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Atlasman
06-11-2013, 04:41 PM
Arrrrrrrrrrrggggghhhhhh!!!!


Still new to the game and I'm sure everyone goes through these struggles but I'm almost ready to whip my ribs under the tires of my RV for traction.

Most frustrating of all is I will hammer out an excellent rack of ribs,.....spot on perfect, then unfoil the ones right next to it and they are trash. Unfortunately sometimes they are all trash.

I can't seem to find the zone........I have tried 225-275, I always use a water pan, I cook on either an Onyx Oven or a 22" weber bullet. I use apple and peach wood commonly and lump charcoal. Membrane removed. I apply rub an hour or so before cooking and have foiled every way known to man, dry, 1/4 cup liquid, and all the usual goodies.

Most common results are dry and/or tough...........but this is even after hours in the foil and the bones almost blowing out.

The worst part is I have no confidence in my cooks..........instead I find myself "hoping" they are good instead of knowing they are good like it should be.


Any and all brutally honest critique is welcome :smile:

Hawg Father of Seoul
06-11-2013, 05:10 PM
Don't be afraid to open the foil and see what is going on. Stop cooking by time and cook using your senses.

Ron_L
06-11-2013, 05:15 PM
Pick a cooker if you can and use that for the ribs until you have mastered it. Also, try to get racks that are close to the same size and weight. That helps with consistency.

4uweque
06-11-2013, 05:17 PM
Stay calm, you can fix almost anything. Build a little more time into your cook and check them a little sooner. And remember when you get them out of the foil they will firm up, you just have to have time to let it happen.

WineMaster
06-11-2013, 05:31 PM
Do ya have a Therma-Pen

smokeisgood
06-11-2013, 05:34 PM
Do ya have a Therma-Pen

He probably does, but it's the wrong color....

Atlasman
06-11-2013, 05:53 PM
Yes I do..........only color there is.


Camo

boogiesnap
06-11-2013, 05:56 PM
What exactly is your process, and rib source?

Lake Dogs
06-11-2013, 07:06 PM
To me it's starting to sound like meat source issue. Where and what kind/type of ribs do you purchased. For me, I found that I couldn't purchase any ribs in a normal store. I have to find completely un-enhanced ribs, otherwise mine tended to come out tough.

I now never have tough ribs, never ever. You're welcome to try some of this:

1. Remove membrane the night before the cook.

2. Soak over-night in a mixture of water, apple juice, and some worchestershire, and of course on ice...

3. Morning; remove from soak, pat dry, and apply the rub about an hour before placing them on the smoker.

4. On smoker at 275+-. I use hickory smoke. At 1.5 hours I remove them and put them in foil, with a fairly heavy spritz of apple juice and worchestershire before sealing up the foil. I cook them in foil for another 2.5 to 2.75 hours, give or take. They're done at that time.

Oh, forgot, I cook baby backs. At 4.25 hours, they're right at falling off the bone, but with any luck not quite there...

Q-Dat
06-11-2013, 07:06 PM
I'm gonna say that much of the inconsistency can be fixed while selecting the ribs at the store. 3 slab packages with the mystery slab in the middle are an enemy of consistency. Also look for ribs with small streaks of fat that travel through the meat. Big sections of red meat with little to no fat running through them is a sign that you might want to avoid that slab.

I have found the weight of a slab to be unreliable when trying to get them the same size. I look more at the physical size and shape, as well as the thickness. Sometimes two slabs will weigh about the same amount, but if you inspect closer you may find that one has larger bones and is cut differently.

Hope some of this ends up being helpful.

rookiedad
06-11-2013, 08:08 PM
i think lower the temp to 250* and just use the three two one method and see how it works.

Atlasman
06-11-2013, 08:21 PM
What exactly is your process, and rib source?

Ribs come from restaurant depot lately, but have gotten them from Sams, BJ's and other local markets and butcher shops.

Process is rub and rest for hour or two.......on at 250 (lately) for anywhere from 2 1/2 to 3 hours depending how the color and bark is setting up using apple and peach wood. Spritz with juice every 20 minutes after first hour. Foil with all the usual suspects with liquid 1/4 cup or dry or blue bottle sqeeze etc for 1 1/2 to 2 hours and then either sauce and tent in the Cambro or sauce and back on the smoker.

