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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 06-01-2018, 07:42 AM   #1
JohnH12
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Unhappy Full Spares

I know that most trim their spares to Saint Louis cut or by them that way but I still want to get full, untrimmed spare down pat.
Cooking on a Lang 60 that likes to run at about 275 to 300.
I normally just S&P and go for it but haven't nailed it yet.
This time I got some Bad Byron's Butt Rub to try on one rack.
Any suggestions on varying my cook to end up with some juicy full spares?
No competition, just backyard goodness is what I want.
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Old 06-01-2018, 08:04 AM   #2
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I run spares on my Lang at about the same temp. I don't wrap, but I do trim them to STL style and cook the ends separately. I generally run them about 4 hours naked and then sauce, then go another 20-30 to set the sauce.

I do use Oakridge Dominator Rib Rub, which I do think adds to the overall flavor and appearance.....
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Old 06-01-2018, 08:36 AM   #3
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Thanks. I just checked and actually have one rack each of full spares and STL cut.
I prefer the naked route and may try some Sweet Baby Ray's Sweet-n-Spicy sauce on one of them since that's what I have on hand.
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Old 06-01-2018, 09:18 AM   #4
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I like to cook spares whole too , with no sauce.

I normally go about 250 for 4 hours sometimes longer.
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Old 06-01-2018, 09:31 AM   #5
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Full spares are not much, if any, different than St. Louis cut. You just have to watch the untrimmed edges of the full spares. At your temperature range you might want to wrap when your color gets right, or when you see the thin edges drying out too much. I always smoke my spares an hour and then start spritzing every half-hour with 50/50 ACV/Water. Ribs are the only thing I spritz, but I do like the results I get from it. What is in the bottle is probably inconsequential. I try to limit the time in the foil if/when I wrap. Normally an hour is enough to get them tender. If you don't go beyond "just tender", you typically don't need to put them back on the pit to firm them up. Firming up is usually required AFTER you have ruined them in the foil...don't ruin them in the foil, and that step isn't necessary.
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Old 06-01-2018, 09:44 AM   #6
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I prefer untrimmed spares. Pull the membrane, onto my kettle, unwrapped, at around 250 for 4 hours before I check to see if a toothpick goes in and out smoothly.
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Old 06-01-2018, 10:00 AM   #7
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You didn’t mention what you are doing other than temp or what you want to improve as far as results. That makes it hard for us to help. That said...

I do ribs is the Lang naked with a Memphis style dry rub. Sauce is only for ribs you screwed up. Ribs never ever get wrapped. The only exception is if you have leftovers they get wrapped before going in the fridge until late night snack and or breakfast time.

I usually cook them more toward 250-275 although 300 shouldn’t kill them. The Lang is not a UDS that “likes” any particular temperature range. You should be able to run it where YOU want anywhere from 175 to 500+.

The time to cook is going to depend on temperature and how you like them. Obviously fall of the bone takes longer than firm and chewy. Check texture to know when they are ready, internal temp measurements will steer you wrong.

Ribs have a lot of surface area and stick burners have a lot of airflow, so they can dry out on a longer cook if you just toss them in, and run the fire with all air vents full open.

There are a lot of options to keep them moist with varying levels of effectiveness and impact on the ribs. I generally slow the air flow by dialing back the intake vents some. Definitely NOT enough to cause the fire to smolder though. You want enough air for a clean burn plus a little more. Less excess air will mean more heat retained for the same amount of fire, so adjust accordingly.

I also baste ribs with some sort of fat/oil, usually just an oil, but if you have a vat of warm seasoned lard handy, by all means use it. Water/juice/vinegar based spritzes are OK as well but I like the results with a fat based approach better. Note that applying liquid and the evaporative cooling that follows will add to the cook time.

