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desertguy76 03-19-2013 10:48 AM

First attempt at Ribs on UDS not so great.
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Well I finally tried ribs on Sunday. Honestly I was scared to not foil and ruin them so I smoked them at 225 for three hours. I pulled and foiled for 1.5 hours. When I pulled them out of foil to do another hour on smoker they literally fell apart. It really was a mess. Of course my wife liked them cause she didnt have to pick them up. I couldnt even cut them without them ripping apart. Besides not foiling is there anything else that could have caused this? I cannot imagine another 30 mins in the foil with the 3-2-1 method. All in all they had great flavor but very hard to eat. I only took the one picture because I wasn't to proud of them.

HeSmellsLikeSmoke 03-19-2013 10:53 AM

Most people learning to cook ribs undercook them so you are a step ahead in my view. I would check to make sure that your grate temperature really is 225F with a calibrated thermometer. If it is, then simply cut back on the time in the foil next time. Like to 1/2 hour. You can bracket it in that way.

I don't foil and simply cook them at 275-300F, unflipped until there is a little under 1/2" pull back from the bone ends. Then I continue to smoke them until they pass the bend test. This takes all the guesswork out of it.

aawa 03-19-2013 11:01 AM

If they are baby back ribs the 3-2-1 method is a tad bit to long for them. The 3-2-1 was designed for spare/st louis cut ribs @ 225. However like HeSmellsLikeSmoke said, make sure your grate temperature is truely 225 using a calibrated therometer.

On a side note, I don't cook by time but I cook by look and feel and use temperatures/times as loose guidelines. If you want to wrap your ribs, cook the ribs until they are the color you want in them. Then wrap for 1 hr and check for doneness. If they somewhat tender but not quite bend test ready, sauce and put back on till the ribs pass the bend test or bone twist test.

bigabyte 03-19-2013 11:38 AM

They were overcooked, but it's not TRULY the foils fault. They could have come out jsut fine with foil. What happened is they were simply overdone, whether they were ahead of the normal curve before the foil, or inside the foil.

You may have been running hotter than you thought, or they might have been smaller racks than the usual spares, or something of that nature. They were spares, right?

gtr 03-19-2013 12:06 PM

Just curious - why the concern over not foiling? I'm kinda the opposite - I never foil mainly because I don't like the idea of not being able to see what I'm cooking.

Well, truth be told, I'm actually too lazy to foil, plus I've never felt a need to anyway.

As already stated, I'm also thinking you might be running hotter than your therm indicates.

Bludawg 03-19-2013 12:20 PM

If your going by the installed temp gauge on your drum it will read 50 deg cooler that the grate temp in the center so you where cooking at 275 not 225. Ditch the foil! I cook mine like HeSmellslLikeSmoke: 275 -300 until they pass the bend test No Foil Required.

Mdboatbum 03-19-2013 12:41 PM

What they said. Temps were likely in the 275˚ range. I usually do them at this temp, and foil for no longer than an hour. Initial time in the smoke is between 2 and 3 hours, depending on the color and amount of pullback. I personally don't like a lot of pullback as that to me means they're getting too done and losing too much moisture. As soon as I see between a quarter and a half inch of pullback, and I have the color I want, I foil them for 45 mins to an hour. Then maybe 15 minutes to a half hour back on the grate to firm up and set any glaze or sauce if I happen to be using one.
Weird though, your ribs appear to have very little pullback. Just out of curiosity, how much liquid did you use in the foil?

Gilstarr 03-19-2013 12:46 PM

If "wife liked them cause she didnt have to pick them up" then you were a success.

desertguy76 03-19-2013 01:02 PM

I guess I was hoping my Temp guage was close to being accurate since I put the probe directly under the rack when I built it. I guess I need to invest in a Maverick digital temp guage. I think my main fear of not foiling was being afraid they would be dry since this is new to me. I will try again after getting another guage so I know exactly what the temp is.

aawa 03-19-2013 01:16 PM

Don't be afraid to dry out the meat. Think of it as a big oven. You don't have to wrap most things you cook in the oven. You just have to make sure you check on the meats from time to time and pull it when the meat is done.

smokinrack 03-19-2013 01:20 PM

The difference between my dome thermometer and my digital on my my grate is often 70-100 degrees different.

It might be just my imagination as cooking at the same temp from grill to grill should produce roughly the same results but I honestly think some smokers just cook faster than others although I dont know why.

I recently bought an Akorn and was using the 3-2-1 method you described and had the exact same results after 5 hours, took them outta the foil and they were ready to fall apart, sauced them and put em back on for 20 minutes and they actually got to dry. .Next time I went 2-1-1 and checked them with a toothpick and they were the best ribs Ive made so far and took two hours less then I am used to cooking them.Good example of why you shouldnt rely on a timeline for the meat being finished.

aawa 03-19-2013 01:22 PM

it isn't that different cookers cook faster than others. It is the fact that each piece is very different and is done when it is done. Fat content, muscle density, and amount of connective tissue in each piece of meat varies and causes each piece of meat to cook at different times even if they are the same weight.

smokinrack 03-19-2013 01:43 PM


Originally Posted by aawa (Post 2413958)
it isn't that different cookers cook faster than others. It is the fact that each piece is very different and is done when it is done. Fat content, muscle density, and amount of connective tissue in each piece of meat varies and causes each piece of meat to cook at different times even if they are the same weight.

I understand the difference in the meats make a large difference from one cut to the next but I also have seen some cookers that are consistently faster than others.I think insulation, moisture in the chamber, the air movement in the chamber etc... all play a role in how fast or tender a piece of meat will get in a certain time frame or how bad it will dry out depending on the circumstances.

desertguy76 03-19-2013 01:47 PM

I had no idea my temp could be off so much. Thanks for all the info guys I will have to try again soon.

Ole Man Dan 03-19-2013 03:28 PM

One other thing is that a UDS smokes in a moister environment than some other smokers. (More so than an Offset)

BTW: I do ribs at about 275 to 300 deg. un-foiled...

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