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JS-TX
09-19-2012, 03:03 PM
I compete in IBCA comps. down here in TX. While there may be some truth (depends who you ask) that Texans like their Q a little bit simple. However simple in no way translates to tasteless BBQ. If you don't have enough flavor in your Q, you will have a hard time getting a walk. I think we all know this.

My current routine for ribs is seasoning them overnight with a light dusting of hoocie mama rub (similar to smokin guns hot IMO) and plowboys yardbird. Before I put them on I might dust them again lightly with more yardbird and maybe some rib tickler. I then smoke em for 2 hours, wrap in foil for about 45 minutes or so. I don't put anything in the foil, it seemed all I was getting out of it was the sweetness from the typical mixture of honey, brown sugar and butter. I will then glaze with a combination of head country and my own glaze. Overall it tastes like KC/TX style sauce with some sweetness and tad of heat. I can probably use more heat from what I've been told. This past weekend I did some ribs and I dusted them with some celery salt, onion powder, garlic powder, sugar, honey powder and pepper after I unwrapped. While these had more flavor, they tasted a bit heavy or too strong. Overall they are good but they are missing something. I feel most of my flavor is in the glaze and rub.

So I have to ask, how do you guys drive flavor into meat of your ribs? I know rubbing them overnight is popular. What about brines or injections? Is there something I should be rubbing them with besides standard bbq rubs like just salt and pepper? I'm trying to keep it simple cause I know that works but I need flavor!!! Thanks:grin:

lcbbq
09-19-2012, 03:08 PM
I have used a sugar/apple juice mix that I let the ribs soak in over night. I also put a little rub on them like you mentioned above. The mixture gets absorbed into the meat and pulls the rub with it. I have had good results with this.

Big Green Egghead
09-19-2012, 04:32 PM
What temp are you cooking the ribs? Cooking ribs hot and fast will add a different flavor profile, may want to try that?

K-Train
09-19-2012, 04:50 PM
I used to rub overnight, but was told by Tuffy Stone to not do that. The salt in the rub can start to cure the meat and you could end up with a hammy taste.

Sledneck
09-19-2012, 05:19 PM
Slabs amazing glaze

Mexi "Q" Tioner
09-19-2012, 05:51 PM
I know not too many people do this but I inject my ribs w/a mixture of apple juice and brown sugar. Theres not alot of meat to begin with so I just poke around until I get in there. To me it resembles when you get a TB shot, needle just under the skin/meat until it bubbles out.

rooftop bbq
09-19-2012, 06:00 PM
rub 1 hr before. I put butter along with the rub im using in the foil, thats it. it just emphasizes the flavor you already have going on.

JS-TX
09-19-2012, 06:14 PM
What temp are you cooking the ribs? Cooking ribs hot and fast will add a different flavor profile, may want to try that?

I'm cooking between 250 - 275*.

JS-TX
09-19-2012, 06:17 PM
I used to rub overnight, but was told by Tuffy Stone to not do that. The salt in the rub can start to cure the meat and you could end up with a hammy taste.

I've heard that argument before, but I have yet to experience that. There are 2 top competitors in my area and they told me they do the same thing. I'm pretty sure they weren't just trying to throw me off. I'm definitely not married to the idea since I do that now and still not get getting what I'm looking for. Did you notice any improvement when you stopped rubbing your ribs overnight?

rookiedad
09-19-2012, 07:26 PM
an overnight rub might also work to draw out alot of moisture. what about Kosmo's pork soak. i just ordered the combo pack that gives you a trial quantity of chicken soak, pork soak, beef injection and pork injection. you might want to give that a try.

Tack
09-19-2012, 08:26 PM
PM sent

Q-Dat
09-19-2012, 09:37 PM
I have played around lately with what I call "Rub Tea" used as an injection. It basically consists of getting some water boiling, and making a tea or stock of sorts by adding rub to the water a little at a time until the water is about as salty as a typical injection., then I strain out the rub solids so that I don't have any issues with the needle.

