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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 03-11-2013, 08:57 PM   #1
McEvoy AZ
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Default Moist and tender ribs

Since I see a brisket post on here, I thought I would ask for suggestions to help me out to get truly moist ribs. I think ribs have been the hardest category to do well in and maybe that’s because so many people already do it well. I recently tasted a rib from a friend of mine at a competition and my thought to myself is it tastes exactly like mine do, with the exception of how moist the rib is. That must be why I have not been able to score well in the rib category as my friend took second place out of about 90 teams that day. Am I missing something basic?

What I have been doing is to cook covered for 1 hour. The next hour I open and spritz with apple juice every 15 minutes. It could go for more than 1 hour for this stage as I am looking for the rub not to come off and for it to have good color. Once it gets to that point I foil ala Johnny Trigg method and leave the ribs wrapped for about 1 hour. Once I see the meat pulling from the bones and I can tell they are tender by pushing a tooth pick between the bones I uncover sauce and put them back on the smoker sauced with my finishing sauce. I leave them on the grill and might reduce the temperature depending on how close I am to turn ins. Most of the time I am cooking the ribs between 175 deg and 185 deg at least until sauced. It usually is around 4 hours total cook time. Last comp my ribs were tuff and I thought I over cooked them. Could it be that maybe I let them cool to the point they firmed up again because the temp dropped?
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Unread 03-11-2013, 09:02 PM   #2
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Maybe I misunderstood but you are running your cooker at 175-185???

I don't think you over cooked them, it sounds like they were undercooked. Over cooked ribs will result in fall off the bone tenderness.
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Unread 03-11-2013, 09:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speers90 View Post
Maybe I misunderstood but you are running your cooker at 175-185???
I thought the same thing initially....but i wonder if maybe he's referring to meat temp??
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Unread 03-11-2013, 09:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fornia View Post
I thought the same thing initially....but i wonder if maybe he's referring to meat temp??
I wondered that too but how the heck can you get an accurate temp on ribs?
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Unread 03-11-2013, 09:12 PM   #5
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I do.....with a toothpick. ;)
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Unread 03-11-2013, 09:13 PM   #6
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Besides the question above there is a lot of missing information. What type of cooker? What cook temp? What type of ribs? How big are the racks? How do you prep them?

A couple of observations from what we do know...

Stop spritzing! Most pits take 10 minutes or more to recover from opening the lid/door, and if you're doing that every 15 minutes your pit never has a chance to recover.

Tough ribs are not over cooked unless you've taken them to the point of being jerky. Tough ribs are generally undercooked. Overcooked ribs are usually mushy.

Just to give you a comparison, when I cook baby backs I look for racks that are 2 1/2 to 3 lbs and they cook at 260-270 for 2 1/2 hours, then get foiled and cook for 1 1/2 hours. The smaller racks will be very close to done by then and the bigger racks need a little more time. I glaze them and finish without foil if needed. St. Louis trimmer spares usually need about 30 minutes longer for about the same rack size.

To check for done either use the bend test (pick up the rack at one end and it will bend at 90 degrees and the bark will start to crack when they are done) or use the toothpick test (a toothpick between the bones will go in with little to no resistance).
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Unread 03-11-2013, 09:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fornia View Post
I do.....with a toothpick. ;)
You get a temp with a toothpick?
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Unread 03-11-2013, 09:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speers90 View Post
You get a temp with a toothpick?
Tell me you didn't get what he meant
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Unread 03-11-2013, 09:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speers90 View Post
Maybe I misunderstood but you are running your cooker at 175-185???

I don't think you over cooked them, it sounds like they were undercooked. Over cooked ribs will result in fall off the bone tenderness.

Sorry I ment 275 to 285. It was a typo.
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Unread 03-11-2013, 09:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_L View Post
Besides the question above there is a lot of missing information. What type of cooker? What cook temp? What type of ribs? How big are the racks? How do you prep them?

A couple of observations from what we do know...

Stop spritzing! Most pits take 10 minutes or more to recover from opening the lid/door, and if you're doing that every 15 minutes your pit never has a chance to recover.

Tough ribs are not over cooked unless you've taken them to the point of being jerky. Tough ribs are generally undercooked. Overcooked ribs are usually mushy.

Just to give you a comparison, when I cook baby backs I look for racks that are 2 1/2 to 3 lbs and they cook at 260-270 for 2 1/2 hours, then get foiled and cook for 1 1/2 hours. The smaller racks will be very close to done by then and the bigger racks need a little more time. I glaze them and finish without foil if needed. St. Louis trimmer spares usually need about 30 minutes longer for about the same rack size.

To check for done either use the bend test (pick up the rack at one end and it will bend at 90 degrees and the bark will start to crack when they are done) or use the toothpick test (a toothpick between the bones will go in with little to no resistance).
I am using a WSM and cooking them between 275 and 285. I usually cooking Resturant Depot ribs that do not seem to be as meaty as I like.
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Unread 03-11-2013, 09:46 PM   #11
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I cook at 275 and use restaurant depot ribs, I put my rubs on and throw them on for 4 hours and leave them alone, they are dang near perfect at 4 hours. That will vary a little with cookers, but I think Ron_L is correct, spritzing is killing you.
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Unread 03-11-2013, 09:57 PM   #12
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Our ribs go for 4 hours at about those same temps and are tender.
We're in the pit several times during that 4 hours too, but certainly not every 15 minutes. Plus our recovery time is very quick.

Letting them rest will allow them to tighten back up, but I wouldn't think they'd get tough again.


A couple of weeks ago, we did a practice cook and we were fighting the pit temps (they were running about 20 degrees cooler than what we wanted for a lot of the time). The ribs ended up not being as tender as normal and we attributed it to the temp, because we stuck with our timeline.

Are you SURE that your temps at the grate level are what you think they are?

If so, I'd tend to agree with speers90 and Ron_L. That spritz is extending the time it's going to take to tender properly.
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Unread 03-11-2013, 11:42 PM   #13
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My ribs were not like jerky, but did not have tenderness to place. I can cook longer if I plan it if spritzing is worth it.
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Unread 03-12-2013, 02:00 AM   #14
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just try to put in and leave alone..spritz any meat is a waste of time as all it does is wash the meat..cant penetrate and pit recovery as stated above...try a layer of brown or trubinado sugar after you put your main rub to protect them..try to leave the membran on, as this will help to keep moist, I have done 4 racks of ribs, 2 with membrane 2 w/o and the one with was moister. maybe pull some of the salt out of your rub, this will pull moisture out...and also pack you rib rack to make them tighter when you place on the grate..quit looking and spritzing.. .....
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Unread 03-12-2013, 06:26 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speers90 View Post
You get a temp with a toothpick?
Really? I guess this is why I rarely post. No, it is not possible for me to get a temperature with a toothpick. Not sure about others, but no, I cannot.

Got all the bases covered now I think.
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