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watertowerbbq
03-07-2010, 10:35 PM
I need to vent a little. I'm getting frustrated with my ribs. Last summer, I competed with a team up in Mason City in late July. It was my first time with this team and wanted to show what I could do, so on Friday night, I cooked 2 racks of spare for dinner and an "audition". They were the best darn ribs I've ever cooked. Hands down, the best ever for me. The guys I was with told me they were great.................and now that's my problem. I can't seem to get back to that moment.

I keep records of each cook making sure to write down, what temp, how long, woods, rubs, bastes, etc. I'm cooking on a WSM is a DigiQII. Cook temperature is 250 on the top rack. I've tried them with and without foil and I think the ones without the foil are slightly better.

I know that consistency comes with repetition (practice) and I've been doing my share this winter, but it seems that I'm missing something. I'm replicating the same thing between practice sessions, but I'm not able to repeat what I did that one time using the same recipe.

Today, I cooked 3 racks of St. Louis ribs on my WSM at 250 with the DigiQII. They looked really nice, but after 6 hours, they weren't quite tender enough. I did not foil any of these racks. My wife said they were good, but not perfect and I know she was right. I was afraid that if I let them go much longer, I was going to risk them drying out. In the "memorable" cook, I only cooked them for 5:15 minutes, not 6:00 hours.

Since insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome, I've decided that I'm going to increase my temp from 250 to 275 and try and cut down some of the time on the smoker. Am I crazy for doing this?

Thanks for letting me vent. Any and all advice is welcome. Thanks

Hank Daddy's Barbecue
03-07-2010, 10:44 PM
What cooker did you use in your "audition"?

HandsomeSwede
03-07-2010, 10:48 PM
Increasing your temp will effect cooking time but I will share with you the best piece of advice I got on the circuit last season: there is no secret formula that will give perfect ribs via the same steps each time. At competition it is all about the adjustments you make. Some cooks you won't need to foil. Some cooks you get 4 hours in and they aren't tender enough so you do foil. Keep in mind not every pig is built the same thus every rack of ribs is different.

Just Pulin' Pork
03-07-2010, 10:51 PM
Ditto what Hank said. I coooked 2 racks of baby backs today on my WSM and was very disappointed in the outcome. Tenderness wise they were perfect but just blah in flavor. This is what makes BBQ'ing so much fun, chasing that perfect cook. :)

Bones
03-07-2010, 11:02 PM
I am having the same issue. I believe that it is the meat that we are getting this time of year. JMO
I have cooked the past 2 weekends on both st louies and loin backs and getting varied results.

Crash
03-08-2010, 12:17 AM
They just dont all turn out the same. We follow the same exact steps each and every time out, cooking 4-6 slabs per competition. If we can get 1 (maybe 2) racks that we think are perfect, it's a good day.

At our last competition, the first two racks we attempted to slice and box, just didnt have what we were OK with turning in. Luckily the third rack did.

I agree with Swede. You cant cook exactly the same way every time and expect the same results 100% of the time.

BBQ_Mayor
03-08-2010, 08:26 AM
Matt, I think your going the wrong way. Try a temp around 230° or 235° and cook them longer. 5 to 6 hours, more if they need it.

This Is How We Que It
03-08-2010, 09:15 AM
Everyone knows you have to boil them first.

Balls Casten
03-08-2010, 09:42 AM
"They're done ... when they're done."
We're with Ray though, we may see 6hrs on ribs when they need it.

DawgPhan
03-08-2010, 10:57 AM
What is it that you aren't liking about your current ribs? Just the tenderness?

SmokinOkie
03-08-2010, 11:00 AM
Since insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome, I've decided that I'm going to increase my temp from 250º to 275º and try and cut down some of the time on the smoker. Am I crazy for doing this?

Thanks for letting me vent. Any and all advice is welcome. Thanks

No, you're not insane, you're just still learning. I could not really tell after reading you post what was "different". That's something you need to learn how to taste and adjust as needed.

Keep in mind there is a BIG difference between each cook. It's a different pig. Seriously. Sounds like you're trying to cook these like a recipe, set time, set temp, set result.

What you need to learn is how to adjust in the last hour to 30 min. Knowing when to pull this isn't a time thing, it's a result thing.

One thing I would add to your notes is how much each rack weighed. Doing a 2.5 lb st. louis and a 3.5 lb st. louis can be an hour or two difference in finishing, depending on temp.

Buster Dog BBQ
03-08-2010, 11:23 AM
Matt, what was the size difference?

Jacked UP BBQ
03-08-2010, 11:37 AM
Foil is a must to get the perfect comp rib IMO, 2.5hours of smoke 1.5 hours foiled, 1 hour to set the glaze. We get good ribs almost everytime. We start our ribs at 7am

BRBBQ
03-08-2010, 01:33 PM
Maybe it has to do with you cooked two racks one time and three the next. Takes longer with three:?:

Lake Dogs
03-08-2010, 01:48 PM
Foil is a must to get the perfect comp rib IMO, 2.5hours of smoke 1.5 hours foiled, 1 hour to set the glaze. We get good ribs almost everytime. We start our ribs at 7am

I agree with jacked up. We pretty much do the same, however we
have it spend a little less than 2.5 hours on smoke... I guess we just
prefer it a little less smokey, personal preferences & all.

