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Uncle JJ 07-02-2013 09:54 AM

Black ribs
Quick question. When I slow smoke my ribs, they always turn a black color, not the mahogony I would like. They taste great, but the appearance is not what I want. I'm wondering if I have too much sugar in my rub.

Should I use a low (or no) sugar rub to start, and then add a higher sugar-content rub later in the cook?
Thx, JJ

Wolfpack 07-02-2013 09:56 AM

The sugar can blacken- what temp are you cooking at? Are you using turbino sugar? If you are making your own rub try cutting back on the amount- you will get plenty of sugar from the BBQ sauce at the end of the cook (unless you go sauce free).

Wolfpack 07-02-2013 09:57 AM

sorry auto correct- turbinado sugar

HeSmellsLikeSmoke 07-02-2013 09:57 AM

May be too much sugar. It also may be due to a smothered fire. Do you keep the exhaust vent fully open? Do you get bluish smoke?

To answer the sugar question, cook some ribs with no sugar beside some with the rub you are questioning.

hachi-roku_fan 07-02-2013 09:57 AM

What temp? I got similar results after cooking at 280-300 instead of 225-250

nucornhusker 07-02-2013 09:58 AM

What kind of smoker and fuel are you using?

Uncle JJ 07-02-2013 10:03 AM

I use a 26" Weber Kettle, and I've fashioned an offest fire area with fire bricks. I use Wicked Good lump with some chunks of hickory and pecan. I cook it at 225* for the first hour, then bump it up to 275 for the rest of the cook. I wrap them after 3 hours.... The smoke is a pretty thin blue - top vent is wide open, and I adjust temp with bottom vent. My rub has brown sugar, not turbinado.

jonmhenderson 07-02-2013 10:57 AM

Brown sugar is the likely culprit. I've learned that Woostershire Sauce will turn everything black as well.

Uncle JJ 07-02-2013 11:10 AM

I do think it's the sugar, but doesn't all sugar burn black? Maybe brown sugar gets blacker than turbinado.

El Ropo 07-02-2013 11:21 AM

When I use sugar in a rub, I never use more than 20% ratio. I've seen many rib rub recipes that call for over 75% sugar! And when I do use sugar in a rub, it's always turbinado. I save the brown sugar for any sauces I make.

Just for kicks, you could try using SPOG on your ribs. It's shocking how well that works on anything.

Uncle JJ 07-02-2013 11:28 AM

Good advice, thanks. I'll tinker with the rub. I suppose I don't need the sugar, but I think I'll first try cutting out the brown and using a reduced amount of Turbinado.

Smoothsmoke 07-02-2013 11:30 AM

Apart from the sugar. Use cherry wood.

Uncle JJ 07-02-2013 11:34 AM

Only cherry, or a mix of cherry + pecan or hickory?

letdasmokeroll 07-02-2013 11:40 AM

I always use brown sugar in my rib rub I have never noticed them turning black but I never cook above 250 also ....they do get a little darker but not close to black

Smoothsmoke 07-02-2013 11:40 AM


Originally Posted by Uncle JJ (Post 2536410)
Only cherry, or a mix of cherry + pecan or hickory?

Whatever floats your taste buds man. Try using all cherry and you should notice a difference in the color of your ribs. Then the next time add in some hickory or pecan. Experiment and see what you like. :thumb:

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