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Unread 07-23-2013, 09:46 AM   #1
tbonez
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Default First rib cook was a disaster...

I cooked baby back ribs on Saturday and apparently I did my best to cook them poorly. I cooked them for three hours on 225 and then 350 for 2 hours. The ribs were extremely fatty and the meat was chewy. I completed the bend test and the bones were white. I dont think I overcooked them because they were moist but tough.

Hopefully you guys will be able to help as any advice will be greatly appreciated..

Questions:

1) Do I need to use St Louis style of ribs. The Baby backs have so much fat they are almost inedible. In the past I've gotten them from a high end butcher so I dont think its the quality of meat Im using.

2) Any recommendation for changes in the way I cook them?
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Unread 07-23-2013, 09:53 AM   #2
hachi-roku_fan
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Are those temps at grate level? I usually smoke at around 250-275 until they pass the bend test. Did you take IT temps?
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Unread 07-23-2013, 09:57 AM   #3
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Sorry to hear about your ribs. What type of cooker were you using and what were you using to gauge the temp of the unit - the built in thermometer or electric thermometer? Let us know and we can try to figure out went wrong.

My initial thought is that you over-cooked the ribs. With BB ribs, I cook at 250 for about 3 hours and they are done. I think the last 2 hours you did at 350 killed it, but I'm interested in what your equipment was.
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Unread 07-23-2013, 10:04 AM   #4
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If they were fatty and tough I think they needed more time in the cooker. The fat should render away when they're done. Before they're done, the meat will pull back on the bones but the bend test will tell you when they're done.

If you haven't eaten all of them yet, stick them in the oven at 275° until they pass the bend test and report back.

Sorry to hear they did not come out how you wanted but it is a learning process. As far as temperature goes, you cannot go by an absolute temperature because the same temperature on various cookers will produce different results. You need to learn how your equipment works. Based on what you told us, I would shoot for 250° on the next cook. And stick with the same kind of meat until you nail it (probably on your next cook.)
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Unread 07-23-2013, 10:14 AM   #5
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^^^^ +1 what Hank said above.

First off, look to the ribs themselves. Were they enhanced? Most you buy out there are, in some type of brine or another. I would highly suggest finding un-enhanced ribs.

Then, the 220 was largely a waste of time and you definitely had not gotten to the portion where the fat renders. Combine that with a cook temp of 350 where you've basically fried/seared the fat in it. FYI: spares are significantly more fatty than baby backs...

Also, like said above, when we talk cooking temperature, we're talking about the temperature ON THE SURFACE, not measured by one of the various external mounted thermometers, etc.

Try cooking in that 250-280 range next time, the whole time. On my smoker I cook BB's religiously (will cook 14 racks on Saturday), 270 degrees, I foil at the 1.5 hour mark, they're DONE DONE DONE just before or right at the 4 hour mark.

It sounds to me like yours werent done yet, and the two temperature shifts that you used insured that you had the most fatty meat possible...
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Unread 07-23-2013, 10:15 AM   #6
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Thanks guys! I have a big green egg and the dome temp (not grate temp) was 225. I calibrated my thermometer in boiling water just before the cook so I think it was accurate. The bend test I did was to bend the ribs backwards. They seem to bend fairly easily but they didnt touch all the way rib to rib.

Now you guys have me wondering if they werent all the way cooked with the amount of fat that was on them...

Thanks for the help so far.
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Unread 07-23-2013, 10:16 AM   #7
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I do my ribs 275-300 Back ribs take 3-3.5 hrs until they pass the bend test St Louies 3.5 -4 hrs, Full spates 4-4.5 hrs. I'd check my thermos if I where you. are you recording the cook temp on the grate or some where else. Grate temp is the key to good "Q"
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Unread 07-23-2013, 10:17 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake Dogs View Post
^^^^ +1 what Hank said above.

First off, look to the ribs themselves. Were they enhanced? Most you buy out there are, in some type of brine or another. I would highly suggest finding un-enhanced ribs.

Then, the 220 was largely a waste of time and you definitely had not gotten to the portion where the fat renders. Combine that with a cook temp of 350 where you've basically fried/seared the fat in it. FYI: spares are significantly more fatty than baby backs...

Also, like said above, when we talk cooking temperature, we're talking about the temperature ON THE SURFACE, not measured by one of the various external mounted thermometers, etc.

Try cooking in that 250-280 range next time, the whole time. On my smoker I cook BB's religiously (will cook 14 racks on Saturday), 270 degrees, I foil at the 1.5 hour mark, they're DONE DONE DONE just before or right at the 4 hour mark.

