Okay, admittedly I'm new to smoking ribs. My first smoke was pretty dry and tough. My second smoke was nice and juicy. So today was my third smoke. We get two racks of ribs, one of them fairly large by Philippine standards.
I'm going for Meathead Goldwyn's Pig Candy, so I follow his guidelines pretty well. I make his Memphis Dust rub. I brine my ribs for 12 hours ahead of cooking. That is mistake Numero Uno. He didn't say brine, that is my idea from other cooking. Bad idea!
We heat the Weber/Smokenator. I've had problems with getting to heat. So we remove the small water pan completely. Up the charcoal (mostly local lump) and start it with more than normal. We get start getting good temps pretty quickly. It is in the 220F to 245F range.
I load on the ribs, see below. We cook until they hit the 150F that Meathead mentioned, just a bit shy of three hours. Then we foil, using the "boat" method, with apple juice. The ribs go 1/2 hour in the foil. We have a temperature fiasco, the grill shooting to 325F because we left the dome off while wrapping the ribs. I adjust the vents so the temp drops, but it comes down very slowly.
We pull them out of the foil, drain the juices in the pan for the glaze, and return the ribs to the grill at about 270F but with the vent closed so the temp drops slowly but steadily to 240F. There is a still apple juice and some fat in the pan, so it didn't all steam off with the temperature spike.
Finally, one hour at 240F dropping to 230F, uncovered to dry the bark. The last quarter hour I pull the dome, glaze the ribs with the maple syrup/apple juice mix. It looks really good.
But when it is time to serve, terrible stuff. Very salty and very tough. Not sure why. Well, the salt I understand. But the dry tough texture, I do not. Maybe the removal of the water pan? Bad ribs, though I don't know if that is even a possibility.
The dry, tough result...