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Unread 07-20-2010, 02:55 PM   #1
Dave Russell
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Default High heat ribs: why dry?

Hi all. I had a little surprise with a little wsm st. louis spare cook for lunch.

I wouldn't think that a 2.75 lb. st. louis slab would dry out like this, but here's how:

Smoked for 1.5 hr, foiled for 45 minutes, glazed for 15 minute more, for a total of 2.5 hours all at 300-325. Water in the pan since I'm into pit humidity and it was one little lonely slab.

Overall, the rack's tenderness was about right: not falling off the bone, but tender and pulling easy and clean off. However, one end was curiously overdone, the thicker end, surprisingly. One of the bones actually fell out when I pulled out of the foil. Anyway, the surprise was how dry....not mushy like my previous foil attempts, but visibly dry in the cuts. (I know, sorry, no pics.) I rubbed with blues hog, and foiled with ample blues hog, butter, and apple juice mixture.....then glazed with bh, and if you like a sweet rib, this is for you...it was way too sweet for me.

Did I just cook too long, or do you ever just end up with some spares that don't have much fat to render? I thought these high heat cooks were more forgiving in terms of moisture. What gives?

Thanks for any feedback!
Dave
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Unread 07-20-2010, 03:02 PM   #2
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not sure what you cooked on or if you fliped or rotated the rack, but could one side of your cooker be much hotter than the other?
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Unread 07-20-2010, 03:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardF View Post
not sure what you cooked on or if you fliped or rotated the rack, but could one side of your cooker be much hotter than the other?
WSM perhaps? In the first line.
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Unread 07-20-2010, 03:12 PM   #4
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Not sure what could have happened. Was the dry end all the way out to the edge of the grate? I have ended up with some really charred ends if you get the meat past the edge of the water pan in the WSM.
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Unread 07-20-2010, 03:20 PM   #5
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Cherokee Yacht Club.
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Unread 07-20-2010, 03:40 PM   #6
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Really, there was no appreciable difference in the level of moisture for the entire slab....just dry.

They were layed flat bone down until foiling on the top rack of the wsm, and flipped and swapped end for end upon foiling.

I started the cook by pouring in chimney lit K inside a large bottomless coffee can in the middle of a 1/2 full ring of K. After the cook and removing the pan, I noticed that the charcoal had burned pretty uniformly.
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Unread 07-20-2010, 04:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barbefunkoramaque View Post
Cherokee Yacht Club.
So what's your guess? The ribs weren't foiled to mushiness.

If "something (one thing?) of some specific nature going generally wrong somewhere" was the the culprit, is it my general propensity to cook ribs too long, despite only 2.5 instead of my usual 6 hrs?

....OR, was this a anorexic pig that just had no marbling? BTW, it did have some fat on the outside of the slab, and looked pretty average to me, but I'm no expert for sure.

Maybe if I'd smoked more than one slab I wouldn't be as tempted to put blame on the meat. I never have before.
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Unread 07-20-2010, 04:24 PM   #8
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It could be a bad rack. But, the fact that the bone fell out suggests to me, uneven overdone rack.
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Unread 07-20-2010, 05:38 PM   #9
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Would any of you hi temp rib cooks consider what I described as highly unusual from your own experience?
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Unread 07-20-2010, 05:47 PM   #10
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I do not foil for ribs, especially at high heat, as ribs go from almost perfect to over done in a flash at higher heats, add foil and it is too fast for me. Although foiling can add more moisture to properly cooked meats, if you overcook, you end up forcing moisture out of the meat at a cellular level, resulting in dry ribs, despite their being poached.
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Unread 07-20-2010, 06:03 PM   #11
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I never cooked on a wsm, but I think your problem is a result of direct heat. High temp cooks don't work as well on a uds or wsm like they do on an offset. In my opinion.
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Unread 07-20-2010, 06:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by landarc View Post
I do not foil for ribs, especially at high heat, as ribs go from almost perfect to over done in a flash at higher heats, add foil and it is too fast for me. Although foiling can add more moisture to properly cooked meats, if you overcook, you end up forcing moisture out of the meat at a cellular level, resulting in dry ribs, despite their being poached.
Yeah, I think what you describe is probably exactly what happened. I just thought I'd try it, but no, I don't think I'll start foiling. I'm usually cooking enough slabs to fill the thing up...so it would be too much trouble, anyway.

Thanks!
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Unread 07-20-2010, 06:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Dave View Post
I never cooked on a wsm, but I think your problem is a result of direct heat. High temp cooks don't work as well on a uds or wsm like they do on an offset. In my opinion.
No direct heat, as I did have a pan in place, even water in it.

However, I do agree that the bottom grate past the edge of the pan is no place for ribs or chicken on a high temp cook. I think half slabs, or rolling and skewering is the way to go down on the bottom rack.

As for a uds, I'd recommend a deflector of some sort for anyone cooking ribs over 250 unless they plan on turning them ever so often.

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Unread 07-22-2010, 02:34 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by landarc View Post
I do not foil for ribs, especially at high heat, as ribs go from almost perfect to over done in a flash at higher heats, add foil and it is too fast for me. Although foiling can add more moisture to properly cooked meats, if you overcook, you end up forcing moisture out of the meat at a cellular level, resulting in dry ribs, despite their being poached.
I've never cooked ribs over 300 but do cook approaching 275 in a 22 WSM and at those medium temps (typically no foil needed) foiling any longer than a 1/2 hour overcooks! 3 1/2 hrs average for St. Louis, 4 hrs max for the stubborn ones.

I think many forget that no matter what the cooker temp once you foil your now cooking at much higher heat. Also amazed at how many don't realize there is a shiny side and a dull side to alum foil.
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Unread 07-22-2010, 08:52 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokesman View Post
I've never cooked ribs over 300 but do cook approaching 275 in a 22 WSM and at those medium temps (typically no foil needed) foiling any longer than a 1/2 hour overcooks! 3 1/2 hrs average for St. Louis, 4 hrs max for the stubborn ones.

I think many forget that no matter what the cooker temp once you foil your now cooking at much higher heat. Also amazed at how many don't realize there is a shiny side and a dull side to alum foil.
Thanks a bunch, Smokesman!

I noticed on the big wsm refueling thread where you mentioned you cook butts and briskets at 275, too. Do you mean grate temp, vent temp, or gauge temp, and what would you suggest for me? On my little wsm, if I have much meat on, it's hard to get a grate temp, and the gauge gets stuck, so that's out. I measure temp with a Maverick probe hanging in the top vent and not only did I find out how quick ribs can cook, but yesterday, I found out how fast butts cook darken when cooking over 275. No more of that hi heat stuff for me, more medium heat of 250-275.

Thanks again.
Dave
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