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Unread 01-12-2012, 02:22 PM   #1
dae06
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Default Smoked rib question

I have a hard time figuring out my ribs. I have read many post referring to when ribs are done. My problem is maybe due to the fact that I am comparing it to grilling steaks.

With steaks, they start out raw, grill them for a while they become tender and juicy, but when over cooked (grilled) they become tough and dry.

But I read (refering to ribs), they start out raw, cook a little longer and they are firm with little resistance to pull of the bone (correct for most competitions), and over cooked, they are tender and fall off the bone. Is this correct? I would think over cooked would get tough and dried out also.

My family likes their ribs juicy and almost fall of the bone. What temp and length of time do I need to smoke spare ribs to get them this way. Or how much longer should I smoke them compared to competion style ribs. Will they eventually dry out from being over cooked (smoked)?

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Unread 01-12-2012, 02:42 PM   #2
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Use a toothpick test on the ribs to see when they are done. it's sorta like a probe test on a shoulder or a brisket, but you can use a toothpick on the ribs. When that toothpick goes into the rib meat with very little or no resistance, the ribs are ready.

The 'bend' test is when you pick up the ribs with a tong from the middle of the rack and they bend almost in half without breaking apart. That's when they are ready.

You will also notice that the meat will pull back off the bone on its own about 1/4-1/2"....

Experience makes the best ribs IMO... keep cooking them :)
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Unread 01-12-2012, 02:49 PM   #3
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^^^+1. All you really need to know is right there.
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Unread 01-12-2012, 02:57 PM   #4
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I use my own kinda bend test I grab them from one end and when they hang straight down and the smallest ribs tear away from the bone that is when I sauce and put back on for 20 to 30 more minutes. But that is just my way. Depends also on how you like them. Some actually like them falling off the bone because that is what is advertised in the media as tender. Here that is considered by most to be overcooked.
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Unread 01-13-2012, 12:04 PM   #5
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Thanks,

but do ribs act differently than steak. This is what confuses me. If I have tough dryer ribs, most tell me they are undercooked, where if I grilled a steak too long, it would be dry and tough not more tender. Maybe this isn't an apples to apples comparision, but this is what I was asking about.

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Unread 01-13-2012, 12:09 PM   #6
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If you cook them to fall off the bone (overdone) and then keep cooking they will dry out and eventially turn to rib jerky. If you family wants fall off the bone, try foiling when they are almost done (comp style) and cook till they are the way you want them.
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Unread 01-13-2012, 12:50 PM   #7
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Ok thanks,

I smoked them at 225 for 4 hours. I initially thought they were over-cooked due to them being tough and dry, but now I think they maybe could have stayed on for longer.
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Unread 01-13-2012, 01:07 PM   #8
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Spares at 225 for 4 hours will not be done most off the time.
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Unread 01-13-2012, 01:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by campdude View Post
Spares at 225 for 4 hours will not be done most off the time.
Well, there you go. That was most likely my problem.

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Unread 01-13-2012, 01:09 PM   #10
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I use the 3-2-1 method at 225 degrees. I had to tweak the times a bit, but the ribs are done to perfection everytime. The first 2-3 hours are when the ribs are absorbing the smoke and gaining the flavor. The next 1 1/2-2 hours is, to me, the key to the ribs being fall off the bone. The ribs hold the moisture so well after being rapped in foil. I was skeptical at first about the foil, but it makes a HUGE difference. The last 45 minutes to and hour is for finishing them off and adding sauce, if you add it before serving. I have been told that my ribs are really good by using this technique. It's all just personal preference. Good luck
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Unread 01-13-2012, 01:12 PM   #11
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5 hours @ 250 is what it took this last time for juicy tender ribs.
No foil mod
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Unread 01-13-2012, 01:48 PM   #12
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some might disagree but rib quality has a lot to do with the overall turnout as well.

as far as i'm concerned, ribs can just be tricky in general.
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Unread 01-13-2012, 03:35 PM   #13
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IMO it's hard to compare grilling steaks and smoking ribs. Two different things going on there. Don't be afraid to crank the heat to 250-275* For me 250* @5 hours usually works. But do the tenderness test as JM ^^ describes above and you'll be alright.
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