I have only used it on butts so far but the results are encouraging. I see no reason that it wouldn't work with ribs.

JS-TX
09-19-2012, 10:03 PM
I have played around lately with what I call "Rub Tea" used as an injection. It basically consists of getting some water boiling, and making a tea or stock of sorts by adding rub to the water a little at a time until the water is about as salty as a typical injection., then I strain out the rub solids so that I don't have any issues with the needle.

I have only used it on butts so far but the results are encouraging. I see no reason that it wouldn't work with ribs.

That's crossed my mind as well. Thanks. Besides the saltiness, do you taste any flavors of the rub? I wonder if some basic season all salt would work? Do you use cheesecloth to filter the solids out?

gettinbasted
09-19-2012, 10:30 PM
rub 1 hr before. I put butter along with the rub im using in the foil, thats it. it just emphasizes the flavor you already have going on.

Ditto. I give ours a rub one hour before going on the smoke.

What wood are you using?

JS-TX
09-19-2012, 10:51 PM
I'm using mostly oak.

Q-Dat
09-20-2012, 12:39 AM
I have played around lately with what I call "Rub Tea" used as an injection. It basically consists of getting some water boiling, and making a tea or stock of sorts by adding rub to the water a little at a time until the water is about as salty as a typical injection., then I strain out the rub solids so that I don't have any issues with the needle.<br />
<br />
I have only used it on butts so far but the results are encouraging. I see no reason that it wouldn't work with ribs.<br />
<br />
That's crossed my mind as well. Thanks. Besides the saltiness, do you taste any flavors of the rub? I wonder if some basic season all salt would work? Do you use cheesecloth to filter the solids out?

I just get what I can in a fine mesh strainer, and if there is anything left, I just lay a paper towel in a larger mesh strainer to catch that. The reason I don't use the paper towel in the fine mesh strainer is that it seems to want to restrict flow for some reason.

WineMaster
09-20-2012, 05:59 AM
Sometimes you can overthink things also. They're just ribs. Rub em and smoke em.

K-Train
09-20-2012, 07:05 AM
I've heard that argument before, but I have yet to experience that. There are 2 top competitors in my area and they told me they do the same thing. I'm pretty sure they weren't just trying to throw me off. I'm definitely not married to the idea since I do that now and still not get getting what I'm looking for. Did you notice any improvement when you stopped rubbing your ribs overnight?
We were told that at our first pro comp, so didn't have much of a baseline. However I do think it helped.

Sledneck
09-20-2012, 07:14 AM
I cook them 245, just curious what temp others cook at

RangerJ
09-20-2012, 07:38 AM
I cook them 245, just curious what temp others cook at

275 usually. My process is roughly 4 hours. If IBCA just a bit longer.

K-Train
09-20-2012, 07:43 AM
In the 250 range. Around 4 hrs.

Lake Dogs
09-20-2012, 07:50 AM
Some marinade ribs overnight, some dont. I do, in a mixture of apple juice, worchestershire sauce, and water (on ice). It seems to help get a little fruity flavor
down deep in the meat.

Some rub and let sit a while, some dont. I take mine out of the marinade about an hour before putting on the smoker and hit the rub at that time.

Some foil, some dont. I do. If I'm doing a Memphis rib (no sauce) I'll spritz and put in a little butter and/or light dusting of the rub with some sugar in it again before wrapping up. If not, I'll just spritz and wrap, and then a VERY light/thin coating of very hot (to the touch) sauce right before closing the lid on the clam shell.

I smoke them on hickory at 275+-. Process is 4.25 hours+-, depending on how long I have the smoker open when foiling and whether I'm doing a KCBS rib or an MBN/GBA rib.

boogiesnap
09-20-2012, 07:50 AM
I cook them 245, just curious what temp others cook at

i cook @ 275* currently. but have cooked anywhere from 225 to 325 and never noticed a difference in flavor, only cook time.

i did experience early on a couple times the hammy taste from overnighting rubbed ribs. now i just rub and let sweat out to a nice paste. maybe 1/2 an hour.

