2nd smoke of babybacks not as great as first, have some questions......

Discussion in 'Pork' started by smoking602, Sep 20, 2014.

  1. smoking602

    smoking602 Newbie

    Hello everyone,

    Been reading this and really any smoking related articles for the past 2 weeks after I purchased my first smoker(Masterbuilt electric pro 30") I did my first smoke last weekend with 3 racks of baby back ribs and they came out AMAZING!!! I was blown away at how great they came out, I was not expecting it to be so good on my first round. No smoke ring but they were extremely tender and would pull off the bone with a simple tug:) after that I did a whole chicken the next day and that came out equally amazing, so good that my buddy is buying his first smoker this next week LOL.  Long story short I am completely HOOKED and already bought a freezer and filled it up with some goodies that I want to try out. This weekend was my second attempt at smoking baby backs and the results were .... not great, they were pretty dry and also harder to remove from the bone, I did mix up some variables in the process and I wanted to see if someone could help me pin point where I screwed up. Normally I hate changing so many variables when trying things but I thought what the hell, I am learning lol  So please see my two smokes listed below for baby backs and if you can please provide feedback

    1st smoke: 3 Racks of baby backs bought at Sam's club: 2-2-1 Method, Weber BBQ dry rub found at sams. Process: Bought rack of ribs from Sam's, came home and removed membrane, rinsed with water and patted dry.  Rubbed in mustard then applied heavy amount of dry rub, let it sit in dry rub for 15 minutes then after that I loaded them into my pre-heated smoker set at 225, pulled out after 2 hours and sprayed apple juice on them then wrapped in aluminum foil and put them back in.  Pulled out wrapped baby backs after 2 hours; unwrapped them and mopped them in sweet baby rays BBQ sauce and put back in for final hour.  Pulled them out after the last hour and let rest for 15. The smoker had the vent fully open the entire time, used only hickory chips

    2nd smoke: 3 Racks of baby backs bought at Fry's: 3-2-1 Method, Killer hobs BBQ dry rub, Process: Bought rack of ribs from Frys, came home, removed membrane; rinsed and then after rinse applied dry rub, put them in a sealed container and let them sit in the fridge overnight(10 hours) Woke up next morning at 6am, rinsed them off with water and patted dry, rubbed mustard all over them and used killer hogs bbq rub covering all the ribs, used a smaller amount of seasoning, it was completely covered just not caked on like on the first smoke.  After the dry rub i placed them in a pre-heated smoker @ 225 meat side up.  Two hours later I got some aluminum foil and smeared some butter on it the size of the rib, added brown sugar and used that to wrap up the ribs, before I wrapped them i sprayed apple juice on them. Put wrapped ribs meat side down and let sit for 2 hours.  After waiting 2 hours I unwrapped the ribs and placed them back in the smoker meat side up NO mopping of bbq sauce this time.  I pulled out the ribs once the final hour was complete, did a toothpick test and one rack was fine but others seems to not give as much but I pulled them out anyways, the temp of the meat was 180, let ribs rest for 15.  The smoker had the vent halfway open the entire time and used a mix of jack daniels/hickory chips

    So can anyone pinpoint what the heck happened on the second smoke? I figured adding the butter/brown and letting them sit in dry rub over night would of gave a great taste :( No smoke ring on either smoke either, was it the meat? the longer cook time?
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2014
  2. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    602 , hello . I'm not going to spout out a lot of [​IMG]  about how and why to do your Ribs and other BBQ . One of my first 'suggestions' I offer is to get and record all your cooks .

    You can go about searching for ways and techniques , but trial and error is an effective tool . Keep all your experiences during a smoke , including mistakes , recipes , temps. ,annoying neighbors ... what ever you want to write down .

    Mine  look like mini - novels , at times  [​IMG]

    I've got a lo of these around . . .

    So , have fun and . . .
  3. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    Sounds to me like the second smoke needed to go a little longer...
  4. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Welcome to the forum. When you get a moment maybe you could introduce yourself to us all in the Roll Call too.

    It is great that you had so much success with your first racks of ribs but it is a shame that the second batch did not live up to the first. There are so many variables between the two methods and so it will be difficult to pin down the precise reason for the difference however I have made some comments below that you may find helpful. I think you probably need a hybrid of your two methods.

    The quality of the meat from different sources can vary and this can sometimes have an effect on the end result.

