PDA

View Full Version : Ribs Help


FlavorSavor
06-12-2012, 09:35 AM
By far my worst category in KCBS, ribs. Just looking for some helpful hints to improve my scores.

I use the 3-2-1 method as a guideline at about 230*. My scores across the board are low, particularly in tenderness. I don't think they're overdone as they break away from the bone cleanly and the meat does not slide off, but perhaps a little under done...??? Cooking the ribs longer than 6 hours, to me, sounds like the wrong direction to go. Could it be the temp in which they're cooked? At 230* does the fat not render to a satisfactorily level?

Next lowest scores are taste. Averaging a 6 here! How embarrassing.... Part of the problem, I think, is that I really like my ribs, so it's hard for me to know what to change. I've tried over-the-counter rubs and I've tried making my own. I've been using only over-the-counter sauces, though. My process is:
-Dry rub. I've tied Myron Mixons recipe out of his book. I've used Big Bob Gibsons over-the-counter rub. I've used Dizzy Pig's Swamp Venom.

-Cook for about 2.5 to 3 hours at 230*

-Wrap in heavy foil with light brown sugar, squeeze butter, and honey. Allow to cook another 1.5 to 2 hours at 230*, meat side down.

-Unwrap, sauce with a 50/50 mix of Blues Hog Original and Tennessee Red, and return to pit for 30 to 40 minutes.

-20 minutes before pulling, I use Amazing Glaze.

With this process my taste scores are horrible.

The best out of the three categories is appearance. That's still not saying much. Last comp I averaged a 7 here. I'm using a stick burner pit and hickory and apple woods (more hickory than apple).

I'm not looking for someone elses recipe or technique, but I'd like to hear where I should be focusing my attention on. It's disappointing to have consistent scores on pork and brisket, then bomb in ribs.

My latest rub. Not a lot of sugar in this rub, but it does have some heat to it. Paprika, chili powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, onion powder, light brown sugar, small amount of salt.......

http://sv4w.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10002/IMG_3317.JPG

When they come out of the foil, prior to the Blues Hog sauce.

http://sv4w.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10002/IMG_3329.JPG

Amazing Glaze, and just about done.

http://sv4w.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10002/IMG_3332%7E0.JPG

Side view.

http://sv4w.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10002/IMG_3337.JPG

Any hints?

boogiesnap
06-12-2012, 11:23 AM
sounds and looks pretty good from here. maybe a bit too saucy? i really like amazing glaze, but when i used it over my BH, it became too much sauce.

how much/what kind of smoke?

FlavorSavor
06-12-2012, 11:43 AM
how much/what kind of smoke?

I use Kingsford blue bag to maintain a coal bed in my Lang 60d. I'll add a split hickory or apple log every hour or hour-and-a-half. Sometimes the smoke gets a bit heavy, typically after I add new wood or coal. But when it gets to breathing good again I get a thin hue of smoke out of the chimney.


i really like amazing glaze, but when i used it over my BH, it became too much sauce.

I too think it's a bit much. But I actually prefer a dry rib over a wet rib anyway, so I thought maybe I was being oversensitive to the amount of sauce. They sure do taste good, though. A little sweet, but I guess that's what the judges like??

Thanks for your input!

southernstyle
06-12-2012, 11:56 AM
If you don't comprimise your other meats try bumping your cook temp up to 250-275. That's leaves less time in the foil. The ribs could be there long enough to get musshy but not fall off the bone. Your foil mix sounds good. When the foil process is done try flippng them over and leaving on the foil let the honey and butter mix. Set then add your sauce. Saucing to quickly can trap grease between the sauce and the meat or at least mixes with it. Try the amazing glaze by itself. Just food for thought. Results my vary

G$
06-12-2012, 01:45 PM
I am going to give you potentially inflamatory opinions:

1) Cook at 250.
2) Apply less rub initially, but cover every inch of rib. Then, reapply with another lite coat.
3) Lose the TR and BHO mix. It never made sense to me.
4) Don't use another glaze (like Amazing Glaze) Re-use your original, or one based on your original. Or, base your original sauce to better pair with the glaze if you are stuck on it.
5) Your wrapping procedure is really sweet. Really sweet.
6) Ribs look a tad lean. Are they from a butcher shop or grocer?
7) Do not forget "what you like" in a rib, but do "let go" of it.

