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Unread 06-04-2012, 11:18 AM   #1
Unfathomable Bastid
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Default Babybacks at Higher Heat?

Hey Brethren,

Interesting. I caught a rerun of BBQ Pitmasters yesterday, where the competitiors were asked to compete on Babybacks (and also bone-in Pork Butt). For those that follow the show, Melissa Cookston (Yazoo's Delta Q)ended up winning this particular round.

Anyway, Both Melissa and Moe Cason (Ponderosa BBQ) smoked their ribs at higher heat (275-290) for three to four hours before wrapping and applying their respective finishing touches. I find that interesting, since most of us here discuss the 3-2-1 mthod (or some variant of) at the 225-240 range. I noticed that both competitors had a much darker bark than I typically have on my own Q.

What am I missing?

-Bastid
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Unread 06-04-2012, 11:34 AM   #2
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I've been cooking my spares and baby backs at around 275 for awhile now. No foil, so spritz, no sauce. Works out great for me.
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Unread 06-04-2012, 11:47 AM   #3
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There is a huge contingent of cooking ribs hotter and faster, using no foil at all, and not mopping or spritzing.

I will say that if you cook loin backs at 275-290 for 4 hours, then wrap in foil, then unwrap and apply a glaze then cook longer to allow the glaze to set, the result will be a pork explosion when you try to take it off the cooker. They will be so overdone, it'll be mush.

At those temps, loin backs should done in around 3.25-3.5 hours hours without foiling. Unless you prefer pork mush that is.

You're not missing anything, only maybe the cooking times were shorter. I haven't watched the show, maybe someone else can chime in with what they heard on the amount of time in cooker. FYI, many comp cooks use higher heat on all their meats.

There are plenty of threads here that demonstrate you can make killer ribs at temps in excess of 275, and create a superior product. Check the double weeped ribs thread.
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Unread 06-04-2012, 11:47 AM   #4
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I just started cooking mine at 275 also and I love the results. I like both foiling and not foiling. Can't argue with the results either. Used to cook at 250 but will never go back.

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Unread 06-04-2012, 12:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unfathomable Bastid View Post
Hey Brethren,

Interesting. I caught a rerun of BBQ Pitmasters yesterday, where the competitiors were asked to compete on Babybacks (and also bone-in Pork Butt). For those that follow the show, Melissa Cookston (Yazoo's Delta Q)ended up winning this particular round.

Anyway, Both Melissa and Moe Cason (Ponderosa BBQ) smoked their ribs at higher heat (275-290) for three to four hours before wrapping and applying their respective finishing touches. I find that interesting, since most of us here discuss the 3-2-1 mthod (or some variant of) at the 225-240 range. I noticed that both competitors had a much darker bark than I typically have on my own Q.

What am I missing?

-Bastid

There are styles, and in competition Q, definitions of things like tenderness, etc. Melissa (and Moe so I see) cook traditional MIM/MBN style, babybacks, even the presentation from Melissa is traditional MIM/MBN, not just giving but facilitating a "pull cleanly from the bone" piece of meat, from loin/baby backs... Depending on how much smoke you want imparted into your rib is how long you leave it on smoke. Mel, realizing that 2 of the 3 guys there probably like a little more smoke, played right into that and smoke it probably 30 minutes more than she would for a regular sanctioned comp (if I had to guess).

Most competitors that I know of cook ribs in that 250-300 range on ribs, 275 being what most shoot for.
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Unread 06-04-2012, 12:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake Dogs View Post
There are styles, and in competition Q, definitions of things like tenderness, etc. Melissa (and Moe so I see) cook traditional MIM/MBN style, babybacks, even the presentation from Melissa is traditional MIM/MBN, not just giving but facilitating a "pull cleanly from the bone" piece of meat, from loin/baby backs... Depending on how much smoke you want imparted into your rib is how long you leave it on smoke. Mel, realizing that 2 of the 3 guys there probably like a little more smoke, played right into that and smoke it probably 30 minutes more than she would for a regular sanctioned comp (if I had to guess).

Most competitors that I know of cook ribs in that 250-300 range on ribs, 275 being what most shoot for.
Thanks Lake. So if I'm gonna experiement at the higher heat (~275), what will my formula be? I'm guessing....
  1. 3 hours at 275
  2. 30 mins wrapped
  3. 1 hour top-off unwrapped
Am I close?

