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Unread 12-08-2012, 11:01 AM   #1
Flying_Spaghetti_Monster
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Default First try at ribs help.

I have smoked 3 pork shoulder so far, and they turned out great. Honestly pork shoulders seem pretty hard to mess up. With that being said I have 3 slabs of St. Louis Style ribs I am BBQing today. What are some things to look out for. Will I have to worry about them drying out? If so how do I combat this. What are some common mistakes often made. If you guys help me out I will post some PRON :) lol
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Unread 12-08-2012, 11:08 AM   #2
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The biggest thing is don't go by internal temperature or time cooked (3-2-1 method as a hard guideline) with ribs. Go by feel. Either use the toothpick test to see if it goes in easily (like probing a pork butt) or by the bend test (if you pick up the whole slab in the middle and it bends 90 degrees without breaking you are done)
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Unread 12-08-2012, 11:11 AM   #3
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What ya cooking them on and what temp does your cooker like to run at?
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Unread 12-08-2012, 11:33 AM   #4
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As far as what to look out for, just make sure you don't over cook them and dry them out or cook them to the point of completely falling apart. Either baste them to add moisture, or foil them towards the end of the cook with whatever liquid you want (might I recommend some Sweet Baby Ray's). That adds tons of moisture and tenderness but exact specifics on how long and how much are really up to you. You have to experiment with it to find the right combination. The 3-2-1 method is a good starting point, but shouldn't be relied on 100%. My spares recipe when I'm cooking for the immediate family follow that method but mine is more of a 2-2-1. I think a 6 hour cook with 1 or 2 racks of spares over cooks them. In my early stages of figuring out my recipe, the 6 hours always made the ribs come out just a little over cooked. I'd go to pull them off the grate and they would fall apart. The best ribs stay together and come "clean off the bone" when eaten, not "fall off the bone".

Just have to experiment and figure out what works best with your brand of ribs, your cooker, and your cooking style. In the end, ribs are hard to really mess up so the results are usually pretty good regardless.
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Unread 12-08-2012, 11:42 AM   #5
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I find 2-1-1 usually comes out perfect to just a hair too done with spares on either my WSM or offset depending on how many racks I am working with. A half cup of apple juice in the foil and try to stay in the 250 - 275 range. Works for me, what can I say?
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Unread 12-08-2012, 11:48 AM   #6
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I'm pretty much the same as Turtle above on the time, whether spares or baby backs. The first time depends on how much smoke you like on your ribs and how much smoke your smoker imparts. I usually do 1.5 vs. 2 hours, as that's how much smoke I like. Then I do a 2.5 to 2.75 in foil, all at the 260+- degree cook. I dont do any time out of foil, because they'll be sitting out anyway, and I dont like to bake the sauce on it; I put the sauce on very VERY hot...
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Unread 12-08-2012, 11:51 AM   #7
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I currently get the best success cooking ribs over a hotter fire, around 275F or so, of course, my cooker likes to run there, so why fight it. I do not foil. Here is my process.

1. strip membrane, rub and stack ribs, wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Let sit and fire up the smoker.

2. Once smoker is going right, unwrap and apply a second coat of rub, then onto the smoker. Bone side down, thick end toward heat. Let cook like this for at least 3 hours, do not peek.

3. Meanwhile, prepare a simple mop of whatever. I use what I call Pig Honey, but, 1 cup of apple juice, 2 tablespoons of rub and a little wine or cider vinegar will work. Heat to dissolve rub.

4. At 3 hours, open pit, sprinkle or spritz mop onto ribs. This is a good time to pick up a rack or two and see how it bends. It will be close. Do this two more times at 15 minute intervals. It will be done around 4 hours or so. Test each time you open to spritz. Work fast.
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Unread 12-08-2012, 11:55 AM   #8
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Some non-foiler input here (I'm sure foiling is fine, I'm just too lazy to do it plus I like how my ribs come out without foiling) - just cook 'em until they pass the bend test (you pick up one end with tongs, forming an approximately 90 degree angle, or pick up from the middle and the ribs hang down both sides - the exterior starts to crack) confirm with a toothpick - it'll slide right in and out, or see if you can grab a bone and twist it kinda easily. That's basically it for knowing when they're done.

***on edit***

Make that some additional non-foiler input.
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Unread 12-08-2012, 12:08 PM   #9
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I look for about 1/2" pullback from the end of the bones then start the bend test to see when to pull them.

I used to use foil during the cooking, but now don't.
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Unread 12-08-2012, 12:30 PM   #10
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Everyones got you covered. With ribs its practice practice practice. Eventually youll find your techniques. Best part is, you get to make a lot of ribs.
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Unread 12-08-2012, 12:39 PM   #11
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I can't really add anything other than write down what you did, temp, time, prep and then critique. This gives you something to refer back to the next time. I miss this step a lot and have to rethink it the next time Ribs usually come out good, unless you burn them
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Unread 12-08-2012, 12:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtr View Post
Some non-foiler input here (I'm sure foiling is fine, I'm just too lazy to do it plus I like how my ribs come out without foiling) - just cook 'em until they pass the bend test (you pick up one end with tongs, forming an approximately 90 degree angle, or pick up from the middle and the ribs hang down both sides - the exterior starts to crack) confirm with a toothpick - it'll slide right in and out, or see if you can grab a bone and twist it kinda easily. That's basically it for knowing when they're done.

***on edit***

Make that some additional non-foiler input.
I'm another non-foiler. This post basically covers the way I do them. Like Landarc, I try for 275 deg, roughly.
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Unread 12-08-2012, 12:55 PM   #13
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^^^same here on the temp.
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Unread 12-08-2012, 12:56 PM   #14
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Another point. They are usually fully cooked at 3 hours. Additional time leads to increased tenderness, at the risk of drying them out .
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Unread 12-08-2012, 01:16 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flying_Spaghetti_Monster View Post
I have smoked 3 pork shoulder so far, and they turned out great. Honestly pork shoulders seem pretty hard to mess up. With that being said I have 3 slabs of St. Louis Style ribs I am BBQing today. What are some things to look out for. Will I have to worry about them drying out? If so how do I combat this. What are some common mistakes often made. If you guys help me out I will post some PRON :) lol
Run your pit at 300 leave the membrane on the back (it will Cook off) close the lid
and maintain temp when you hear the bones sizzilin (Weeping) take a look if you see Pig honey Shut down the vents and go have a Beer when the beer is done go retrieve the ribs. SImple!
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