I have made adjustments to every one of those steps with good to great results that are seemingly random and not repeatable (by me) in any reliable way at this time.

My temps are locked in by BBQ Guru DiGiQ2 on Onyx and PartyQ on the weber backed up by calibrated Mavericks. Thermapen in my pocket at all times.

boogiesnap
06-11-2013, 08:24 PM
spritz with juice every 20 minutes after first hour is killing you. them ribs ain't cooking.

knock that nonsense off and cook some ribs, if you aren't happy, i'll give you a fool proof(don't drink with smokin hoggz the night before though)recipe.

Atlasman
06-11-2013, 08:24 PM
To me it's starting to sound like meat source issue. Where and what kind/type of ribs do you purchased. For me, I found that I couldn't purchase any ribs in a normal store. I have to find completely un-enhanced ribs, otherwise mine tended to come out tough.

I now never have tough ribs, never ever. You're welcome to try some of this:

1. Remove membrane the night before the cook.

2. Soak over-night in a mixture of water, apple juice, and some worchestershire, and of course on ice...

3. Morning; remove from soak, pat dry, and apply the rub about an hour before placing them on the smoker.

4. On smoker at 275+-. I use hickory smoke. At 1.5 hours I remove them and put them in foil, with a fairly heavy spritz of apple juice and worchestershire before sealing up the foil. I cook them in foil for another 2.5 to 2.75 hours, give or take. They're done at that time.

Oh, forgot, I cook baby backs. At 4.25 hours, they're right at falling off the bone, but with any luck not quite there...

Where do you suggest I get my ribs from??

Dustaway
06-11-2013, 08:24 PM
A tooth pick is your best friend & lots of cooking time under your belt

I found that when the tooth pick goes in easy ans lifts out with little effort time to pulling.

fnbish
06-11-2013, 08:28 PM
spritz with juice every 20 minutes after first hour is killing you. them ribs ain't cooking.

knock that nonsense off and cook some ribs, if you aren't happy, i'll give you a fool proof(don't drink with smokin hoggz the night before though)recipe.

Very much this.

boogiesnap
06-11-2013, 08:43 PM
i should add...foolproof, as in baseline. problem is, there are so many good cooks out there, baseline up or down can mean bottom half or top ten.

Atlasman
06-11-2013, 10:15 PM
spritz with juice every 20 minutes after first hour is killing you. them ribs ain't cooking.

knock that nonsense off and cook some ribs, if you aren't happy, i'll give you a fool proof(don't drink with smokin hoggz the night before though)recipe.

Ill take any input I can get.........I like fool proof :smile:

I have to work for the next 3 days but then I'm off for 4 straight and plan on cooking ribs the whole time to get my confidence up.

RLTXBBQ
06-12-2013, 07:15 AM
It does take times and practice to get it consistent and even after cooking competitively for years I still screw up sometimes, especially under pressure. Try cooking on just one pit as another mentioned till you get it consistent enough for your liking.

Atlasman
06-12-2013, 07:27 AM
I'm definitely not afraid to put my time in........I cook ribs A LOT because I am struggling with them. I thought I had them nailed and went into my last contest pretty psyched about my chances.

Stunk. Middle of the pack.......bunch of 7's and even a 6 or two :sad:

Cooked 2 days before contest and had 2 out of 3 racks turn out awesome. Same routine at the show.............tough and dry.

Like I started the thread..........when I peel that foil, spread that sauce and slice the ribs I take a bite with my fingers crossed hoping they are good. That's not right.........my other food I expect to be good if I did my thing.

dosvans
06-12-2013, 07:28 AM
spritz with juice every 20 minutes after first hour is killing you. them ribs ain't cooking.

Agree. No need to spritz every 20 minutes. I cooked spares unwrapped for two hours at 270 and I may spritz once after the first hour. Then I wrap with the usual stuff for about 1.5 hours, unwrap, sauce and put back on for another 45 minutes. I cook mine on a 22" WSM with just a foiled pan with no water and they usually come out at the right tenderness.

Swamp Donkeyz BBQ
06-12-2013, 07:42 AM
Are you using a water pan in the Onyx or the board? I've used the Onyx before and got very good results using water and apple juice in the water pan. I think that would eliminate the need for the spritzing.