-Bastid
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Unread 06-04-2012, 01:30 PM   #7
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Some of this will depend on what type of cooker you use. The Ole Hickory CTO I use for competitions, cooks ribs (and every other meat) much faster than the stickburner I occassionally use at home. Although I don't foil my ribs on either so maybe the foil will level the playing field.

As a starting point I would say something around this for loin/baby backs:
2 hrs at 275
30 minutes wrapped
30 minutes unwrapped

Then check to see where you are at, with either the tooth pick test or the bend test. Just my .02
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Unread 06-04-2012, 02:20 PM   #8
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Considering the different amount of fat in loin ribs and belly ribs, I've never had a problem in cooking loin ribs hotter for most of the cook, although I believe a low temp start does give me a better smoky flavor.

Remember when the BRITU method showed up 12 or 15 years ago? It was a 4 or 5 hour cook on loin ribs, starting off low and finishing at 275*.
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Unread 06-04-2012, 02:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unfathomable Bastid View Post
Thanks Lake. So if I'm gonna experiement at the higher heat (~275), what will my formula be? I'm guessing....
  1. 3 hours at 275
  2. 30 mins wrapped
  3. 1 hour top-off unwrapped
Am I close?

-Bastid

She's using a Stumps smoker with a fairly light smoke setting. For most the 3 hours at 275 unwrapped would be quite a bit of smoke. I use a Lang, which imparts a medium-heavy smoke, so I foil at the 1.5 hour mark. For the most part we're foiling at that point when we no longer want smoke. In my case I leave it in foil until that 4.25 hour mark (total, or 2.75 hours in smoke). On simple days I just do a 1.25/3.0 foiling. The remainder is how they are at that point. So far mine have always been DONE at that point, no need for out of foil. Shorten the foil time at the end, hit perhaps a little of that final seasoning, and add the un-foiled smoke. Be careful, sauce really absorbs smoke... I actually just take super-heated and very thin sauce at hit it right before plating (or boxing).

1.25/3.0/0.0

If I were using a stumps, I'd do probably 3.0/1.25/0, but then I do a different sauce finish than she does. In her example, on a stumps, probably 3.0/1.0/0.25.

Oh, these times and temps would be for MIM/MBN/GBA defined rib tenderness; that's "pull cleanly from the bone with only a slight resistance". This is very different than the "bite through" KCBS defined rib. For KCBS tenderness, you'll looking at proabably 15-30 minutes less time total. For just falling off the bone, go another 15 minutes.
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Unread 06-04-2012, 02:29 PM   #10
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As of late I have been cooking my loin backs @ ~270 for four hours. No foil, but I have started mopping. I don't start mopping until the 3 hourish mark. Total cook time of four hours seems to be about right.

If I am cooking more than 3 racks at a time I will sometimes swap the top shelf and next shelf under it around. IE: the heat from the top of the FEC100 reflects more and thus the top shelf racks get done a bit quicker.
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Unread 06-04-2012, 02:30 PM   #11
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By the way, I know that this is a largely KCBS centric site, but Melissa and Pete not only can BBQ their butts off, but frankly IMHO they're the team to beat right now out there on any circuit. It's really tough to argue with Yazoo's Delta Q's accomplishments over the last few years.
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Unread 06-04-2012, 03:04 PM   #12
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Do you still use rub with the higher heat?
I thought I heard that rubs would burn above 250 degrees.
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Unread 06-04-2012, 03:10 PM   #13
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I've not had a problem with rubs at 275. I do, however, prefer a not too sweet rub in the first place.
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Unread 06-04-2012, 04:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pappy View Post
Do you still use rub with the higher heat?
I thought I heard that rubs would burn above 250 degrees.
I usually make my own rub for ribs, it's on the savory/spicy side of things, with very little sugar. I only use turbinado on any thing I cook for its ability to handle higher cooking temps, and a small % like 10% of the whole rub. I've seen lots of rib rubs that call for over 80% brown sugar, I scratch my head, just don't get the fascination with such a sweet rub, mine are probably more fresh ground pepper than sugar, don't use a lot of Ksalt either.
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Unread 06-04-2012, 04:58 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deguerre View Post
I've not had a problem with rubs at 275. I do, however, prefer a not too sweet rub in the first place.
Same here. I use my home-made rubs with not much sugar - and dried herbs from the garden.

I don't squirt, glaze nor sauce. I do however, foil the last hour and use the toothpick to test for doneness.

I do notice that most of my guest walk away from the table with a smile.
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