DawgPhan
06-12-2012, 02:01 PM
if your tenderness scores are low, your ribs arent tender enough. If you can slice and get in the box with the bone then you didnt overcook them to the point of really low scores, IMO. I would also say you need to make very small changes to the process. I would probably ditch one of the 3 different sauces you are using...but just that. give it a contest or 2 and see what you are.

taking big swings at it leads to a lot of striking out.

FlavorSavor
06-12-2012, 02:05 PM
6) Ribs look a tad lean. Are they from a butcher shop or grocer?


Costco. I get them from Costco for a few reasons, mainly being that I know they will have them and they seem to be pretty consistent. There is a butcher in the area who I've gotten ribs from before, but I have to plan ahead because he does not always have them in stock (or sold out), and they were never all that consistent. Costco has just been more convient than anything.

I bought a case of ribs about 6-months from Sysco (Curly's brand) just so I would have several racks that were consistent to practices with. I thought those ribs were lean as well. When I inquired about it, the account manager blamed it on a hot summer and how the pigs did not put the weight on they typically do. I did not really have a reason to doubt her and just kind of figured that's the way ribs are going to be for a while. Am I off-base here?

Thanks for the tips!

columbia1
06-12-2012, 02:11 PM
I have also noticed ribs all of a sudden seemed to get a lot leaner in the last month or so, it is driving me wacko!

G$
06-12-2012, 02:53 PM
Costco. I get them from Costco for a few reasons, mainly being that I know they will have them and they seem to be pretty consistent. There is a butcher in the area who I've gotten ribs from before, but I have to plan ahead because he does not always have them in stock (or sold out), and they were never all that consistent. Costco has just been more convient than anything.

I bought a case of ribs about 6-months from Sysco (Curly's brand) just so I would have several racks that were consistent to practices with. I thought those ribs were lean as well. When I inquired about it, the account manager blamed it on a hot summer and how the pigs did not put the weight on they typically do. I did not really have a reason to doubt her and just kind of figured that's the way ribs are going to be for a while. Am I off-base here?

Thanks for the tips!

Personally, I think you are not off base at all. I truly believe you should be able to get comp quality ribs from Costco, about 66.666% of the time. I will generally say I have seen leaner ribs and pork recently, but decent stuff is out there.

YMMV, the leanest pork products (ribs particularly) I have found have been from butcher shops, not mass market grocers. Again, YMMV.

SaucyWench
06-12-2012, 05:46 PM
I don't have any advice on your cooking method, but reading about all that sweet stuff you are using makes my teeth hurt! Not every judge wants candy ribs! It does sound like the different sauces are arguing with each other.
Your rub sounds decent, but when you say chili powder, do you mean a prepared mix for chili soup? If so, you might want to check the ingredients to make sure you aren't duplicating one and overdoing any ingredient.
That final picture is lovely! Good luck!

"Bone to Bark" BBQ
06-12-2012, 07:36 PM
Aside from what everyone has mentioned about your sauce conflicts, I would just say that I have found that a pit temp of 275* seems to render the fat a little better and leads to better tenderness! IMHO

Jaskew82
06-12-2012, 07:54 PM
I would def consider going to 275 cook. Get rid of the BH mix. Add something to your foil to offset the sweet. I would suggest some heat. Try a little cayenne or more rub immediately after unfoiling.

P.S Maybe try using 3 to 1 ratio fruit woods to hickory. Some people can get sensitive to heavy smoke flavor. I would try cherry wood. It might be my imagination but I feel like it gives a better "red" color to meat.

didisea
06-12-2012, 09:58 PM
It looks like you may need to trim down the rack a little as I think I see a cartlidge bone (white) in the middle of your rack on the bottom. Might try Plowboys rub, dark brown sugar, no fake margarine, 2 lines of agave, and 1 line of honey, plus hit it with a little bit of finely ground rub when you foil. Loose the BH and find a more complex tasting sauce, and you can still hit it with a little of the glaze. 275 in the temp dept.

boogiesnap
06-12-2012, 10:13 PM
ok, soooo, for the gentlemen suggesting losing the blues hog, might there be a suggestion as to a sauce with as much winning credentials to replace?

FlavorSavor
06-13-2012, 08:15 AM
P.S Maybe try using 3 to 1 ratio fruit woods to hickory. Some people can get sensitive to heavy smoke flavor. I would try cherry wood. It might be my imagination but I feel like it gives a better "red" color to meat.