Podge
06-12-2013, 07:54 AM
Might be a good idea to pick out an ideal rack of ribs, then take a picture of them raw, before you do anything with them. post the pic, with the brand and weight of the ribs. You many not be picking out good racks and could use some tips.

Eggspert
06-12-2013, 08:09 AM
Try less rub and leaving it on for less time. If your rub has lot's of salt in it and you leave it on too long (2 hours), that will suck the moisture right out of your ribs.

Stop spritzing with juice, you are extending your cooking time. This is drying your ribs out on the surface and not cooking the meat/tenderizing and not rendering the fat. It sounds like you have moist environment cookers if you are using a water pan. Usually people who spritz are using stick burners where a lot of air is passing by the food. Your smokers are not passing air, you don't need to spritz.

What about a little more liquid in your foil pack? What about wrapping earlier? After 45 minutes in foil, start looking, feeling and checking with toothpick.

I think returning sauced ribs to the smoker for longer then 10 minutes causes a tough layer on your ribs. Just my opinion.

I think with ribs as long as you have a good recipe, just stay consistent and practice your timing until you get it right. BBQ is about watching and reacting to what you see, not a specific timeline. Every rack of ribs cooks slightly different. That's why it's challenging. You will get it! Good luck!

Eggspert

Cayman1
06-12-2013, 08:21 AM
We have had similar problems, just not as bad, 10th last weekend, but I have come to the conclusion that our problem and it sounds like it might be yours is the quality of the ribs to start with. As my mom always said, "you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear", no pun intended. If you start with poor quality ribs they will stay poor quality, and I think the quality has been declining lately for some reason.

We spritz or apply butter at 30 minute intervals. Dry may be the rub pulling the moisture out. Switch rubs for one cook and see if the dryness problem is cured.

Tough, just not cooked enough. Go ahead and overcook a slab (fall off bone) then back down cook time just a little. Fine line between fall off bone and undercooked.

bruno994
06-12-2013, 09:08 AM
Tough, just not cooked enough. Go ahead and overcook a slab (fall off bone) then back down cook time just a little. Fine line between fall off bone and undercooked.
Spot on advice.
I think returning sauced ribs to the smoker for longer then 10 minutes causes a tough layer on your ribs. Just my opinion.
Learned this after lots of trial and error.
Try cooking on just one pit as another mentioned till you get it consistent enough for your liking.
Again, spot on. Learn how to cook them on one pit, master it and stick with it.

WineMaster
06-12-2013, 09:44 AM
I pull ribs at 196. Just like butts, at a certain temp, the pork will get tender.

Eggspert
06-12-2013, 01:34 PM
I pull ribs at 196. Just like butts, at a certain temp, the pork will get tender.


Do you think your temp reading is accurate with such little meat and all the bone on both sides? I don't trust temp reading with ribs, I go by feel and toothpick personally. Whatever works for you!

Eggspert

WineMaster
06-12-2013, 02:10 PM
Do you think your temp reading is accurate with such little meat and all the bone on both sides? I don't trust temp reading with ribs, I go by feel and toothpick personally. Whatever works for you!

Eggspert

We'll see this weekend ! :thumb:

Atlasman
06-12-2013, 08:04 PM
Are you using a water pan in the Onyx or the board? I've used the Onyx before and got very good results using water and apple juice in the water pan. I think that would eliminate the need for the spritzing.

Water pan always. I think cutting down on the spritz will help because a lot of times when I go to spritz they are not even close to dry. I might be over doing it.

Hawg Father of Seoul
06-12-2013, 08:59 PM
I pull ribs at 196. Just like butts, at a certain temp, the pork will get tender.

Not that I do great at ribs, but I always look at the temp when probing them. My temp is always higher than this. I think one would need to establish their own baseline.

gettinbasted
06-13-2013, 07:21 AM
Water pan always. I think cutting down on the spritz will help because a lot of times when I go to spritz they are not even close to dry. I might be over doing it.

Keep in mind that moisture on the meat does not equal moisture in the meat.

You want a moist cooking environment, but often times opening the cooker door just to spritz has the exact opposite effect intended. More steam and moisture escapes the cooking chamber upon opening than is put back in with the spritz.

Jaskew82
06-13-2013, 10:50 AM
knock that nonsense off and cook some ribs, if you aren't happy, i'll give you a fool proof(don't drink with smokin hoggz the night before though)recipe.


I have seen the results of this first hand...