Ford
03-08-2010, 02:37 PM
Looks like everybody has their method and follows it. I use a basic 3-2-1 for comp ribs. I adjust temps in the final hour. I attended the Lotta Bull class so that's how I wrap. A lot like Johnny as well (also took his class). I cook on the FE at around 250.

If you are cooking other meats or were cooking other meats at your original cook that might have something to do with it.

I suggest foil for comp ribs but it's your call. Keep trying. Each time change one variable and as you get close to done you can tweak the process. In the end it will be your rib process.

Podge
03-08-2010, 03:25 PM
Supplier of ribs, (swift, etc) fat content %, fresh or frozen, time between kill date and cook date.. All are variables too.

Forrest
03-08-2010, 06:30 PM
Just chiming in to drive the message home. Made 6 slabs yesterday and had to adjust the total cook time to get the perfect ribs. Of the 6 slabs that all had the same cooking time, there were 2 racks that were perfect, and the rest were good but not turn-in good. I pulled them all 40 minutes earlier than originally planned because all signs pointed to DONE.

I do 3-2-1 at about 215 at the grate.

watertowerbbq
03-08-2010, 08:13 PM
Thanks to everyone for their comments. It sometimes helps to hear that others are finding similar results.

I hadn't given much thought to the weight of the ribs. Looking back on it, it makes a lot of sense and sometimes you just need someone to point out the obvious. That is one variable that I don't write down in my cook notes, but I think it will be for future cooks.

I do have one other question that might seem a little off, but do any of you temp your ribs? The reason I ask is that I read on that other forum that ribs were perfect when they hit 205F. Just wondering out loud.

Thanks again for everyone' responses.

Cigarbque
03-08-2010, 08:28 PM
Never took a temp of mine. I just poke them with a skewer. If it slides in nice and easy I take them off.

ZILLA
03-08-2010, 08:31 PM
I need to vent a little. I'm getting frustrated with my ribs. Last summer, I competed with a team up in Mason City in late July. It was my first time with this team and wanted to show what I could do, so on Friday night, I cooked 2 racks of spare for dinner and an "audition". They were the best darn ribs I've ever cooked. Hands down, the best ever for me. The guys I was with told me they were great.................and now that's my problem. I can't seem to get back to that moment.

I keep records of each cook making sure to write down, what temp, how long, woods, rubs, bastes, etc. I'm cooking on a WSM is a DigiQII. Cook temperature is 250 on the top rack. I've tried them with and without foil and I think the ones without the foil are slightly better.

I know that consistency comes with repetition (practice) and I've been doing my share this winter, but it seems that I'm missing something. I'm replicating the same thing between practice sessions, but I'm not able to repeat what I did that one time using the same recipe.

Today, I cooked 3 racks of St. Louis ribs on my WSM at 250 with the DigiQII. They looked really nice, but after 6 hours, they weren't quite tender enough. I did not foil any of these racks. My wife said they were good, but not perfect and I know she was right. I was afraid that if I let them go much longer, I was going to risk them drying out. In the "memorable" cook, I only cooked them for 5:15 minutes, not 6:00 hours.

Since insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome, I've decided that I'm going to increase my temp from 250 to 275 and try and cut down some of the time on the smoker. Am I crazy for doing this?

Thanks for letting me vent. Any and all advice is welcome. Thanks

Welcome!

Jacked UP BBQ
03-08-2010, 08:53 PM
I know a few guys that do temp their ribs and 205 seems to be the popular number. I would say find your mark and stick with it. I always cook the same method for comp ribs down to the time no matter what the ribs look like or where they came from. If they do not turn out right, awwww chit, but if they do they are usually money for what we are looking for. There are some racks no matter what you do will never turn out good or to what you like, could be the rub was off the sauce didn't set right or the rack had no fat or too much. Always cook the same once you hit your mark and you will consistently get the same results 99% of the time and the other 1% if everything went as normal, there was no way to avoid it. If you cook two steaks both of the same grade next to each other, there is a chance one will not be as tender or as juicy as the other. Thats that and the reason people cook four racks. Don't sweat it and over think it.

watertowerbbq
04-10-2010, 10:32 PM
Well after some more practice it dawned on my that I was setting my DigiQII probe at the edge of the rack. I knew from cooking chicken that the outer edge was warmer and I figured maybe that was a contributing factor to my problem.

So today I decided to set the Guru probe at the same location I always use and see what the center rack temperature was. When the edge of the top rack read 250 on the Guru, it was 225 at the center rack.

I increased the Guru to 270 and it was a total success. Very tender and very juicy. The neighbor got juice on his shirt when he bit into one. One rack was so tender, I broke it when putting it back on the smoker after saucing it.

Thanks for everyone's input and I can tell you that the racks weight between 2 lbs 8 oz and 2 lbs 15 oz.

I can't tell you how happy I was. It might as well been Christmas!

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg213/watertowerbbq/001-4.jpg

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg213/watertowerbbq/002-5.jpg

monty3777
04-10-2010, 10:48 PM
Good going! It's the simple stuff that can drive you crazy.