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View Full Version : Ribs continue to stump me


MariettaSmoker
06-16-2014, 09:51 PM
Ive got Pork butt down...mostly. Ive got my chicken the way I want it. My ribs continue to be terrible. The taste is there where I want it, bit I am constantly overcooking them. They are fall off the bone tender and judges dont like that. I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong, so Ill just post what I'm doing and maybe you guys can help...

Smoker to 250-260. I put the ribs on the top rack of my asm and leave them alone. Spritz them with pole juice at the 45 minute mark and then the 1.5 hour mark. At 2 hours, I pull them off, put on some of the magic blue bottle, honey, and brown sugar...wrap them tight and put them back on the smoker for another hour to 1.5 hrs. At this point, I pull them off, take ten out of the col, baste them, spritz them, then back on the smoker for about 30 minutes to set the glaze.

Well, last night they fell apart as I was taking them out of the foil. so they didn't even go back obi to set the glaze. Im just not sure why they are constantly overcooked. Is my temp too high? Am I wrapping them at the wrong time? Im stumped.

HELP?

Jason TQ
06-16-2014, 09:56 PM
The simple answer is to drop temp or drop cook time.

DaveAlvarado
06-16-2014, 09:59 PM
Cut your foil time WAY down. The ribs cook a lot faster when they're wrapped.

Start with 40 minutes and work your way up until you hit the tenderness you want.

Are you doing spares or baby backs?

CodyJ.
06-16-2014, 10:01 PM
Yeah. Just don't wrap as long dude. C'mon. You got this. Ribs are easy man. I'm positive you'll get it.
Try this : buy a pack of three. Do everything the same but wrap 1 for 30 min. One for 1 hour. One for 1.5 hours. Decide which one was the best and go from there.

Easy as cookin toast. Kinda.

Hawg Father of Seoul
06-16-2014, 10:01 PM
Less time in the foil. I bet your smoker is a little hotter than you think it is. Have you tested it with a maverick?

MariettaSmoker
06-16-2014, 10:06 PM
Im doing spares. So the temps are decent and just cut back on the foil time, then? Ill try that maybe tomorrow. As for testing it with the Maverick, my et-73 is out of commission. Ordered an ET-732 and it should be here Wednesday. Ill hold off on the ribs til then just to break that guy in.

Also, just an FYI...Im practicing for my first contest. Butts and chicken I'm pretty good at. Im also a perfectionist and want these ribs to WOW some judges and make them wonder why the hell I'm cooking backyard. LOL.

kenthanson
06-16-2014, 11:39 PM
Yeah. Just don't wrap as long dude. C'mon. You got this. Ribs are easy man. I'm positive you'll get it.
Try this : buy a pack of three. Do everything the same but wrap 1 for 30 min. One for 1 hour. One for 1.5 hours. Decide which one was the best and go from there.

Easy as cookin toast. Kinda.

This is by far the single best reply to a question I've ever seen in my 20+ years of internetting, good on you!

VanBo BBQ
06-17-2014, 06:53 AM
Drop the temp. You might be hotter than you think.

Ron_L
06-17-2014, 07:25 AM
I agree that you need to verify your temp. I cook spares for 2.5 - 1.5 - done at 260. You're cooking about the same time as mine and getting fall off the bone ribs, so I'm betting that you are running hotter than you think.

Either accept the temp as it is and cut down on the time or verify the temp and adjust it to get to 260 at the grate. But, that will mess with your butt timing.

lantern
06-17-2014, 07:45 AM
Yep +2 on the verifying of temps first and +3 on making a 3 rack run with varying foil times.

DawgPhan
06-17-2014, 08:28 AM
When consistently overcooking something I always try cooking it less.

The_Kapn
06-17-2014, 08:52 AM
Are you relying on "time" or "physical tenderness" to judge when to end the cook?

Time alone will not work but it will get you "kinda close" 8).
The bend test or toothpick test is the only way I found to determine doneness.

I used to cook 6 slabs for comps, all with the same timing and heat.
At the end I checked with the bend test and it was not unusual to have 30 minutes (or more) elapse from the first to last slabs done.

TIM

CBQ
06-17-2014, 09:47 AM
The time is right for the temp you are cooking at - so I agree with the others questioning what is really the temp at the grate you are cooking on.

Good call on the new Maverick, it's a LOT better than their first model in both usability and range.

Lake Dogs
06-17-2014, 10:52 AM
What they all said above is spot on. I'm thinking about 30 minutes, 45 minutes, even 1 hour less in the foil. You're almost certainly cooking hotter than you think (not unusual).

Also, something that you should know (and MANY dont learn this for a LONG TIME), is that as ribs cool (in their white clam shells) they firm up. Mind you, one completely falling apart will not come completely back, but I will tell you that the bite through rib that's ever-so-slightly firm when it's fresh, when judges pull it out 20 or 30 minutes later it'll be tough, hard to bite through and may not come from the bone at all...