When people say cherry wood, what exactly do you mean? I know that sounds like a dumb question, but I have some sort of mental block when it comes to identifying trees. I think part of that comes from folks calling the same trees different names, I.E. wild cherry, sweet cherry, black cherry, cherry..... Is a wild cherry the same as a cherry tree, or are they two different species?

I own 11 acres of wooded land that's mixed with hardwoods and softwoods. I've had people point out wild cherry to me, so I guess I've got a few. Would wild cherry be the species I would want to cook with?

....and while I'm asking questions, do you want your cherry wood dry or green?

boogiesnap
06-13-2012, 08:19 AM
i can't answer those, but cherry wood(i just use the stuff from weber)will definitely give your food a redder color.

didisea
06-13-2012, 11:44 AM
The gentlelady would suggest something more to the rich tomato side of the sauce world, and putting a glaze on top of BH, in my opinion, is probably going to be way to sweet. If you like your glaze, find something that compliments it.

G$
06-13-2012, 01:23 PM
ok, soooo, for the gentlemen suggesting losing the blues hog, might there be a suggestion as to a sauce with as much winning credentials to replace?

FTR, I never said to lose the Blues. Specifically, I advised to "Lose the TR and BHO mix." See, I knew it was an inflamatory notion!

:wink:

Jaskew82
06-13-2012, 01:36 PM
I just buy chunks of cherry wood from either weber or fruita so I don't know what species it is beyond "cherry". Also, I want to clarify that when I said to get rid of the BH mix, I only meant to do that because it was likely clashing with your other glaze. I should have been more clear and said to use one or the other.

FlavorSavor
06-13-2012, 02:23 PM
FWIW, I did a bit of research and it seems the best cherry woods for cooking with are:
Northern Pin Cherry
Fire Cherry
Wild Red Cherry
Pigeon Cherry

The bark on Black Cherry may make your food bitter.

Some folks may confuse Crab Apple wood with Cherry, and Crab Apple may have sour notes to it when used in cooking.

didisea
06-13-2012, 03:10 PM
I believe I specifically said to loose the BH, so you are off the hook G$. I believe that many of us share the opinion that BH, plus a glaze, would probably wind up being way too sweet.

FlavorSavor
06-15-2012, 05:56 PM
UPDATE

Took a little of everyone advice. On Wednesday I cleaned my pit, pressure washed the grates, steam cleaned, and smoke seasoned my pit. On Thursday I cooked some ribs.

I kept the same rub I was using before. It's a spicy rub with not a lot of sugar. Only thing I did differently is not use as much rub, but still had an even coat over the ribs.

I cooked at 275*, but temps did spike at 300* during the cook for about 15 or 20 minutes. I used a 50/50 combo of hickory/apple wood, and Kingsford blue bag charcoal.

I started by cooking the ribs for 2.5 hours, meat side up. Every hour, on the hour, I sprayed a mist of apple juice on the ribs.

After 2.5 hours I foiled the ribs. In the foil I sprayed a few squirts of apple juice until it started to pool in the foil, and added two lines of honey. I placed the ribs back in meat side down.

After 1.5 hours the ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender. I unfoiled them, added a thin layer of Big Bob Gibsons BBQ sauce, just a dusting of rub, and returned them to the cooker for about 30 or 45 minutes to firm them up.

I could tell a big difference in the tenderness of the meat. I might have even over-cooked them just a bit. The meat did not slide off the bone when I took a bite, but the meat was defiantly "done". I don't know exactly how to describe the doneness. They were not dry by any means, and they were not sticky on my teeth...they just tasted overcooked and there was not a lot of flavor.

I did learn something, though, so the cook was not a wasted effort. From here I think I just need to dial in my cooking times. The texture of the meat is certainly different from what I was cooking before, and I think it has to do with the fat rendering with the higher cook temp.

Overall, I did not like the ribs. Don't get me wrong, they were good. They were just missing something, just not sure what. Maybe it was the Big Bobs sauce I did not care for. Maybe it's the rub. The ribs just needed a kick of something. Still did not keep me and 2 friends from eating them all....

I've ordered some new sauces to try next time. I would ultimately like to make my own sauce, but for right now I'm not sure what flavor I'm actually looking for. So I'll try some other sauces until I find something I like and go from there.

Thanks everyone for your help!

