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View Full Version : Bland Spare Ribs (w/ pr0n)


hogs122
12-13-2015, 06:51 PM
Brethren,

I'm never happy with my ribs. To me, they're always just okay. I've got the tenderness down, but they just seem to lack the flavor I want. I can't really pinpoint what they're missing. What say you, brethren? What's your trick for great ribs?

Today's cook was a 5 pound rack of st louis cut spares. Cooked at 250 on my UDS with cherry chunks. Rubbed down with a moderate coat of Oakridge Secret Weapon and a light coat of Oakridge Dominator. (Note: It's not the rub's fault. I love both rubs on other pork that I smoke)

http://i1200.photobucket.com/albums/bb327/hogs1022/a248545a-c958-4582-8fff-8a04b0a1afb7_zps6txeb9ca.jpg (http://s1200.photobucket.com/user/hogs1022/media/a248545a-c958-4582-8fff-8a04b0a1afb7_zps6txeb9ca.jpg.html)

After 4.5ish hours, I glazed with a 50 50 mix of Blues Hog Original and Blues Hog Smokey Mountain.

http://i1200.photobucket.com/albums/bb327/hogs1022/b5dcfa73-d122-414a-ab27-f18f0623acd8_zpsehkxsczf.jpg (http://s1200.photobucket.com/user/hogs1022/media/b5dcfa73-d122-414a-ab27-f18f0623acd8_zpsehkxsczf.jpg.html)

http://i1200.photobucket.com/albums/bb327/hogs1022/IMG_2099_zpsvgc76izd.jpg (http://s1200.photobucket.com/user/hogs1022/media/IMG_2099_zpsvgc76izd.jpg.html)

Fwismoker
12-13-2015, 06:56 PM
Flavor comes from the meat itself, the smoke, the seasoning etc.. but much of it also comes from maillard reaction and caramelization. If you gave it a little direct heat or at least more time down on a hot cooking grate the ribs will develop more of a flavorful bark. Try it and practice to get the affect to your liking.

Bludawg
12-13-2015, 06:57 PM
They look pretty delicious to me. I slather mine with Valentinas hot sauce then K salt course black pepper and a little bit of sugar. They are lip smackin good, I know the ribs I cooked at the Tx bash didn't last 10 min.

mike-cleveland
12-13-2015, 07:08 PM
Maybe need a little acid to cut the fat. Fat coats the tongue and can produce a bland affect. Vinegar/acid balances that out.

Jason TQ
12-13-2015, 07:11 PM
Dang they look good. Not sure exactly what could be your culprit. Have your tried more rub? For me at home just some rub, smoke and a little sauce always tastes great.

Blownmope
12-13-2015, 07:13 PM
What are you mopping with? also finish the sauce on a hot grill or use a torch to caramalize the sauce.

Fwismoker
12-13-2015, 07:18 PM
What are you mopping with? also finish the sauce on a hot grill or use a torch to caramalize the sauce.
This...BUT if you don't mop it isn't necessary to have a caramelized rub. Even if you cook with no sugars the natural sugars will caramelize but you'd have to alter your cooking style.

People associate "pretty" ribs with great flavor and that's not necessarily the case.

Mdboatbum
12-13-2015, 07:21 PM
I had the same problem. Finally figured it was un rendered fat muting all the other flavors. Tried adding ginger to my rub and it helped a little. Then started smoking at 275° and it helped a lot. Finally settled in on 300°, no foil and taking them to 180°it. Then let them rest at least a half hour. The texture is spot on and the flavor is very punchy.

hogs122
12-13-2015, 07:27 PM
If you gave it a little direct heat or at least more time down on a hot cooking grate the ribs will develop more of a flavorful bark.

I haven't tried cooking meat side down on the grate to get more of the sizzled fat flavor. I may give that a try next time.

I slather mine with Valentinas hot sauce then K salt course black pepper and a little bit of sugar.

Good idea on slathering with hot sauce. Definitely going to try that sometime soon.

Maybe need a little acid to cut the fat. Fat coats the tongue and can produce a bland affect. Vinegar/acid balances that out.
What are you mopping with? also finish the sauce on a hot grill or use a torch to caramalize the sauce.

I think you guys are onto something here. Adding a little vinegar to a spritz, mop, or finishing sauce might be the ticket.

Dang they look good. Not sure exactly what could be your culprit. Have your tried more rub? For me at home just some rub, smoke and a little sauce always tastes great.

I've tried more rub, yes. Thinking out loud here, I may hit the bare meat sides with a bit of rub after cutting to give it a little more punch.

cheez59
12-13-2015, 07:43 PM
My ribs recipe is almost the same as yours. Same rub and same sauce. The difference and it is a big one is that I use mostly hickory chunks and occasionally some apple and lots of it. I have tried cherry on several different meats and just got ho hum flavor.

doug93003
12-13-2015, 07:54 PM
Hickory and pork ribs is the best IMO. As previously mentioned, I never bother foiling any more. I don't like the texture and it does make them blander.

Okie Sawbones
12-13-2015, 08:32 PM
How long are you leaving the rub on prior to cooking? I leave the rub on a minimum of one hour, and often four hours, which works for my palate. This allows the salt to penetrate the meat, assuming you have salt in your rub. If not, dry brine an hour ahead of time, then apply your rub.

Decoy205
12-13-2015, 08:53 PM
My ribs recipe is almost the same as yours. Same rub and same sauce. The difference and it is a big one is that I use mostly hickory chunks and occasionally some apple and lots of it. I have tried cherry on several different meats and just got ho hum flavor.

I'm thinking that might be it. Most people combine cherry with another wood to give more flavor and the cherry gives the nice color. Like cheez I really like hickory on pork. Do half hickory or apple and half cherry.