PekingPorker
06-17-2014, 10:55 AM
Also, something that you should know (and MANY dont learn this for a LONG TIME), is that as ribs cool (in their white clam shells) they firm up. Mind you, one completely falling apart will not come completely back, but I will tell you that the bite through rib that's ever-so-slightly firm when it's fresh, when judges pull it out 20 or 30 minutes later it'll be tough, hard to bite through and may not come from the bone at all...

Yep. Exactly. Took me awhile to learn this!

Crash
06-18-2014, 06:39 AM
One of the best threads I've read re: competition rib cooking in a long time. Solid advice Brethren!!!

2NDXRND
06-18-2014, 06:57 AM
Yeah. Just don't wrap as long dude. C'mon. You got this. Ribs are easy man. I'm positive you'll get it.
Try this : buy a pack of three. Do everything the same but wrap 1 for 30 min. One for 1 hour. One for 1.5 hours. Decide which one was the best and go from there.

Easy as cookin toast. Kinda.

Solid advise right there. Don't forget to invite friends over for a unbiased opinion.

Bbq Bubba
06-18-2014, 07:02 AM
I blame it on the blue bottle.

Serious Hog
06-18-2014, 08:09 AM
I like the idea to try the varying times in foil. But if it turns out your grill temp is what you think it is and all you can get is 1/2 hr in foil without overcooking, maybe you have to ask if the wrapping is even worth it.

Q-Dat
06-22-2014, 12:24 PM
What they all said above is spot on. I'm thinking about 30 minutes, 45 minutes, even 1 hour less in the foil. You're almost certainly cooking hotter than you think (not unusual).

Also, something that you should know (and MANY dont learn this for a LONG TIME), is that as ribs cool (in their white clam shells) they firm up. Mind you, one completely falling apart will not come completely back, but I will tell you that the bite through rib that's ever-so-slightly firm when it's fresh, when judges pull it out 20 or 30 minutes later it'll be tough, hard to bite through and may not come from the bone at all...

This man speaks the truth! I fully believe that seeking a "perfect bite mark" is some of the worst widely spread advice out there. This is totally achievable with undercooked ribs.

VanBo BBQ
06-22-2014, 10:17 PM
My first comp i cooked my ribs as usual with the same results i always got at home, perfect tenderness. However, i didnt take into consideration the long wait from turn in to the judges mouth. My ribs had firmed up considerably and i got dinged bad on tenderness. I have now adjusted my cook times and even though the ribs seem to be almost over cooked the results are much better considering how much they firm up waiting to be judged.

Lake Dogs
06-23-2014, 08:52 AM
For the scientific minded, get you a few clam shells. If you're in KCBS, line it with your favorite garnish (usually they're cool). Simulate your actual turn-in box. Put the ribs in it, then walk around the house twice and set it down on the table. 15 minutes later, open the box up and leave it for about 8 minutes (while judges gaze upon its magnificence and the other boxes as well). Then take a rib out and set in on a plate, by itself, and leave it for another 5 minutes (while judges bite rib #1 and rib #2 and rib #3). NOW, finally, bite it. See what you have. What tasted wonderful 30 minute ago piping hot may not taste so great after it's cooled, AND it surely will be more firm...

BB-Kuhn
06-23-2014, 05:03 PM
Everybody is right, but the main thing is this:

Lower Temp or Lower time. DON'T do both at once, or you won't have learned anything. Two variables changed won't help you if you want to adjust a second time.

I'd just keep your temp the same - if you are good keeping your fire at one temp, why bother messing with that element. I think your foil time is way to long as some have said.

If you don't wrap at all, it's hard to really overcook, so the obvious area where you're going overboard is the wrapping stage. I know the old "3-2-1" method is where most of us start off, but even for spare ribs, it's more like 2.5-1-.5, give or take. Even with that, you can still be on the verge of overcooking.

Check your wrapped ribs after 45 min. Poke them with a toothpick in between the bones and check your texture that way. If it requires a bit of push, go a bit longer, but i'd wager you'll be closer than you think at 45min.

MikeyBfromTN
06-23-2014, 08:14 PM
So I think this is obvious, but I'm assuming when ya'll say shorter foil time, you also need to start your cook later, if you want to finish at the same time? We are also struggling with our ribs.

Great advice, everyone. Lake Dog, I like the "test" you laid out.

Blownmope
06-23-2014, 10:08 PM
So I think this is obvious, but I'm assuming when ya'll say shorter foil time, you also need to start your cook later, if you want to finish at the same time? We are also struggling with our ribs.

Great advice, everyone. Lake Dog, I like the "test" you laid out.

Or hot hold in the foil, or not depends if you need carry over cooking.