It sounds to me like yours werent done yet, and the two temperature shifts that you used insured that you had the most fatty meat possible...

Ughhh..I was 220 at the dome. I need to get a Maverick and figure out what I am at the surface.
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Unread 07-23-2013, 10:26 AM   #9
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The fat should render out during the cooking process. undercooked for sure. If you want to try a hybrid cook (2 temps), try starting at 250 for 1 hour to lay some smoke on the meat, then raise temp to 300ish, even as high as 325 to power though the rest of the cook. At 300, the meat will render beautifully, and you'll be left with succulent meat.

I don't believe for one second that changing temps mid cook affected the outcome, but I do believe the temp you thought you were cooking at was a lot higher than the actual cooking temp. Cooking too low n slow will get you jerky. I know, it's the opposite of what some experts say, but it's true, food will dry out more at too low of a temp due to the length of time it has to stay in the cooker to get done. More like dehydrating than cooking.

Get an el cheapo oven thermo and toss it on the grate next to the food. That is your cooking temp.
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Unread 07-23-2013, 10:32 AM   #10
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I find a lot of spares are way, way too fatty and I almost always trim bigger pieces of fat off before I cook. Also, if you remove the membrane there are lines of fat between the bones. Scrape those off with a spoon if they are too fatty.

The intramuscular fat is what really keeps your ribs moist, the outside fat doesn't do so as much. If you have a big hunk on there (usually it is on the bottom side where the smallest ribs are, the side away from the breastbone if you have a whole rack) cut it off.
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Unread 07-23-2013, 10:45 AM   #11
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Yea lost dome thermometers are useless when you're cooking. I've gotten a cheap oven thermometer and place that one the grate on my grill. My suspicions were that they were undercooked based on your description, but I didn't want to jump the gun. A lot of times you can figure out grate temps with an oven thermometer and the dome thermometer in combination. For example, if you're dome says its 250, but your oven thermometer at the grate says 275, you know your dome is off by 25 degrees. It's not always that easy but it's a cheap trick I've learned that way you don't have to lift the lid on your BGE and lose heat. I have a CharGriller, so it leaks and lifting the lid isn't as bad lol. Keep trying and don't be discouraged!! Before you know it, you'll be making some awesome que! You're off to a good start with the BGE
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Unread 07-23-2013, 11:07 AM   #12
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Really good advice in this thread..I really appreciate it! I think Im going to cook one rack at a time until I get this down. Its hard to drop $40-50 and kill the ribs.
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Unread 07-23-2013, 11:34 AM   #13
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BTW, the bend test works best with spareribs. A lot of baby backs can be fairly "bendy" well before they are done. It's best to look for the combo of the bend test and the pulling back away from the ribs of the meat.




Also......if you find anymore inedible super fatty ribs just send them my way.
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Unread 07-23-2013, 11:38 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbonez View Post
Really good advice in this thread..I really appreciate it! I think Im going to cook one rack at a time until I get this down. Its hard to drop $40-50 and kill the ribs.
Been there; done that; too many times!!!


El Ropo is dead on; a $5 WallyWorld oven thermometer on the grate is cheap and extremely effective. What you'll find is that while calibrated, your dome thermometer is X degrees higher or lower than your surface. At that time you'll be able to use it as a gauge (knowing it's actually X degrees high or low).

Either way, 220 produces leather. Get those temps somewhere from 250 to 300 (wont hurt as Ropo says to go a little over 300, but too far over and you're not rendering the fat but frying it) and let 'er rip.

You dont have to foil. It does however help in a) reducing/regulating smoke on the ribs, and b) keeping/adding moisture.


I'm also not against spares; but I do prefer babybacks. The reason that I prefer babybacks is that I hate, and I mean I HATE pork fat in ribs... Spare ribs are notoriously more fatty. Nothing wrong with that; many people prefer them for this very reason.
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Unread 07-23-2013, 11:49 AM   #15
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I cook them on my XL BGE @ 220 to 240 dome temp.
I start checking IT around 3.5 hours, give or take depending on how big the slabs are.
Once they get up to 180ish, I start the bend test every 10 to 15 minutes.

IF I have a crowd that wants "Fall off the bone", I cook them a bit longer.
I try to get mine competition, pull off "doneness" every time.

I cook mine bone side down, platesetter in, legs up and on the grate. I also use a steel drip pan on top of the plate setter. The only foil that touches my ribs are when I pull them off to let them rest.

I get a 3 packer from Sams for around $28 to $35...depending on the size/weight.

Did you pull the membrane?
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