Also I love Bludawg style savory ribs. The Valentina hot sauce slather works great.

bbqlearner
12-13-2015, 09:53 PM
Dont know if it makes a difference but I always used mustard before putting on rub. And, I added layer of turbinado sugar after the rub. My dry rub is different (dizzy pig dizzy dust) but my sauce is the same - Blues Hog with little butter mixed in. Oh and I used pecan for the wood flavor.

Bluebyyou
12-13-2015, 10:03 PM
Have you tried buying your ribs from a different place? I have two different supermarkets in my area and the ribs are distinctly different. To me, it sounds like you got a load of flavor going on between the rub and glaze so it's hard to imagine they Are bland. Check meat quality.
Some time after noticing the difference in meat quality, I discovered that some local supermarkets have certain order of choice of meats from their major suppliers. Turns out that the supermarket that I like the ribs from, get first pick and the one was not so great, get 2nd and 3rd choice from local suppliers.

bbqlearner
12-13-2015, 10:07 PM
And oh forgot to ask for the blandness, are you lacking smoke flavor/profile or lacking flavor from the rub?

SmittyJonz
12-13-2015, 10:52 PM
Lighten up on the Beer as you cook................. ? Or maybe drink more Beer as they cook .......... ? I've always thought pigs should be fed nuttin but Skittles the last two weeks..........:heh:

KC Smoke
12-14-2015, 02:41 AM
Here's another vote for vinegar. Considering the sweetness of so many rubs and sauces I think acid is imperative to the balance of the overall.

captjoe06
12-14-2015, 05:09 AM
Hickory and pork ribs is the best IMO. As previously mentioned, I never bother foiling any more. I don't like the texture and it does make them blander.
I was feeling the same way and had actually sworn off foiling but have come around to foiling for an hour or so at the end and then mopping and finishing over hot coals after I unwrap them to reestablish the firmness and caramelizing of the bark/sauce.
It's been producing great results.
That's done on a kettle though so if you're using a smoker you'd need to finish them on something else.

pjtexas1
12-14-2015, 06:10 AM
They look pretty delicious to me. I slather mine with Valentinas hot sauce then K salt course black pepper and a little bit of sugar. They are lip smackin good, I know the ribs I cooked at the Tx bash didn't last 10 min.

Yep! Those didn't last and we were pacing ourselves for a whole day of eating. They were cooked using post oak and hickory. I also find that 300 and no wrapping works pretty good for ribs.

bam
12-14-2015, 06:46 AM
Crank up the temp 275 + add a couple chunks of pecan.

hogs122
12-14-2015, 07:58 AM
Thanks for the feedback, all. I think a couple of chunks of hickory and a little vinegar will do the trick.

Fwismoker
12-14-2015, 08:46 AM
Thanks for the feedback, all. I think a couple of chunks of hickory and a little vinegar will do the trick. Ummm I think you forgot about the letting your rub/sauce caramelize a little bit part.

hogs122
12-14-2015, 09:34 AM
Ummm I think you forgot about the letting your rub/sauce caramelize a little bit part.

I didn't forget. Just scared of the final product if I make all of those changes at once :becky:

Fwismoker
12-14-2015, 10:04 AM
I didn't forget. Just scared of the final product if I make all of those changes at once :becky: Ribs or any meat K.I.S.S. People over complicate things imo.

BigBellyBBQ
12-14-2015, 11:22 AM
go back to basics first, salt-pepper-onion-garlic for a rub sprinkle lots of brown sugar, smoke around 275 when done to your tenderness, then use your sauce and set it at 225 for a 1/2 hour. If you want to baste, just use apple cider and vinegar before the sauce. you will find it...takes time and when lost go back to simplicity

SmokinJohn
12-14-2015, 01:37 PM
They look good from here. The only way I could give an honest, informed opinion is for you to send me a few bones for my own tasting....

It sounds like you have a lot going on between the wood mix and rub and glaze and finish.

I would go back to the basics, and once I liked the product, add the next item and re-taste. keep it up until you get it nailed.

Enrico Brandizzi
12-14-2015, 02:19 PM
I got a huge taste help adding powdered rub back and meat side sprinkling it just after they come off the grill. 2 minutes later I apply sauce and slice the ribs.
Taste is super powerful.

landarc
12-14-2015, 02:32 PM
Are you seasoning the bottom of the meat? Assuming you eat ribs like most of us, the bottom of the meat hits your tongue first.

Fwismoker
12-14-2015, 02:38 PM
Hogs here's a link that might be of use for you. Basically it's just of some of the science of maillard reaction and caramelization. This is real good info, these are terms we often hear but aren't very well understood. Cooking methods, temps, length of time at those temps all go into it.

By braising too much (foiling) the meat is missing out on some of the extra flavor compounds that could be forming on the meat. The minute ribs go from the grill to the foil cocoon it largely stops the maillard reaction. IMO too much emphasis is put on rubs and sauces ...so much other flavor is missed out on. BBQ sauces and glazes should be like the proverbial icing on the cake!

http://amazingribs.com/tips_and_technique/maillard_reaction_and_caramelization.html

jwtseng
12-14-2015, 05:57 PM
I never pinpointed the possible reason until I read this thread, but ever since I started spritzing my ribs with apple cider vinegar I've noticed an improvement in flavor. Fat is definitely flavor, but when the tastebuds are overwhelmed with fatty flavor the vinegar must cut through it and provide some more high notes. Thx all!

Randy3269
12-14-2015, 07:20 PM
I struggled with this for awhile. My problem was not enough salt. Ribs seem to need more salt than most cuts. Switching to Kosher salt really helped me. Put on more than you think you need and give that a shot. I can't say that I ever ate a rib that was too salty.

Just my .02
Randy