1st timer Spare Rib Failure HELP - BBQ Central

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Old 07-22-2007, 06:46 PM   #1
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google 3-2-1 ribs
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Old 07-22-2007, 07:33 PM   #2
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Yeppers you fiddled with em too much. Slowed down the cooking with each mop and lift of the lid...plust you cooking too low to start with. Try jacking up the heat to at least about 250 and cooks em meat side down till that get done. Swapping ends a time or two be just fine to balance out the heat but dont spill any of the juice which collects in the natural depression made by the bones. You know there done when you can reach into the middle of the rack and pull different directions on adjacent bones and they want to tear loose purty easy. At this point..wrap em in foil and let them sit in an insulated hot box for at least an hour..half a day is mo betta. If you want to glaze em get the heat built back up...take em out of the foil and do it fairly quick. One flip is allowed for glazing. Only glaze one swab on each side. Mo than one swab of glaze will cuz you to lose your spices. Throw that Baby Rays straight into the trash. That is the nasty stuff I ever tasted...nearly.

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Old 07-22-2007, 07:35 PM   #3
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Rickmo,

Your cook was not that far from being an excellent adventure. The Smokin' Pit Pro runs hot across the top without mods. If I was to venture a guess, your thermometer said 250 but your grate temp was about 30 degrees lower. Get yourself a good digital thermometer (pyrex at Wal-Mart is good enough), put a cork on the probe end, and place it on the grate. Most of the recomened times are grate temps, not top of the pit temps.

Keep the lid on your cooker closed as much as possible. Do your research on the 3-2-1- method and use foil to your advantage.

Good luck on your next cook. I'll bet you get the results you want.

Good Q!

Jack
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Old 07-22-2007, 07:44 PM   #4
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Sounds like you are getting some good advice...I have a small offset and Jacks right...there is a 20-30* difference between the dome and the grate temp....You can go at 250* dome but the ribs will take a longer to cook.
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Old 07-22-2007, 07:58 PM   #5
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Your on the right start just quit looking as already started. I like doing a version on the 3-2-1. 4 hours in the smoke, 45 minutes in foil, the rest out of the foil. I'm really not a fan of falling off the bone ribs. I like a little tug off the bone. I also like smoking them without foil until their done...for me about 7 hours...and looking maybe once. I like glazing with Texas Pepper jelly (pineapple) the last 20 to 30 minutes.

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Old 07-22-2007, 08:12 PM   #6
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Rick,

Welcome.

I'm with all the other guys. The first rule of barbecue is NO PEEKING and not only because you lose heat and lengthen the cooking process but because you lose humidity and dry the meat out. Small offsets like yours are especially sensitive. A good rule is to keep the cook chamber door closed at all times during the first (and most critical) half of the cook.

More specifically -- when it comes to 3 2 1 ribs, you shouldn't have to mop or spritz at all. Slather, dry rub and 3 hours at 225 uncovered. Remove from the cooker and get the door closed; wrap in foil with a little "mop," beer, juice or other liquid of your taste, and replace in the cooker for 2 hours at 225; open the foil and fold back the edges so the ribs are uncovered on top, but sitting in a foil pan, brush with sauce, and let finish for 1 hour at 225. Remove from the cooker, wrap again in the foil and let rest for at least fifteen minutes. The meat should be very tender -- if not quite falling off the bone.

For "fall off the bone" ribs cook for 3 hours uncovered, foil for 3 hours, and sauce and uncover for 15 minutes only. Remove from the cooker, wrap, and let rest. In other words, the more time the ribs spend wrapped in foil and braising (as opposed to uncovered and barbecuing), the more tender they'll be.

As you barbecue more often and become a little more sophisticated in your tastes, it's very likely you'll find that "fall off the bone" changes to "sack of mush" in your mind. Most of us prefer a little tug to our meat.

The 3 2 1 method requires you to keep a fairly steady 225. You definitely don't want to go below 210 or over 265 in the chamber (generally true for pork), and you'll have to compensate by adding or subtracting time for any major deviation from 225.

The first few months of barbecuing are more about making the basic modifications to the pit, learning to build a steady fire, and learning to keep your nose out of the cooking chamber than anything else.

Here's a link to the basic mods: http://www.homebbq.com/library/SmokerModifications.pdf The file also has some advice about fire building and charcoal baskets. The file is the "Big Dan" classic and most of the recommendations are gospel. Just my 2 cents, but:
a)Don't worry about lump vs briquette. Use either a good lump (not Cowboy!), or a very good briquette such as Rancher (from Home Depot). Kingsford, Royal Oak (briquette) are adequate but not very good. Low temps and too much ash.
b) Get or make yourself a basket ASAP.
c) Whether basket or free in the firebox, build your fires "Minion Method."
d) Don't worry about moving the thermometer hole. Get yourself a dual-probe, wireless, remote-read digital. Specifically a Maverick ET-73.

