with a plastic knife and fork.

I think it took our team a long time to realize this tenderness part and we ended up "playing" with the flavor too much and our scores were all over the place. We are more consistent now - still not where we want to be but ribs don't usually knock us out.

FlavorSavor
12-22-2011, 11:23 AM
as far as flavor...just get some blues hog original and TR, mix em and you'll have real spark.

Can you elaborate on this? Do you just mix equal parts of the Orginal and Tennessee Red together? When do you add the sauce, at the end or during the cook?

boogiesnap
12-22-2011, 12:41 PM
i forget the ratio right now, but it's not 50/50. thats just a jump off point as a suggestion.

i think 2:1 BHO and TR, with 1 more addition...hint; ask Hance. :becky:

i posted on here somewhere exactly what i use for everything, but darned if i can find it.

i've also been messing with BHO and head country.

i sauce at the very very end of the cook. it sets on the meat during its resting/table travel time, not on the cooker.

FlavorSavor
12-22-2011, 01:54 PM
I've been lurking around here for a while, but I'm a newbie and not sure who Lance is. But is you run into him, tell him I'm looking for him.

What is the general rule on preparing your ribs when it comes to sauces and marinades? I see some folks like to spray/mist their ribs with apple juice, cider vinegar, oil, or a combination of all; some folks add a squirt of fake butter before wrapping; some sauce before wrapping. Would anyone like to explain the theory behind the different methods? I've always assumed the reason people sauce at the end of the cook is for the color/glaze. Or is the real reason to prevent the sauce from penetrating the meat and overpowering the taste?

boogiesnap
12-22-2011, 02:14 PM
i edited my typo...it's hance not lance, and he aint too far away. :becky:

AZScott
12-22-2011, 02:19 PM
Everyone does things different ways because with what they know and believe it's the best way. I don't think there are any general rules other than try to turn in a tasty and perfectly tender rib. All cooking techniques and flavoring additions is to try and achieve that goal. Take saucing that you mentioned, some set the sauce, some let it soak in sauce, others sauce at the end, some dip, some glaze, blah blah blah. All those different techniques are trying to achieve the perfect taste and tenderness. The method they use in competition is the one they have experimented with and feel gets them closest to their ideal competition rib.

mobow
12-22-2011, 02:25 PM
Why do you hate foiling?

IMHO it is ALMOST impossible to get the proper level of doneness and moisture retention without wrapping. Saying that, I don't usually foil when I do ribs at home. But at a contest we aren't cooking for ourselves.

I just think it is a sticky mess to deal with them and for me it is too easy to over shoot doneness. I may have to give it up and go with it but I'm gonna play with it some more this winter before I make my mind up. keith

Mike - CSBBBQ
12-22-2011, 07:22 PM
Does anyone do well without foiling. I hate foiling ribs. Have been working on ways to not. So far has not worked well for me. Middle of the pack as far as my competitions go. Have not given up. keith


I foil butt know of two VERY good rib cooks that do not foil.

Mike - CSBBBQ
12-22-2011, 07:30 PM
I agree....Dan give us your secrets:clap2::clap2::clap2:

Mike...can we get your brisket secrets?

For those making time and temp recommendations...what are you cooking...baby backs or spares? I think tenderness issues need to take into account which cut you are usinf.


We cook spares 275/300 and pull when done. As for our brisket we did have a really good year and are debating if we want to do a class so I'll hold off :icon_blush:

Sledneck
12-22-2011, 08:11 PM
Do you use this stuff in place of or in addition to sauce?

i've brushed it on over sauce and the rib was waaaay too saucy.

but then again, i don't really set my sauce on the cooker.

however, steve is a far better rib cook than myself, so he may do it differently and or better.

In addition to in the last 15 minutes. A few coats. Comes out looking like they were lacquered . You need a sweet sauce base underneath first IMHO. Amazing glaze has a bit of a kick to it.

Nick_is_BBQ
12-23-2011, 03:00 PM
We cook spares 275/300 and pull when done. As for our brisket we did have a really good year and are debating if we want to do a class so I'll hold off :icon_blush:


I think the secret is the "and pull when done" part of it. If you stick to a specific time frame you will get different result. Also for competition you need to know how they keep the containers until judging. There's a big difference between straight to the table and kept in a cooler for half an hour. You can ask the organizers after the cooks meeting.