Jaskew82
09-20-2012, 07:55 AM
I cook at 255 (or so) for a few hours. Wrap in foil for around an hour. Glaze, cut and box. As for rub, I rub about 30 minutes before putting on the smoker, let it sweat and throw it on. I want to make sure the rub as completely liquified to avoid any potential burning.

JS-TX
09-20-2012, 09:06 AM
My ribs are "IBCA" tender (tender but not quite falling off the bone) in about 3.5 hours if smoking at 275* in my bubba kegs. Foiling for an hour really accelerates the cook in my experience. I didn't used to foil, but for whatever reason I started noticing a thin but tough bark that made it hard to cut through w/out shredding up the ribs or coming all off when taking a bite. I might try wrapping in butcher paper and see what happens.

Couple more questions: Do you guys let your ribs rest awhile before slicing and turning in? Does anybody rub w/any type of oil before applying your rub? I've done this a few times, not sure if I noticed a difference.

JS-TX
09-20-2012, 09:11 AM
Sometimes you can overthink things also. They're just ribs. Rub em and smoke em.

I generally agree, but when you keep getting your butt kicked in ribs ... something needs to change. Maybe the judges around here don't like plowboy's yardbird? Hard to believe IMO. When I hand out samples at comps, people like them and if anything they tell me I need more flavor or complexity which I am trying to achieve in a simple type of way.

Untraceable
09-20-2012, 09:29 AM
dont be afraid to modify yardbird. I use it as a base but notice some things are missing in the final product so I supplement yardbird to hit the profiles I want

OldStyle
09-20-2012, 09:38 AM
Cooking them between 240-260 you get the best flavor. I was cooking them 225 and it work great for the larger cuts however it dosent develop any internal flavor in ribs.

JS-TX
09-20-2012, 09:39 AM
dont be afraid to modify yardbird. I use it as a base but notice some things are missing in the final product so I supplement yardbird to hit the profiles I want

So you apply a tweaked version of yardbird later on during your cook? Can you drop a hint of what you add? Onion powder? :)

tuckerdog99
09-20-2012, 09:48 AM
What about using either mustard on the ribs before putting on the rub
I have also seen a suggestion for putting Worchestershire on before the rub
Thoughts?

boogiesnap
09-20-2012, 10:03 AM
home bbq rib rub is excellent...so is williams rib tickler.

leave the worcestshire for beef ribs IMHO.

ITBFQ
09-20-2012, 10:10 AM
I used to rub overnight, but was told by Tuffy Stone to not do that. The salt in the rub can start to cure the meat and you could end up with a hammy taste.

Every time I have rubbed my ribs overnight, I have experienced the same thing. They begin to take on a ham-like texture and taste. The salt pulls much of the natural juice (and flavor, IMO) out of the ribs. Marinading overnight works, if you do it after your meat is inspected (according to KCBS rules.)

I also make sure I get my ribs from my local meat market - it's amazing what a difference this makes. Just my two cents!

Lake Dogs
09-20-2012, 11:18 AM
Mind you, I love Plowboy's Yardbird and I really like Head Country. However, have you ever done a sauce tasting on those ribs?

You said: I don't put anything in the foil, it seemed all I was getting out of it was the sweetness from the typical mixture of honey, brown sugar and butter. I will then glaze with a combination of head country and my own glaze.


I use Head Country now only in Brunswick Stew. The reason is that of the 16 base sauces the we tried on our BBQ (using a rub VERY similar to Plowboy's Yardbird), it was one of the 12 sauces that conflicted with the flavors. I dont remember exactly, but I think the smoke flavorings in it really conflicted with the smoke we/I used, which is a mixture of 80% hickory and 20% oak...