NRA4Life
06-15-2012, 07:39 PM
When people say cherry wood, what exactly do you mean? ....and while I'm asking questions, do you want your cherry wood dry or green?

Cherry is generally refering to wild cherry, but really any cherry fruitwood would work. Season it (dry it), depending on your climate and how you split/stack it, 6 months to a year to season it.

G$
06-15-2012, 09:38 PM
Keep at it. IMO it take a lot of practice in a relatively short amount of time to see results. In addition, the SMALLER your changes, the quicker the improvement may be.

huminie
06-16-2012, 01:35 AM
You are getting warmer. Higher temps and less cooking time...especially the foil time. At 250-275 you should be closer to 2-1-.5, but you will need to see what works best for you.

bmanMA
06-16-2012, 07:54 AM
I agree - watch your foil time. More than 30-45 mins and you are going to risk overcooking. Maybe return them to the cooker sooner, and put off the saucing till the last 30.

Crash
06-17-2012, 05:38 AM
I strongly suggest Fruitawood for cherry wood. Best we've ever smoked with and it really is amazing stuff.

We're cooking on it right now and it smells amazing.

FlavorSavor
06-25-2012, 03:39 PM
We did a little better at the Comp this past weekend. Thanks everyone for your help. We placed 19th out of 28 teams. Thats the farthest up from the bottom yet! Still not great, but better. Looks like we're still lacking in the flavor. Our scores were as follows:
666
989
877
579
977
688
Those scores seem to be all over the place, but taste is the majority of the score and I think that's what we need to improve, first. I'd like to see those 7's turn into 8's.

I know you're not supposed to experiment in comp, but I did use a new sauce and mopped it on in the final 30 minutes. I used Purple Pork Masters and did not use any Amazing Glaze. The result was a messy, IMO, finished look. The ribs did not look glazed or have consistent color. The sauce looked heavy in blotches. With that said, it's frustrating to get 5's and 6's along with 8's and 9's in appearance.

We're getting there, though. I think.

mobow
06-25-2012, 04:07 PM
Work on fixing the appearance issues that you describe. The good news is the guys who give 8's and 9's for the ones you turned in will probably also give you 8's and 9's for your improved version. The ones that gave you 5's and 6's will hopefully raise their scores when you make the improvements. But, I agree with you it is frustrating for me as a cook and embarrassing for me as a judge with that kind of spread. keith

Pitts
06-26-2012, 07:21 AM
Those scores look VERY similar to ours ! Wonder if your box went around the same judges table as ours ;)

Ford
06-26-2012, 07:58 AM
It's always a challenge using a bunch of different products. They each have their own flavor profile and often do not compliment each other. I suggest you try an experiment. Buy some Slabs.com products and do a test run. When wrapping stick with br sugar , parkway and honey. Apply 1 coat of sauce to both sides when finishing. Don't keep saucing, let it glaze. This way you won't have a judge thinking what's that spice that's different. Taste scores usually drop when a judge starts thinking rather than just saying that's good.

Southern Touch BBQ
06-26-2012, 08:28 AM
Sounds like you are ready to experiment. So try this, it is very effective and will bring your scores up a great deal.

-cherry wood/chunks

-get a good coverage with your rub but not too heavy

-300* 1.5 hours out of foil to get your smoke then drop pit temp. or move your ribs to an area of the smoker that is 275* for 1.5 hours in foil...this will be 3 hours total (this will be spot on with what KCBS likes as far as tenderness)

-may have to spritz ribs once/twice during initial 1.5 hours

-when your 3 hours are complete, sauce ribs with your sauce BH or BH/TR (70/30) and leave foil open and lid open...just trying to set the sauce and not keep cooking at this point

Good luck and report back on whatever you try

JS-TX
06-26-2012, 04:20 PM
I think Ford has an excellent point when he says "Taste scores usually drop when a judge starts thinking rather than just saying that's good".

I cook IBCA and am also trying to improve my ribs. It's been explained to me (and it makes sense the times that I've judged) that when judges first sample your food they aren't looking to see what's good with it, they are trying to find what's wrong with it. They have their own opinion of what good BBQ tastes like so you have to give them something that is balanced and nothing that they can find any faults with.

I know wrapping in honey, brown sugar and butter are very popular and can produce a good rib, but it also seems like when I do that I end up cooking out some flavor, it's sort of hard to describe.