    How were you measuring the temperature? Was it using the thermometer on the front or were you also using a calibrated digital thermometer? The built-in thermometers can be fairly inaccurate (but yours may be spot on). The actual cooking temperature will effect the end result. If it were too hot then it would have had greater impact on your second batch due to the additional hour smoking.

    Yours and my methods for ribs vary considerably but the following give good results for me. I don't smother mine with mustard before applying the rub. The mustard will add additional flavour and the vinegar in it will help the rub to penetrate the meat however the important thing is to get that rub worked well into the meat surface. It does not need to be caked on. Once it has been rubbed in, hold up the ribs and tap them to let any excess fall away. As you did with the second batch, wrap in plastic (or vac pack if you can) and leave in the fridge overnight.

    Providing you are certain that the Smoker is actually at 225 F then 3-2-1 is ideal. The use of foil is widely debated here with some covering and others not. I always cover mine. The application of apple juice is also a personal preference. I have never used it and end up with juicy ribs but others do like to use it - especially if they do not foil. It is important to read the meat though. When the meat has pulled back sufficiently on the bone, you are happy with the bend test and the correct IT is reached then they are done. I often find the the final full hour is not actually required.

    Personally for your next batch I would persevere with your attempt 2 with the following considerations.
    • Buy the ribs from Sams Club as they were the best last time.
    • If you have not invested in a dual probe digital thermometer then I would really recommend you do.
    • The fact that one of your rib racks appeared to cook faster than the other you may have a temperature gradient in your smoker. Move their relative positions at different times during your next smoke.
    • Do not let your ribs stand between the second 2 hours and the last hour. The ribs are thin and will cool down - even wrapped in foil - and will therefore need to get back up to temperature again during the last hour before they can continue to cook. Just rest the ribs in foil after they have finished cooking completely.
    I am sure that others here will also be able to provide valuable input as well but I hope this give you a good start.

  5. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I agree, one factor most new BBQers miss when cooking ribs is the weight of the racks, a 3 pound rack will take more time to cook at 225° than a 2 1/2 pounder. This may, and I emphasize may, be what happened.

    A point of confusion- you describe using the 2-2-1 method in your second cook, but stated that you used the 3-2-1 method in the first sentence, should we assume 2-2-1 for the second cook?
  6. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The way I read it was that his first smoke was for 5 hours straight but his second was for 6 - with a 2 hour rest between hours 5 and 6. Maybe that was a mistype though.

    Good point about the weight of the ribs Cliff.
  7. If you're interested in a bit more modern technique, I suggest downloading the "pit pal" app on your phone. I found it a little while ago and it's great for tracking your cooks.
  8. smokin-q

    smokin-q Smoke Blower

    Much good advice above. Please describe what you mean by "not great?" Hard to make suggestions if we don't know the difference between the two cooks. Was the second dry? Mushy? Bad taste?
  9. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    They didn't pass the "toothpick test", which indicates they were underdone ergo a bit on the tough side. Next to last sentence in 2nd smoke description.
  10. smokin-q

    smokin-q Smoke Blower

    Then wouldn't that be a simple fix...don't remove til it passes toothpick test.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2014
  11. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Unless the smoker was actually hotter than anticipated and the ribs just cooked too quickly, had gone past the point of no return and were just drying out. I am not suggesting that is the case here but without photos it is difficult to tell.
  12. smokin-q

    smokin-q Smoke Blower

    Yes, you're correct, that could be too. 
  13. smoking602

    smoking602 Newbie

    Hi wade, I will definitely be posting in the roll call to introduce myself, Still getting used to the site :)  As far as temp goes I was just using the stock meat probe and chamber thermometer that came with the MES, Per your suggestion on getting a new one I just ordered a maverick ET732 that everyone on here raves about :)
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2014
  14. smoking602

    smoking602 Newbie

    Sorry for the confusion, the first smoke was 2-2-1 and second was 3-2-1, so the first one was 5 hours straight in the smoker and second was 6 hours straight, I did not let them rest 2 hours between hours 5 and 6. 
  15. smoking602

    smoking602 Newbie

    Yes agreed, I am happy I posted already.  By not great I simply mean that the meat was not as soft and juicy as the first batch, on the first batch I was able to simply pull on the meat and it would fall off the bone, on the second batch I had to really pull hard to get it to break apart, it was also very dry.    I was so bummed about them that I failed to take any pictures and avoid any shame haha, I will make sure I take pictures the second time around.

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