When we did the test we were all very surprised. 12 of us bet as to which sauce would win; all 12 of us lost the bet. We now have a sauce that's a combination of 3
of the base sauces that does go well with my Q.

What I'm suggesting is that your rub and other things may be perfect and you may be messing up with the sauce.

Also, some will put the sauce on and then put it back on the smoker. I dare you to try it one time without doing this, and side by side try a rib having been back on the smoker. You'd be surprised how much smoke flavor the sauce will pick up. You could end up with over-smoked tasting ribs.

JS-TX
09-20-2012, 12:06 PM
Wow interesting info Lake Dogs, thanks! My ribs are quite smoky, it's especially noticable with left overs, they are not bitter or anything but smoky indeed. The one thing I don't care for with HC is the liquid smoke taste. I found that adding lemon juice to it before I glaze helps tone it down a little.. IMO anyway. I never thought finding a rub/sauce combo would be so tricky. Looks like I got a lot work to do.

Lake Dogs
09-20-2012, 12:47 PM
Good luck. I'd hate to see you go all over the place with the ribs when it might be that final step...

I cannot stress enough how surprised all 12 of us (judging the Q; I wanted to know everyones opinion, not just mine) were at what did work, but mostly what DIDN'T work. Some great tasting sauces just clashed like words dont describe. Head Country, while a great KC style sauce, clashed too. For that matter, we had probably 9 or 10 of the 16 sauce had some smoke flavorings in them, all of them didnt make the final cut. Mind you, this was on my BBQ, your results may be different.

I was just sure Sweet Baby Ray's, or Head Country, or a few others would shine through. They didn't.

With something like Plowboy's to start with, you've got a pretty good rib right there without sauce. That's what has me thinking you're heading the wrong way...


Oh, side note: IF you do decide to have a sauce tasting party (on your BBQ), a few of the things I/we did really right was to first look at a normal judging pool and then assemble friends that way. Most of our folks were over 50, some men, some women, some smokers, some not. We all sampled this stone cold sober (as a judge does) after having coffee, orange juice, some sausage biscuits, etc. that morning. It makes a difference. I'm afraid that most newer teams figure out that they can make decent BBQ after more than a few beers, usually late in an evening after a BBQ cook took longer than expected. They're very hungry, 1/2 drunk, and nothing to compare to. While this makes a great recipe for marriage, it doesn't necessarily make for award winning BBQ.

Fat Woody
09-20-2012, 01:42 PM
...They're very hungry, 1/2 drunk, and nothing to compare to. While this makes a great recipe for marriage, it doesn't necessarily make for award winning BBQ.

That there is funny! And true...:wink:

Some random thoughts (like all free advice, take it for what it's worth):

Are we talking spares or BB's? I personally prefer BB's but we don't compete often enough to give any qualified results head-to-head; I know a lot of folks say spares are more flavorful but, our last couple rib scores with BB's were better than with spares.

I have also gotten away from rubbing overnight or using overly flavorful marinades on ribs, both in competition and at home. I couldn't taste the pork in our comp ribs anymore. Then I borrowed a page from Pitmaster Donny T's book and did a couple racks at home with just salt, pepper and smoke - some of the best ribs I've ever made - and I started re-thinking the process (thanks brother Donny!).

I think brining can be useful, but a couple of hours is all it takes or you'll end up with those salty, hammy ribs perfect for flavoring bean soup. It will carry flavor into the meat and can help in getting layered flavors and added moisture. Just mind the salt in your rub if brining.

And lastly, if you're specifically cooking for a non-Texas (KCBS) crowd, you might want to ease up on the oak and try either pecan or an apple/hickory mix.

