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Unread 04-02-2013, 09:40 PM   #1
SpaceCowboy
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Default Problem with weeping ribs technique

Been lurking on this site for a while and finally decided to post after my last disaster with ribs. Note up front that everything described below was done on a UDS with grate temp around 300-315. Probe was in the center of the grate. Temperature/wind were mild as I am located in Houston, TX.

Here goes...

I started trying pitmaster T's weeping ribs technique a couple months ago and have done about 4 smokes with progressively worse results using babybacks/spares. First set of baby backs turned out great but since then I've been having a problem where the ribs just don't seem to be fully weeping. I never hear the sizzling sound of juices dripping onto the coals that I heard the first time. Here's a description of the last 2 smokes:

2 weekends ago - 2 babybacks @ ~3lbs each fresh from grocery store. No audible indications of weep, decided to take a peek at around 4 hours just in case something happened. Ribs were somewhat weeping but were still dry in areas. Passed bend test and meat probed like butter. The ribs were almost too tender as they almost fell apart just coming off the smoker. My guess is they were overcooked somewhat? Still pretty dam tasty though.

Las weekend's disaster - Babyback(3lb) and spare (6lb) frozen for about a week or two and then thawed in the fridge for a day and a half before smoking. Never heard any signs of weeping so at 3.5 hours I decided to poke at them with a skewer through the holes in the lid. Baby back and spare both did not probe well so I figured it's just taking a while. Decided to peek at 4.5 hours when nothing seemed to be happening. Baby back... nothing. Did not pass bend or probe test which I thought was bizarre. Spare was weeping quite well over the majority of the surface so I decided to shut everything off. Pulled at around 5 hours' time and what I got was BONE DRY. Most of the baby back was inedible! I knew it was in there too long but there was never any physical indication of it being done. Spare was okay on top, however the bottom was almost charred and was very dry as well.

So all the hot and fast experts out there... What the heck is going on? Why am I not getting any weep? Is it perhaps a meat quality issue with the frozen stuff? I can't imagine I've been peeking too much considering I don't even do a thing until around 3 hours.
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Unread 04-02-2013, 09:45 PM   #2
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Quick question before you start getting replys. Have you tested the probe for accuracy?
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Unread 04-02-2013, 09:51 PM   #3
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last weeks disaster questions- what was the temperature in the smoker? did you use a pan filled with water? i recommend you get a rocky mountain smoker from weber and just fil the pan with water and use briquettes and smoke for 6 hours with two chunkds of water soaked charcoal. i have never ever had bad ribs-and i never needed a probe.

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Last edited by jacksedona; 04-02-2013 at 09:52 PM.. Reason: typo
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Unread 04-02-2013, 09:53 PM   #4
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Your dry baby backs that did not bend, they were not done. Over done ribs will always crack, unless you cook them to mummy stage.

I have found that ribs do not always weep from every pore and do not always have a wet surface. But, they should weep some as the fat and tissue break down. I would ask if you changed anything from the successful first cook, anything at all?
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Unread 04-02-2013, 09:59 PM   #5
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The weep technique was done on an offset if I remember correctly. Not sure if that makes a difference.

300-315 on a UDS and your ribs are going to be done much quicker, at least in my experience. I personally have never tried to emulate that technique. I look for the pull back on the bone and if I'm not going to wrap, its always the bend test that works.

Where are you at in Htown? Maybe we can get together and fire up the drums for a practice run sometime.
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Unread 04-02-2013, 10:14 PM   #6
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A couple more thoughts. He always cooked spares as I remember. You are mostly cooking loin backs which have a much different structure so they wouldn't weep the same anyway. The UDS doesn't have the thermal mass either which will affect the way meat cooks.

I too think you need to determine doneness with the bend test, not by time or the amount of weep.
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Unread 04-02-2013, 10:24 PM   #7
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I have used the weeping ribs method as shown by pitmastert in the uds with great success with both babybacks and spares. Sounds like you need to be more patient with the bad babybacks. As far as burnt bottoms, try less sugar on the bottom or put a deflector undr the ribs, such as a simple foil pan. It happens using a uds at those temps if you are cooking directly over the charcoal basket. As far as the overdone ribs, I would rely more on the probe test and less on the visual weeping. Some racks might not weep as much as you are used to so don't expect the same weepage everytime. This is at least what I can say from my experience.
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Unread 04-02-2013, 10:43 PM   #8
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LOL this weeping thing is funny

Stop Looking!!!!!

Try low and slow!!

Yes I know the weeping
Actually before this post I thought it was common Knowledge

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Unread 04-02-2013, 11:47 PM   #9
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Yeah.... I guess I've overemphasized the weeping part. I do attempt to use the bend test as a measure of doneness over anything else which saved me in the first case 2 weeks ago. Like I said, this last weekend's cook really mystified me because neither of the ribs really showed the usual signs i.e. bending/probing well. The baby back was definitely "mummified" like one of the posters mentioned . Could be bad karma to do this on my first post, but here's some "pr0n" for you guys lol
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Unread 04-03-2013, 12:55 AM   #10
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when I cook at 300 to 325 my ribs are done in less than 3 hours..also LOTS of turbinado on them...what are they looking like a t that time...maybe start out hot and back down 25 *
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Unread 04-03-2013, 08:10 AM   #11
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I get weeping ribs when I choose spares that have a moderate amount of fat. If ribs are too lean, what is there to weep out?
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Unread 04-03-2013, 08:22 AM   #12
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A large part of that "Weeping" sound on Donnie's ribs is due to him cooking large quantities
of meat..producing much more moisture in the cooker as they render. Cooking one or two racks is not going to produce as much moisture and as such they will dry out some before the juices hit the coals. Go back and look at Franklins video where he is cooking on a small pit. He adds a bowl of water. In the hot and fast technique the meat renders in the foil or paper. While I haven't attended a mixon class it is my understanding he has a water chamber in his cookers that he puts apple juice in.
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Unread 04-03-2013, 08:25 AM   #13
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Babyback ribs will NEVER weep as theres not enough fat to render.

The weep method really was designed for large pits cooking large amount of ribs.

You'd be better off cooking at 275 and using the bend test for doneness.
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Unread 04-03-2013, 09:20 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bbq Bubba View Post
Babyback ribs will NEVER weep as theres not enough fat to render.

The weep method really was designed for large pits cooking large amount of ribs.

You'd be better off cooking at 275 and using the bend test for doneness.
Agreed. I'll also add that people are more comfortable with some techniques than others. Hence turning out a better product with the method they're more comfortable with compared to the one they are not.

I'm more comfortable smoking ribs between 250-275.
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Unread 04-03-2013, 10:11 AM   #15
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I never have payed attention to see if my ribs weep, but when I run out of them the people eating them do.
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