FWIW, I don't use the 3 2 1 method, or for that matter foil my ribs at all. But, foiling is the surest method, best for beginners, and you should definitely do it. When you're satisfied that you've got ribs under control, but want better texture, you'll be ready to move on. Next year, maybe.

Small offsets such as yours (mine too!) are very sensitive to the quality, quantity, and time of smoke wood used. For almost everything, it's a good idea to discontinue adding chips or chunk after the first (predicted) half of a cook.

In barbecuing tests for doneness are NEVER made with a clock. A clock will tell you something about yourself (on time -- happy; late -- unhappy, miserable if you're married; early -- ambivalent), but nothing about whether meat is cooked. Even a thermometer isn't much help with ribs, because it's hard to get accurate readings when too close to a bone.

The best tests are visual and tactile. Visually, rib meat should draw back from the ends of the bone, by at least 1/2" on the long side. Meat should tear from the edges and (what's left of the) skirt easily. Bones should have at least a little twist in their sockets. The most revealing rib test is the "bend" or flex test. Using tongs (or asbestos fingers if you're an idiot like me), pick up the slab from the center. When (and not until) the ends point to your shoes the ribs are done.

It's a good idea to plan for an early finish. Whether planned or unplanned, if the meat is cooked early, remove it from the cooker, make sure it's well wrapped (I prefer saran wrap, but since you're working with foil stick with it), and set the ribs aside somewhere draft free (if holding more than a couple of hours, store in a foam cooler packed with newspaper or the kitchen oven, preheated to 200 and thermostat turned to off when the ribs go in-- don't worry about the saran, it will be fine). This resting period is part of the cooking process, it will make the ribs taste juicier. 20 minutes before service, unwrap the ribs, brush with sauce, and return to a hot (250 - 275 if possible) cooker; or unwrap the ribs, and using direct heat, run them over a medium-low grill (lowest gas setting or at least an 8 count with charcoal) for five minutes per side, then sauce and allow another five minutes per side. In either case, you're trying only to warm the ribs through and glaze the sauce -- but not further cook the ribs, and DEFINITELY NOT BURN the sauce.

The grill finish is particularly nice, leaving a glaze with a food-stylist's touch of scorch. Also it will scorch off any membrane you left during prep. But, it's problematic if the ribs are already cooked so tender they want to fall apart if you handle them. Another reason to stop short of "fall off the bone."

Hope this is of some service,
Rich
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Old 07-22-2007, 10:44 PM   #7
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Re: Huge Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by rickmo
Gotta thank all of you for the advice. Going to the butcher this Wednesday for a couple more racks of what I am sure will be better ribs (thanks to all of you)!!

You got me on the peeking!

I will be buying more beer this time to occupy my time so I will be less inclined to open the lid.

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Old 07-22-2007, 11:44 PM   #8
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Those are some great mods that Rich linked to. Worked great even in a chargriller.
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Old 07-23-2007, 08:17 AM   #9
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and Rick the more you cook...the better you will know your pit.....and will be able to use the hot spots and cooler spots to your advantage...
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Old 07-23-2007, 01:44 PM   #10
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Just my .02 .... I like my ribs with a texture (Clean nice bite of meat to the bone, and the rest of the meat stays). For Spares, I figure on 5 hours at 265 (at most) with no foil. The only time I lift the lid on the WSM is to take progress pics.

Of course it depends on HOW BIG the ribs were, how many, and how they were prepared. Did you do a St Louis trim? That'll shorten the time for sure.
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Old 07-30-2007, 08:14 PM   #11
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I agree with DevilsChariot on the falling off the bone being over done. When you can take a bit and that meat pulls clean;y from the bone that is the perfect doneness...my wife will disagree, but she ain't cooking.

I agree with Boar d laize on the bend test. It is the only way I check ribs now for being done. I use a pair of tongs pick them up at the end of the rack and when they bend in the middle to almost a 90º angle and they look like they are going to rip apart, they are done; the best test I have found.
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Old 07-31-2007, 01:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce B
I agree with Boar d laize on the bend test. It is the only way I check ribs now for being done. I use a pair of tongs pick them up at the end of the rack and when they bend in the middle to almost a 90º angle and they look like they are going to rip apart, they are done; the best test I have found.
When I was cooking for family earlier this week, that's how the ribs were when I took them off. Just right.

--John
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Old 07-31-2007, 06:46 PM   #13
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Throw that Baby Rays straight into the trash. That is the nasty stuff I ever tasted...nearly.

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Hey! I like Sweet Baby Ray's!
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Old 07-31-2007, 09:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigwheel
Throw that Baby Rays straight into the trash. That is the nasty stuff I ever tasted...nearly.

bigwheel
I like it also!
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