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McEvoy AZ
03-11-2013, 09:57 PM
Since I see a brisket post on here, I thought I would ask for suggestions to help me out to get truly moist ribs. I think ribs have been the hardest category to do well in and maybe thatís because so many people already do it well. I recently tasted a rib from a friend of mine at a competition and my thought to myself is it tastes exactly like mine do, with the exception of how moist the rib is. That must be why I have not been able to score well in the rib category as my friend took second place out of about 90 teams that day. Am I missing something basic?

What I have been doing is to cook covered for 1 hour. The next hour I open and spritz with apple juice every 15 minutes. It could go for more than 1 hour for this stage as I am looking for the rub not to come off and for it to have good color. Once it gets to that point I foil ala Johnny Trigg method and leave the ribs wrapped for about 1 hour. Once I see the meat pulling from the bones and I can tell they are tender by pushing a tooth pick between the bones I uncover sauce and put them back on the smoker sauced with my finishing sauce. I leave them on the grill and might reduce the temperature depending on how close I am to turn ins. Most of the time I am cooking the ribs between 175 deg and 185 deg at least until sauced. It usually is around 4 hours total cook time. Last comp my ribs were tuff and I thought I over cooked them. Could it be that maybe I let them cool to the point they firmed up again because the temp dropped?

speers90
03-11-2013, 10:02 PM
Maybe I misunderstood but you are running your cooker at 175-185???

I don't think you over cooked them, it sounds like they were undercooked. Over cooked ribs will result in fall off the bone tenderness.

Fornia
03-11-2013, 10:06 PM
Maybe I misunderstood but you are running your cooker at 175-185???

I thought the same thing initially....but i wonder if maybe he's referring to meat temp??

speers90
03-11-2013, 10:10 PM
I thought the same thing initially....but i wonder if maybe he's referring to meat temp??

I wondered that too but how the heck can you get an accurate temp on ribs?

Fornia
03-11-2013, 10:12 PM
I do.....with a toothpick. ;)

Ron_L
03-11-2013, 10:13 PM
Besides the question above there is a lot of missing information. What type of cooker? What cook temp? What type of ribs? How big are the racks? How do you prep them?

A couple of observations from what we do know...

Stop spritzing! Most pits take 10 minutes or more to recover from opening the lid/door, and if you're doing that every 15 minutes your pit never has a chance to recover.

Tough ribs are not over cooked unless you've taken them to the point of being jerky. Tough ribs are generally undercooked. Overcooked ribs are usually mushy.

Just to give you a comparison, when I cook baby backs I look for racks that are 2 1/2 to 3 lbs and they cook at 260-270 for 2 1/2 hours, then get foiled and cook for 1 1/2 hours. The smaller racks will be very close to done by then and the bigger racks need a little more time. I glaze them and finish without foil if needed. St. Louis trimmer spares usually need about 30 minutes longer for about the same rack size.

To check for done either use the bend test (pick up the rack at one end and it will bend at 90 degrees and the bark will start to crack when they are done) or use the toothpick test (a toothpick between the bones will go in with little to no resistance).

speers90
03-11-2013, 10:17 PM
I do.....with a toothpick. ;)

You get a temp with a toothpick?

jketron
03-11-2013, 10:22 PM
You get a temp with a toothpick?

Tell me you didn't get what he meant

McEvoy AZ
03-11-2013, 10:36 PM
Maybe I misunderstood but you are running your cooker at 175-185???

I don't think you over cooked them, it sounds like they were undercooked. Over cooked ribs will result in fall off the bone tenderness.


Sorry I ment 275 to 285. It was a typo.

McEvoy AZ
03-11-2013, 10:40 PM
Besides the question above there is a lot of missing information. What type of cooker? What cook temp? What type of ribs? How big are the racks? How do you prep them?

A couple of observations from what we do know...

Stop spritzing! Most pits take 10 minutes or more to recover from opening the lid/door, and if you're doing that every 15 minutes your pit never has a chance to recover.

Tough ribs are not over cooked unless you've taken them to the point of being jerky. Tough ribs are generally undercooked. Overcooked ribs are usually mushy.

Just to give you a comparison, when I cook baby backs I look for racks that are 2 1/2 to 3 lbs and they cook at 260-270 for 2 1/2 hours, then get foiled and cook for 1 1/2 hours. The smaller racks will be very close to done by then and the bigger racks need a little more time. I glaze them and finish without foil if needed. St. Louis trimmer spares usually need about 30 minutes longer for about the same rack size.

To check for done either use the bend test (pick up the rack at one end and it will bend at 90 degrees and the bark will start to crack when they are done) or use the toothpick test (a toothpick between the bones will go in with little to no resistance).

I am using a WSM and cooking them between 275 and 285. I usually cooking Resturant Depot ribs that do not seem to be as meaty as I like.

speers90
03-11-2013, 10:46 PM
I cook at 275 and use restaurant depot ribs, I put my rubs on and throw them on for 4 hours and leave them alone, they are dang near perfect at 4 hours. That will vary a little with cookers, but I think Ron_L is correct, spritzing is killing you.

