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Competition BBQ *On Topic Only* Discussion regarding all aspects of Competition BBQ. Experiences competing or visiting, questions, getting started, Equipment, announcements of events, Results, Reviews, Planning, etc. Questions here will be responded to with competition BBQ in mind.


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Unread 06-12-2012, 09:35 AM   #1
FlavorSavor
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Default Ribs Help

By far my worst category in KCBS, ribs. Just looking for some helpful hints to improve my scores.

I use the 3-2-1 method as a guideline at about 230*. My scores across the board are low, particularly in tenderness. I don't think they're overdone as they break away from the bone cleanly and the meat does not slide off, but perhaps a little under done...??? Cooking the ribs longer than 6 hours, to me, sounds like the wrong direction to go. Could it be the temp in which they're cooked? At 230* does the fat not render to a satisfactorily level?

Next lowest scores are taste. Averaging a 6 here! How embarrassing.... Part of the problem, I think, is that I really like my ribs, so it's hard for me to know what to change. I've tried over-the-counter rubs and I've tried making my own. I've been using only over-the-counter sauces, though. My process is:
-Dry rub. I've tied Myron Mixons recipe out of his book. I've used Big Bob Gibsons over-the-counter rub. I've used Dizzy Pig's Swamp Venom.

-Cook for about 2.5 to 3 hours at 230*

-Wrap in heavy foil with light brown sugar, squeeze butter, and honey. Allow to cook another 1.5 to 2 hours at 230*, meat side down.

-Unwrap, sauce with a 50/50 mix of Blues Hog Original and Tennessee Red, and return to pit for 30 to 40 minutes.

-20 minutes before pulling, I use Amazing Glaze.

With this process my taste scores are horrible.

The best out of the three categories is appearance. That's still not saying much. Last comp I averaged a 7 here. I'm using a stick burner pit and hickory and apple woods (more hickory than apple).

I'm not looking for someone elses recipe or technique, but I'd like to hear where I should be focusing my attention on. It's disappointing to have consistent scores on pork and brisket, then bomb in ribs.

My latest rub. Not a lot of sugar in this rub, but it does have some heat to it. Paprika, chili powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, onion powder, light brown sugar, small amount of salt.......



When they come out of the foil, prior to the Blues Hog sauce.



Amazing Glaze, and just about done.



Side view.



Any hints?
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Unread 06-12-2012, 11:23 AM   #2
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sounds and looks pretty good from here. maybe a bit too saucy? i really like amazing glaze, but when i used it over my BH, it became too much sauce.

how much/what kind of smoke?
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Unread 06-12-2012, 11:43 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by boogiesnap View Post
how much/what kind of smoke?
I use Kingsford blue bag to maintain a coal bed in my Lang 60d. I'll add a split hickory or apple log every hour or hour-and-a-half. Sometimes the smoke gets a bit heavy, typically after I add new wood or coal. But when it gets to breathing good again I get a thin hue of smoke out of the chimney.

Quote:
i really like amazing glaze, but when i used it over my BH, it became too much sauce.
I too think it's a bit much. But I actually prefer a dry rib over a wet rib anyway, so I thought maybe I was being oversensitive to the amount of sauce. They sure do taste good, though. A little sweet, but I guess that's what the judges like??

Thanks for your input!
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Unread 06-12-2012, 11:56 AM   #4
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If you don't comprimise your other meats try bumping your cook temp up to 250-275. That's leaves less time in the foil. The ribs could be there long enough to get musshy but not fall off the bone. Your foil mix sounds good. When the foil process is done try flippng them over and leaving on the foil let the honey and butter mix. Set then add your sauce. Saucing to quickly can trap grease between the sauce and the meat or at least mixes with it. Try the amazing glaze by itself. Just food for thought. Results my vary
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Unread 06-12-2012, 01:45 PM   #5
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I am going to give you potentially inflamatory opinions:

1) Cook at 250.
2) Apply less rub initially, but cover every inch of rib. Then, reapply with another lite coat.
3) Lose the TR and BHO mix. It never made sense to me.
4) Don't use another glaze (like Amazing Glaze) Re-use your original, or one based on your original. Or, base your original sauce to better pair with the glaze if you are stuck on it.
5) Your wrapping procedure is really sweet. Really sweet.
6) Ribs look a tad lean. Are they from a butcher shop or grocer?
7) Do not forget "what you like" in a rib, but do "let go" of it.
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Unread 06-12-2012, 02:01 PM   #6
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if your tenderness scores are low, your ribs arent tender enough. If you can slice and get in the box with the bone then you didnt overcook them to the point of really low scores, IMO. I would also say you need to make very small changes to the process. I would probably ditch one of the 3 different sauces you are using...but just that. give it a contest or 2 and see what you are.

taking big swings at it leads to a lot of striking out.
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Unread 06-12-2012, 02:05 PM   #7
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6) Ribs look a tad lean. Are they from a butcher shop or grocer?
Costco. I get them from Costco for a few reasons, mainly being that I know they will have them and they seem to be pretty consistent. There is a butcher in the area who I've gotten ribs from before, but I have to plan ahead because he does not always have them in stock (or sold out), and they were never all that consistent. Costco has just been more convient than anything.