You can also try keeping the air moist by adding steam. Put some apple juice (or water) in a cast iron pot in the firebox to boil off, or if you can adjust the tilt, maybe right on the RF plate. The energy absorbed in boiling the liquid will cool your temps or require you add more fuel, but the steamy environment will increase the heat transfer to the meat and reduce evaporation of juices from the meat. I don’t always do this, but it does work.
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Old 06-01-2018, 11:35 AM   #8
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All good advice.
I'm using the Bad Byron's for the first time and as usual, spritzing with apple cider vinegar.
My ribs in the past just haven't been "right". Either too much spice or too dry.
The Lang is running now at about 275 and I'm using some cherry and hickory for the wood. I normally use the cherry for the first half of the cook and then go to all hickory or maybe some oak.
I plan to pull them at about 195 IT or when they look right and bend as they should.
Thanks to all for the tips. I'll let you know the results.
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Old 06-01-2018, 12:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH12 View Post
All good advice.
I'm using the Bad Byron's for the first time and as usual, spritzing with apple cider vinegar.
My ribs in the past just haven't been "right". Either too much spice or too dry.
The Lang is running now at about 275 and I'm using some cherry and hickory for the wood. I normally use the cherry for the first half of the cook and then go to all hickory or maybe some oak.
I plan to pull them at about 195 IT or when they look right and bend as they should.
Thanks to all for the tips. I'll let you know the results.
It's hard to do ribs by temp, because the meat is so close to the bone that getting an accurate temp is iffy. For untrimmed spares, the bend test results in fall off the bone ribs, for me. The ones in the pic above would have never bent till they fell apart. Toothpick test never fails. Stick a toothpick in a jar of peanut butter, that's the sensation you are looking for.
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Old 06-01-2018, 12:58 PM   #10
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Yep, forget trying to do ribs by meat temp. It is a recipe for frustration. Your goal is to cook them until they are at the desired texture, so what you should check is the texture. Meat temp is irrelevant.
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Old 06-01-2018, 01:49 PM   #11
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When cooking full spares whole especially at higher temps 275+ the ends can get over done. If you want full proof whole spares cook on the grate for 2 hours then wrap in foil or place in a hotel pan covered with foil till tender a couple of more hours. Then enjoy or unwrap and cook additional 20+ minutes if you want to sauce or tighten up. If you want to cook unwrapped and ensure the tips don't dry out then remove tips and cook separately.
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Old 06-02-2018, 06:53 AM   #12
JohnH12
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To close this I first want to thank all that offered suggestions.
I pulled both racks when they looked good and bent as they should. No toothpicks were harmed in the process.
I foil wrapped and put in the oven at 170 , the lowest mine will go, to wait for dinner.
The cooked texture was good although maybe a bit too loose on the bone.
The only negative was the salty taste, probably from the Butt Rub. I don't remember looking for salt on the labels but assume they had some since they were typical Walmart spares.
I think I've got the technique down now and just have to work on the rub. I'll probably go back to my basic SPOG but with a little less salt.
Again, thanks to all on this forum.
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Old 06-02-2018, 07:08 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH12 View Post
The cooked texture was good although maybe a bit too loose on the bone.
I was never happy with whole spares because when the ribs were done, the tips were still tough. I suppose if you cook long enough to tenderize the tips, the ribs would be more cooked than i like.

I've been happier trimming them St Louis style. I save the tips for making chili.
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Old 06-02-2018, 09:21 AM   #14
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I was going to add that you should use the BBBR sparingly because of the saltiness but it looks like I was too late and you already found that out for yourself.
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Old 06-02-2018, 09:39 AM   #15
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I hear alot of folks say that Butt Rub is heavy on salt. So yeah, take that into consideration when cooking ribs or other "thin" meats. You can still use it, but use less or dilute it out with other spices/fillers.

As to the SPOG (or any variant of the SP combination), as you said, use less salt. My normal mix for big meat is 1:1 for the S:P. When I do ribs I will reduce the salt by half and go .5:1 for the S:P. You can probably keep the OG in your usual ratio. I normally just use G, but I sprinkle it over the top separately.
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