Lake Dogs
09-20-2012, 02:14 PM
TY TY, I'm here all night! :-)

Seriously though, judging MIM and MBN on-site can be very enlightening in many ways, this above being one. If I had $100 for every first time team that I judged on-site that got involved this way (1/2 drunk, starving to death, eat a rib that isn't completely gross, and have that epiphany "Hey, LETS COMPETE") I'd be rather wealthy right now...
A few actually do ok. The rest, well, I've never seen them compete again. Sad, but true.

fnbish
09-20-2012, 05:06 PM
I used to rub overnight, but was told by Tuffy Stone to not do that. The salt in the rub can start to cure the meat and you could end up with a hammy taste.

I haven't experienced this yet. Ribs are normally one of my better categories.

Untraceable
09-20-2012, 07:44 PM
I haven't experienced this yet. Ribs are normally one of my better categories.

I can understand it with salt heavy rubs. I went from a sugar based rub that seemed to excel under long rub conditions to a yardbird based rub which is much heavier on the salt and I find that rubbing 30min-1hr before they go on to be the best. I just think whatever your using needs to be a balance of the simple senses of taste

salt-sweet-spice-savory need to balance. If your sauce is super sweet, (cough cough blues hog based), you can get away with a much saltier and spicy rub to create that balance. I find that your product becomes very subjective when that balance leans in a certain direction. Havent met a judge that cant enjoy a balanced rib, but there are more than a far share that hate spicy, or too sweet, or too salty.

Q-Dat
09-20-2012, 08:29 PM
I used to rub overnight, but was told by Tuffy Stone to not do that. The salt in the rub can start to cure the meat and you could end up with a hammy taste.

By any chance would you happen to know if the rub that you let sit overnight, and resulted in the hammy tasting ribs contained celery? Celery is high in sodium nitrate, and I have often wondered if the hammy taste that people get from rubbing way in advance is to blame for this and not the salt.

A pork loin cured with sodium nitrate will taste like ham when smoked, but a pork loin brined overnight in a solution that is high in regular salt, and then smoked will not.

K-Train
09-21-2012, 11:22 AM
By any chance would you happen to know if the rub that you let sit overnight, and resulted in the hammy tasting ribs contained celery? Celery is high in sodium nitrate, and I have often wondered if the hammy taste that people get from rubbing way in advance is to blame for this and not the salt.

A pork loin cured with sodium nitrate will taste like ham when smoked, but a pork loin brined overnight in a solution that is high in regular salt, and then smoked will not.
To me they weren't hammy tasting. Just advice I got that made sense. Not sure about the celery salt, don't think it's in there though.

landarc
09-21-2012, 11:52 AM
I rub ribs overnight with my own rub and get no hammy taste at all. Many rubs contain powdered celery or celery seed and that will create a sensation of curing (it also creates a better smoke ring). I don't quite see how using a salty marinade does not cure the ribs but a rub does. As it happens, most hams that have a hammy taste these days never see an ounce of dry cure, they are cured in a curing solution.

gettinbasted
09-25-2012, 10:09 PM
I use oak at the house most of the time because that is what I have handy. In a contest we use a mix of pecan and cherry. Cherry really gives a nice color to the ribs.

QTEX
09-25-2012, 11:36 PM
Funny thing I've seen more than once, as a Head judge, very often the "hammy" ribs win. Ham imo is like bacon everybody loves it so not sure why everyone always tries to get away from that flavor. Not saying ribs should taste just like ham but if its in there a bit its not neccessarily a bad thing. I never forget in 2001 we placed first in ribs against some very tough competitors and about 80 teams. It was the "World of Texas" Championship in Temple Texas and the first thing my neighbors on either side said to me was "they taste like ham!", the judges loved them that day. Just saying lol.

Fat Woody
09-26-2012, 11:36 AM
I don't quite see how using a salty marinade does not cure the ribs but a rub does. As it happens, most hams that have a hammy taste these days never see an ounce of dry cure, they are cured in a curing solution.

I think it really comes down the to timing when brining, marinating or using a salty rub; ribs only take a couple of hours to soak up some salt but it would take a few days to truly "cure" them. If you are applying a high salt rub overnight you may be getting a little closer to curing.