Wampus
03-11-2013, 10:57 PM
Our ribs go for 4 hours at about those same temps and are tender.
We're in the pit several times during that 4 hours too, but certainly not every 15 minutes. Plus our recovery time is very quick.

Letting them rest will allow them to tighten back up, but I wouldn't think they'd get tough again.


A couple of weeks ago, we did a practice cook and we were fighting the pit temps (they were running about 20 degrees cooler than what we wanted for a lot of the time). The ribs ended up not being as tender as normal and we attributed it to the temp, because we stuck with our timeline.

Are you SURE that your temps at the grate level are what you think they are?

If so, I'd tend to agree with speers90 and Ron_L. That spritz is extending the time it's going to take to tender properly.

McEvoy AZ
03-12-2013, 12:42 AM
My ribs were not like jerky, but did not have tenderness to place. I can cook longer if I plan it if spritzing is worth it.

BigBellyBBQ
03-12-2013, 03:00 AM
just try to put in and leave alone..spritz any meat is a waste of time as all it does is wash the meat..cant penetrate and pit recovery as stated above...try a layer of brown or trubinado sugar after you put your main rub to protect them..try to leave the membran on, as this will help to keep moist, I have done 4 racks of ribs, 2 with membrane 2 w/o and the one with was moister. maybe pull some of the salt out of your rub, this will pull moisture out...and also pack you rib rack to make them tighter when you place on the grate..quit looking and spritzing.. .....

Fornia
03-12-2013, 07:26 AM
You get a temp with a toothpick?

Really? I guess this is why I rarely post. No, it is not possible for me to get a temperature with a toothpick. Not sure about others, but no, I cannot.

Got all the bases covered now I think.

speers90
03-12-2013, 08:11 AM
Really? I guess this is why I rarely post. No, it is not possible for me to get a temperature with a toothpick. Not sure about others, but no, I cannot.

Got all the bases covered now I think.

I should of used a smiley, my bad I knew what you were referring to.

G$
03-12-2013, 01:07 PM
ribs that do not seem to be as meaty as I like.

Try addressing that.

JS-TX
03-12-2013, 01:09 PM
Are you choosing ribs with enough marbling/fat on them? It makes a difference IMO.

Q-Dat
03-12-2013, 01:39 PM
Are you choosing ribs with enough marbling/fat on them? It makes a difference IMO.

I find that this and not letting them rest before cutting are the culprits of the dry ribs I have cooked.

Bigmista
03-12-2013, 07:18 PM
Why are you covering them for the first hour? They should be in the smoke during that time.

southernstyle
03-12-2013, 09:06 PM
Why are you covering them for the first hour? They should be in the smoke during that time.

Was wondering the same thing

Fornia
03-12-2013, 09:22 PM
I also read that, and wondered.

I'm just speaking as a newb compared to most, but our team watched videos, read posts online, and then tried a bunch of practices using the 'basic' techniques you often see mentioned over and over. We had some great results with ribs ending our season.

Given some of the above information, you likely will be able to quickly improve your results. There is SO much info out there, you can get a real good clue from some real good rib cookd.

There's no real 'tip' in me saying this, but it may be all you need.

Now that all said...eating 'practice' ribs is fun!

McEvoy AZ
03-13-2013, 12:07 AM
Covered was a typo, it should be uncovered.

AZScott
03-13-2013, 01:55 AM
Rick, if they were tough and dry they are undercooked. Try 3.5 hrs uncovered and then in foil for a half at 275 then try the bend test instead of a toothpick since I'm not sure you know the exact feel you are looking for yet. When the bend is good try one rib. If its on, stick the toothpick in there and really pay attention to the feel. Its a hard thing to master. By the way, we always use RD St Louis cut for comps.

McEvoy AZ
03-13-2013, 07:24 AM
Thanks Scott, I think you right about learning the feel. Ribs are not like the larger meats that you can use you hands to feel. Funny that you bring up the bend test as I have been researching this all week. I was also wandering if I was using to much sugar or rub.

Q-Dat
03-13-2013, 09:36 AM
Also, don't let anyone tell you that injecting ribs does nothing.

That's all I'm sayin on that :cool:

BB-Kuhn
03-13-2013, 02:43 PM
I may be wrong, but it seems as though you may be undercooking them.

ALSO, the first hour foiled seems backwards to me. Most people wrap once their color/smoke exposure has been reached and the rub and bark has set it a bit.

Everybody has their way, and my ribs are not perfect by any means. Moisture and tenderness is not my issue, and these are my guesses to your problem.

tiehacker
03-13-2013, 04:37 PM
I use a digital toothpick......

G$
03-14-2013, 11:01 AM
I use a digital toothpick......

superfast tan thermapick? If it is not a thermapick, you are not one of the cool guys.