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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 03-07-2010, 09:35 PM   #1
watertowerbbq
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Default Beginning to Get Frustrated with Ribs

I need to vent a little. I'm getting frustrated with my ribs. Last summer, I competed with a team up in Mason City in late July. It was my first time with this team and wanted to show what I could do, so on Friday night, I cooked 2 racks of spare for dinner and an "audition". They were the best darn ribs I've ever cooked. Hands down, the best ever for me. The guys I was with told me they were great.................and now that's my problem. I can't seem to get back to that moment.

I keep records of each cook making sure to write down, what temp, how long, woods, rubs, bastes, etc. I'm cooking on a WSM is a DigiQII. Cook temperature is 250º on the top rack. I've tried them with and without foil and I think the ones without the foil are slightly better.

I know that consistency comes with repetition (practice) and I've been doing my share this winter, but it seems that I'm missing something. I'm replicating the same thing between practice sessions, but I'm not able to repeat what I did that one time using the same recipe.

Today, I cooked 3 racks of St. Louis ribs on my WSM at 250º with the DigiQII. They looked really nice, but after 6 hours, they weren't quite tender enough. I did not foil any of these racks. My wife said they were good, but not perfect and I know she was right. I was afraid that if I let them go much longer, I was going to risk them drying out. In the "memorable" cook, I only cooked them for 5:15 minutes, not 6:00 hours.

Since insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome, I've decided that I'm going to increase my temp from 250º to 275º and try and cut down some of the time on the smoker. Am I crazy for doing this?

Thanks for letting me vent. Any and all advice is welcome. Thanks
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Unread 03-07-2010, 09:44 PM   #2
Hank Daddy's Barbecue
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What cooker did you use in your "audition"?
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Unread 03-07-2010, 09:48 PM   #3
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Increasing your temp will effect cooking time but I will share with you the best piece of advice I got on the circuit last season: there is no secret formula that will give perfect ribs via the same steps each time. At competition it is all about the adjustments you make. Some cooks you won't need to foil. Some cooks you get 4 hours in and they aren't tender enough so you do foil. Keep in mind not every pig is built the same thus every rack of ribs is different.
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Unread 03-07-2010, 09:51 PM   #4
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Ditto what Hank said. I coooked 2 racks of baby backs today on my WSM and was very disappointed in the outcome. Tenderness wise they were perfect but just blah in flavor. This is what makes BBQ'ing so much fun, chasing that perfect cook. :)
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Unread 03-07-2010, 10:02 PM   #5
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I am having the same issue. I believe that it is the meat that we are getting this time of year. JMO
I have cooked the past 2 weekends on both st louies and loin backs and getting varied results.
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Unread 03-07-2010, 11:17 PM   #6
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They just dont all turn out the same. We follow the same exact steps each and every time out, cooking 4-6 slabs per competition. If we can get 1 (maybe 2) racks that we think are perfect, it's a good day.

At our last competition, the first two racks we attempted to slice and box, just didnt have what we were OK with turning in. Luckily the third rack did.

I agree with Swede. You cant cook exactly the same way every time and expect the same results 100% of the time.
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Unread 03-08-2010, 07:26 AM   #7
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Matt, I think your going the wrong way. Try a temp around 230° or 235° and cook them longer. 5 to 6 hours, more if they need it.
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Unread 03-08-2010, 08:15 AM   #8
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Everyone knows you have to boil them first.
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Unread 03-08-2010, 08:42 AM   #9
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"They're done ... when they're done."
We're with Ray though, we may see 6hrs on ribs when they need it.
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Unread 03-08-2010, 09:57 AM   #10
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What is it that you aren't liking about your current ribs? Just the tenderness?
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Unread 03-08-2010, 10:00 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by watertowerbbq View Post

Since insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome, I've decided that I'm going to increase my temp from 250º to 275º and try and cut down some of the time on the smoker. Am I crazy for doing this?

Thanks for letting me vent. Any and all advice is welcome. Thanks
No, you're not insane, you're just still learning. I could not really tell after reading you post what was "different". That's something you need to learn how to taste and adjust as needed.

Keep in mind there is a BIG difference between each cook. It's a different pig. Seriously. Sounds like you're trying to cook these like a recipe, set time, set temp, set result.

What you need to learn is how to adjust in the last hour to 30 min. Knowing when to pull this isn't a time thing, it's a result thing.

One thing I would add to your notes is how much each rack weighed. Doing a 2.5 lb st. louis and a 3.5 lb st. louis can be an hour or two difference in finishing, depending on temp.
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Unread 03-08-2010, 10:23 AM   #12
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Matt, what was the size difference?
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Unread 03-08-2010, 10:37 AM   #13
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Foil is a must to get the perfect comp rib IMO, 2.5hours of smoke 1.5 hours foiled, 1 hour to set the glaze. We get good ribs almost everytime. We start our ribs at 7am
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Unread 03-08-2010, 12:33 PM   #14
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Maybe it has to do with you cooked two racks one time and three the next. Takes longer with three
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Unread 03-08-2010, 12:48 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacked UP BBQ View Post
Foil is a must to get the perfect comp rib IMO, 2.5hours of smoke 1.5 hours foiled, 1 hour to set the glaze. We get good ribs almost everytime. We start our ribs at 7am
I agree with jacked up. We pretty much do the same, however we
have it spend a little less than 2.5 hours on smoke... I guess we just
prefer it a little less smokey, personal preferences & all.
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