View Full Version : Advice: Smoke Ring on Ribs or Not?

04-30-2007, 01:54 PM
Hey folks, I need a little advice here. I am in charge of the Ribs for my team in a KCBS comp. My question has to do with the smoke ring on the rib. I use the 3 hrs smoke, 2hrs foil, and 1 hr heat, and 20 min on grill to glaze. I am not getting a smoke ring on the ribs. The smoke is penetrating through all the meat. It has a red/pink tint. Any opinions on if the judges are looking for a ring or expect the smoke to be throughout the meat. I am a couple of weeks away from the comp. at BBQ on the Farm in Yardly PA. Any suggestion would be great.
Thanks Bill H :confused:

04-30-2007, 01:59 PM
Oh yea, Almost forgot to mention, Thanks in advance for any help....

04-30-2007, 01:59 PM
Bill, I personally think that 3 hours in smoke is too much, even for spares. Ive found that 2 to 2 and a half hours in smoke is plenty good. Then you can foil for the same amount of time or a little longer to get em tender.

04-30-2007, 02:07 PM
Thanks BadBoysBBQ,
I think I will have to agree, For me I could never have too much smoke, I love the flavor. But, most tell me it is a bit smokey. The ribs seem to suck the smoke up... I will do another practice run....

Still wondering if the judges are looking for a ring or not....??

04-30-2007, 02:28 PM
To the best of my knowledge, smoke ring is not a criteria for judging.

04-30-2007, 02:40 PM
To the best of my knowledge, smoke ring is not a criteria for judging.

Well, I do think they look at it, at the very least on the appearance score but it doesnt make that much of in impact overall.

04-30-2007, 02:41 PM
Judges are not supposed to be judging anything but appearance, taste and texture.
I know this is going to open up a whole can of worms, but no they are not supposed to be judging the turn in for a smoke ring. But I know alot of judges do not compete and their ideas of bbq run the gamut. So while they are not supposed to judge a smoke ring (they can be artificially created) i am sure there are some that will be looking for a smoke ring and judge down if thier is not one present.

I for one do not consider the smoke ring when I judge. Again, just appearance = do I want to dive into that box and eat away and then how strong is that desire based on how the turn in appears, taste = does it have good flavor, does it taste like what my experience of bbq tastes like, if not is it a pleasing taste is it a bad taste (some things should not be combined with meat) and texture = is it over cooked, under cooked how does it feel in the mouth and to the touch.

Just of few of things I look at when judging. Hope this helps.

04-30-2007, 02:43 PM
In the KCBS class for judges, we are advised not to consider the smoke ring or lack thereof.
It is not a criteria.

04-30-2007, 02:46 PM
In Judge class, we were told to not judge based on the smoke ring because some cooks know how to chemically enhance it.
The last time I did St. Louis cut spares I did the 3-2-1 and they turned out awesome.

04-30-2007, 04:25 PM
I have not judged to many comps but I've never heard a judge comment on a smoke ring or lack thereof at any of the tables I've been at.

04-30-2007, 05:00 PM
Bill, I am sure you will get a lot of opinions on this one. I personnally, NEVER look for a smoke ring on ribs - pink all the way though is good. We smoke our ribs for about 3 hours and have never had any issues. the amount of time in the foil may vary depending on several factors (mainly the tnederness).

04-30-2007, 08:23 PM
I cook my ribs for six hours unwrapped. I'm not concerned with the smoke ring. I'm after flavor.

04-30-2007, 08:25 PM
I just judged my first comp this past weekend and though I noticed some distinct smoke rings on some that passed my plate it was not taken into consideration and when we discussed some of the rib entries after judging the smoke ring never came up at my table. Some things I noticed and inquired about afterwards was garnish (parsley) sticking to some entries, I did not downgrade them on anything, but I did have to pick it all off to not have it cloud any taste impression.


04-30-2007, 08:53 PM
When we judge on appearance, the table captain is holding the turn-in container and let's everyone take a good look. We look at the general appearance of the turn in and rarely are the ribs close enough or placed in the container in a way that a smoke ring would be noticed. Once we take a look, we mark our scores before the rib ever makes it out of the container. So a smoke ring is not important - and as someone said earlier, it is not a criteria.

05-01-2007, 07:31 AM
Depend on they way you cook, your smoker etc, can determine how much smoke you put on on the meat. I cook my ribs all the way with smoke but I dont have a heavy smoke. I rarely see smoke out of my stack.

05-01-2007, 09:28 AM
Wow, This is why I love this site. I lurk and read and learn alot. When I have a question I get and all star response. I may not post a bunch but I am here. Thanks for the help all of my questions were answered. I am going to cut the smoke time back since there is a very strong smoke taste. You all have been great .......

05-01-2007, 09:49 AM
When I have a question I get and all star response...
From the guys who will be competing against you no less. Actually, you may want to take that advice with a grain of salt... :wink:

Flavor Dave
05-01-2007, 04:10 PM
Do not worry about a smoke ring on the ribs. Pretty on the outside, tender and taste is what it is all about....

05-01-2007, 05:45 PM
I think you should cook them as black as you can, the judges just love black creosote laden ribs.

PS I'm cooking Yardley

This is a upside down picture of last years winning rib's


05-01-2007, 10:47 PM
In the KCBS class for judges, we are advised not to consider the smoke ring or lack thereof.
It is not a criteria.

At the KCBS judges class last Saturday, we were told (repeatedly) to ignore the smoke ring or lack thereof for the reasons listed above. I made a comment about the smoke ring & got a verbal spanking (bet I won't even think about no steenkin' smoke rings again)!

05-02-2007, 09:57 AM
lost nation,
mind if i give you a call or you can call me. I have a couple of questions.

05-02-2007, 03:30 PM
lost nation,
mind if i give you a call or you can call me. I have a couple of questions.

I'll be home tonight. 802.879.1254

05-02-2007, 08:39 PM
I'm glad to see you guys are helping out my teammate, he's the one holding us back...:lol:

05-03-2007, 03:25 PM
I use the 3-2-1 method at 225 and nobody cares about a smoke ring on ribs. 3 hours is not too much smoke for ribs. Besides it depends on what type of smoker you have when determining these times. It also depends on whether you plan on sneaking peeks thereby increasing your cooking times. The 3-2-1 method that you appear to be using might need some tweaks as far as temps go. It is very successful method for many smokers, give it a shot. The only variation to this is that last hour. Sometimes you open that foil up and all is good in the world so you just start glazing. That said you might interfere with your turn-in timing should you reduce that final hour. The ribs can dry out if you are not careful, sometimes when you open that foil they are perfect and can only go down hill from there...