Sledneck
12-23-2011, 03:06 PM
The secret is overcook them

Pack-A-Smokes
12-29-2011, 09:30 AM
Our rib scores were all over the place this year. Started way down then were mediocre. Was not until I got desperate that we started scoring higher. I had put rub on the ribs and was thinking about how they had not done very well. I then pulled out a rub that I had been making for years that I think is a bit spicy for competition. I put that rub on top of a commerical one I had used and dang if it didn't work.
I feel like we were nailing tenderness, but the ribs lacked flavor. When I tasted the ribs I thought they would bomb due to being a little spicy, but it worked and continued working. I just wish I had thought of it early in the year.

AUBBQ
12-29-2011, 10:17 AM
I had a decent practice cook on Friday. Two slabs with a different rub on each. I used the same sweet sauce I’ve used all year on both and cooked them at 275. Flavor wise they were very similar. Tenderness was what I’d prefer to eat, but I think they were a little over cooked. I’m cooking two more slabs this Sunday. Texture wise I couldn’t tell a difference from cooking them at 275 vs my usual temp of 250.

Dan - 3eyzbbq
12-29-2011, 10:40 AM
We cook spares 275/300 and pull when done. As for our brisket we did have a really good year and are debating if we want to do a class so I'll hold off :icon_blush:

I highly recommend doing the class. I'm in :-D

Dan - 3eyzbbq
12-29-2011, 10:43 AM
Hoping Dan Hixon (3 Eyz) will post :-D Mine stink most of the time and he is the best rib cook I know!

Sorry, sleeping on the job here. I've said it time and time again. Nobody believes me. The secret is using our rub and cooking them right.

:behindsofa:

boogiesnap
12-29-2011, 11:11 AM
Sorry, sleeping on the job here. I've said it time and time again. Nobody believes me. The secret is using our rub and cooking them right.

:behindsofa:

i believe you....

just need a bit more detail on the "cook them right" part. :becky:

Kit R
12-29-2011, 12:36 PM
Sorry, sleeping on the job here. I've said it time and time again. Nobody believes me. The secret is using our rub and cooking them right.

:behindsofa:

Cooking on a WSM with a broken door handle and lots of fanning and babysitting to keep temps up seemed to work at times for us in 2011. Unfortunately we were up against the master on multiple occasions and thus came up short..... :cry:

Big Ugly's BBQ
12-29-2011, 12:56 PM
Mike, anytime you want to do a class, I'm there!!

Slamdunkpro
12-29-2011, 01:13 PM
I highly recommend doing the class. I'm in :-D
I'll play, just tell me where and when

Big Ugly's BBQ
12-29-2011, 02:49 PM
I'll play, just tell me where and when

Empire theme music playing..........
Wouldn't that violate some MM rule or agreement you have???????:becky::becky::becky:
End of music............

Carnivorous Endeavors BBQ
12-30-2011, 02:07 PM
Hey Mike,

If you do some classes, consider doing one in Louisiana. You could do it around the Hammond and Slidell contests. We don't get many offers for classes around here so i'm sure it would sellout quickly.

Clint
P.S. I was across from you at the sam's club baton rouge last year. Got my first top 10 (7th chicken) and my first DAL(pork), did 11th brisket and poorly in ribs. Could use a class from a team like yours!!

BBQ Nuts
12-30-2011, 04:34 PM
What brand ribs are teams having success with?

Lake Dogs
12-30-2011, 07:36 PM
I had a decent practice cook on Friday. Two slabs with a different rub on each. I used the same sweet sauce I’ve used all year on both and cooked them at 275. Flavor wise they were very similar. Tenderness was what I’d prefer to eat, but I think they were a little over cooked. I’m cooking two more slabs this Sunday. Texture wise I couldn’t tell a difference from cooking them at 275 vs my usual temp of 250.

If you have to err, it's better to err on the slightly over-cooked rib vs. slightly under-cooked where it's too tough to bite through. Frankly, they tend to firm-up a little as they cool.

Good job.

Uncle T
12-31-2011, 11:22 AM
I been reading and learning here. Different from what I am used to. Or maybe a nice marinate and a rub? Why do you all use sauce on your Ribs? I would think just a nice meat enhancing rub would be better. Then a sauce that would cover the meat and smoke taste.. Or am I thinking wrong here with how much sauce you are basting with. Forgive me for being such a newb. Also are the times they give at each Smoke off the same? 4 hours to me is really a short time.