I bought a case of ribs about 6-months from Sysco (Curly's brand) just so I would have several racks that were consistent to practices with. I thought those ribs were lean as well. When I inquired about it, the account manager blamed it on a hot summer and how the pigs did not put the weight on they typically do. I did not really have a reason to doubt her and just kind of figured that's the way ribs are going to be for a while. Am I off-base here?

Thanks for the tips!
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Unread 06-12-2012, 02:11 PM   #8
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I have also noticed ribs all of a sudden seemed to get a lot leaner in the last month or so, it is driving me wacko!
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Unread 06-12-2012, 02:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlavorSavor View Post
Costco. I get them from Costco for a few reasons, mainly being that I know they will have them and they seem to be pretty consistent. There is a butcher in the area who I've gotten ribs from before, but I have to plan ahead because he does not always have them in stock (or sold out), and they were never all that consistent. Costco has just been more convient than anything.

I bought a case of ribs about 6-months from Sysco (Curly's brand) just so I would have several racks that were consistent to practices with. I thought those ribs were lean as well. When I inquired about it, the account manager blamed it on a hot summer and how the pigs did not put the weight on they typically do. I did not really have a reason to doubt her and just kind of figured that's the way ribs are going to be for a while. Am I off-base here?

Thanks for the tips!
Personally, I think you are not off base at all. I truly believe you should be able to get comp quality ribs from Costco, about 66.666% of the time. I will generally say I have seen leaner ribs and pork recently, but decent stuff is out there.

YMMV, the leanest pork products (ribs particularly) I have found have been from butcher shops, not mass market grocers. Again, YMMV.
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Unread 06-12-2012, 05:46 PM   #10
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I don't have any advice on your cooking method, but reading about all that sweet stuff you are using makes my teeth hurt! Not every judge wants candy ribs! It does sound like the different sauces are arguing with each other.
Your rub sounds decent, but when you say chili powder, do you mean a prepared mix for chili soup? If so, you might want to check the ingredients to make sure you aren't duplicating one and overdoing any ingredient.
That final picture is lovely! Good luck!
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Unread 06-12-2012, 07:36 PM   #11
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Aside from what everyone has mentioned about your sauce conflicts, I would just say that I have found that a pit temp of 275* seems to render the fat a little better and leads to better tenderness! IMHO
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Unread 06-12-2012, 07:54 PM   #12
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I would def consider going to 275 cook. Get rid of the BH mix. Add something to your foil to offset the sweet. I would suggest some heat. Try a little cayenne or more rub immediately after unfoiling.

P.S Maybe try using 3 to 1 ratio fruit woods to hickory. Some people can get sensitive to heavy smoke flavor. I would try cherry wood. It might be my imagination but I feel like it gives a better "red" color to meat.
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Unread 06-12-2012, 09:58 PM   #13
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It looks like you may need to trim down the rack a little as I think I see a cartlidge bone (white) in the middle of your rack on the bottom. Might try Plowboys rub, dark brown sugar, no fake margarine, 2 lines of agave, and 1 line of honey, plus hit it with a little bit of finely ground rub when you foil. Loose the BH and find a more complex tasting sauce, and you can still hit it with a little of the glaze. 275 in the temp dept.
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Unread 06-12-2012, 10:13 PM   #14
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ok, soooo, for the gentlemen suggesting losing the blues hog, might there be a suggestion as to a sauce with as much winning credentials to replace?
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Unread 06-13-2012, 08:15 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaskew82 View Post
P.S Maybe try using 3 to 1 ratio fruit woods to hickory. Some people can get sensitive to heavy smoke flavor. I would try cherry wood. It might be my imagination but I feel like it gives a better "red" color to meat.
When people say cherry wood, what exactly do you mean? I know that sounds like a dumb question, but I have some sort of mental block when it comes to identifying trees. I think part of that comes from folks calling the same trees different names, I.E. wild cherry, sweet cherry, black cherry, cherry..... Is a wild cherry the same as a cherry tree, or are they two different species?

I own 11 acres of wooded land that's mixed with hardwoods and softwoods. I've had people point out wild cherry to me, so I guess I've got a few. Would wild cherry be the species I would want to cook with?

....and while I'm asking questions, do you want your cherry wood dry or green?
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