First rack of ribs in my life!!! Honey Mustard Ribs!!!

Discussion in 'Pork' started by smokeyj121, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. smokeyj121

    smokeyj121 Fire Starter

    So I was given this rack of ribs. It was kinda big, weighed around 3.5lbs but not so much meat attached. But you know since nothing should go to waste, I decided tthat this rack was gonna be my first smoked ribs ever!

    Seasoned with a simple rub and refrigerated a few hours before smoke time:

    Ready to get on the smoker :grilling_smilie:

    My go-to temp was 275. And that TBS was right there

    After almost 3hrs, I checked on the ribs

    Then ribs were sprayed, lightly sauced with Honey Mustard BBQ and stayed in the CC at 275 for another 10min. After that, ribs got wrapped in foil and put back in the smoker. I paid attention to this step a lot. I made sure ribs were still juicy at the time I wrapped them (that membrane was awesome to keep the juice)

    Almost 2hrs later, ribs slightly bent. Toothpick went thru easily but it wasnt butter smooth all the way. But since I saw meat was falling off the bone here and there, I believed it was done.

    Let it rest for 15-20min. Then finished on a hot grill and sauced each side 2-3 times until sauce was bubbling. Then here came the dinner for my family

    Ribs were kinda dry. Im very sad it was dry. Although I believed it was because the ribs had so little meat and fat in it. You could tell how thin the rack was. It was mostly bone. My mom and grandma said it was ok; but I knew for sure it was dry.

    However the flavor was good. And I was still happy everyone liked it.

    This was HONEY MUSTARD ribs. And as usual, any comments, suggestion, advice and criticisms are much appreciated!!!

  2. uzikaduzi

    uzikaduzi Meat Mopper

    people swear by whatever variation of 3-2-1 method they use...  so many people swear by how great it is, but there must be some trick because i always get dry and tougher ribs than I like. because of that i don't wrap ribs at all and the only time i've had dry or tough ribs since is from UNDER cooking them... i cook to either 200 or a very floppy bend test and get very tender pull off the bone ribs and they seem plenty moist regardless of whether i cook at 225 or 270... i've never tried hotter than that and 270 is honestly hotter that i like to smoke anything... it was just a combination of the wind and a little less attentiveness to the smoker that day.

    i'm sure there are others that can help you with the wrapping method if you want to continue with it.

    you could be right about it being too thin or lacking fat , but my guess is it either has something negative to do with the wrapping method that you and i haven't figured out or they are under cooked
  3. smokeyj121

    smokeyj121 Fire Starter

    I am opened to anything, foil or no foil. Since Im new, comments like yours and others help me alot. What is better than learning from your own and even others' experiences as well?

    I actually feel pretty comfortable with 275. Its just me maybe.

    But there could be something with wrapping ribs in foil. I didnt follow the 3-2-1 or anything similar. I really just tried to focus on the color and the feel. When I felt like the color was good enough for me and the ribs still juicy, I wrapped them in foil to prevent more smoke but kept on cooking it. That was my logic. Man, I could be wrong somewhere thats why I got dry ribs. Big consequence haha.

    I didnt use my thermometer today because I felt like it wasnt accurate. Its been on and off for a few times and I just havent had a chance to order a new one.

    It could be undercooked. I felt the bent but it wasnt floppy. But since the meat was falling off I believed it was cooked enough. That could be my major mistake right there.
  4. uzikaduzi

    uzikaduzi Meat Mopper

    i was just throwing out there that it seems like almost everyone wraps and is very happy... this could honestly be all subjective. i think you don't need to temp them to get a good product but i think temping is something that gets you to consistency.

    i struggled with making good and consistent ribs for a while i started avoiding cooking them because it was embarrassing how inconsistent they were... i think i read an article that said wrapping can be bad if it's over done and they didn't recommend it and also st louis cuts took 5-6 hours at 225 and to go by the bend test so i tried it another time... it got to 6 hours and it wasn't bending and pulling apart like they described so i assumed i messed up again and thought "well i'll just cook it longer and see what happens... if it's wrecked all ready what's it matter?" and it took 7.5 hours to get that bend and i was very proud of the final product... no mopping, no wrapping 225 on a wood fire and they were great. so i kept doing that. i read on here where one of the mods tested tons of temps to see what temp they liked it at (which is less than i like it) and so i started temping and it's right above 200 that i'm happy.

    i have had them take less than 6 hours and it looks like that 7.5 hours was the longest, but the bend test and temping both give me a consistent doneness that i like and i haven't had a moisture issue since either... i also pull the membrane and many people say that makes them less moist (but on spares/st louis they don't seem to ever get to bite through so i pull it) and no one has ever told me they are dry since i figured out i don't know how to wrap them and get them to come out good and they need to cook longer.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016
  5. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I think you answered your own question when you said "Toothpick went thru easily but it wasn't butter smooth all the way."

    To me that sounds like the ribs weren't cooked long enough. 

    But being that thin, it's also possible that no matter how long you cooked them, they were going to be dry.

    If they don't have enough fat in them, no matter how you cook them they will be dry.

    I guess what I'm saying is I really don't know exactly why they were dry, but next time get some meaty ribs with good marbeling.

    And smoke them until they pass the toothpick test, or to 195-200 IT.

  6. slipaway

    slipaway Meat Mopper

    One comment. No one has mentioned what went into the foil with the ribs. You need to put some juice, brown sugar, butter, honey, something to get the steam to do its thing.

    If you just wrapped your ribs with nothing in them, and there was minimal fat on them, I am not surprised that they were dry. Next time you might want to try something simple like some honey and brown sugar; meat side down; wrapped tight and on the smoker/grill for 1.5 - 2 hours.

    I think you will see a big improvement in the tenderness. Now your issue will be whether they are too tender and they fall apart before you want them to, but that's a different story...........

    Just my 2 cents worth..............
  7. smokeyj121

    smokeyj121 Fire Starter

    Sounds great my friend. I will try ur way next time. No foil, why not? Thank you my friend :sausage:

    Probably I pulled the ribs out too early right Al? But since the ribs were cooked both unwrapped and wrapped for 5hrs with the ribs being that thin i was afraid I might dry it out. But I guess I did it anyway by taking it out wayy too early.

    I was waiting for your comment to see what happened. Thank you Al. I learned from my mistake once more.

  8. okie362

    okie362 Smoking Fanatic

    When I look at your pics I see no pull back on the bones.  That would indicate to me they still needed to cook longer but given how thin they were (From what you say and from the pics) might never have gotten "juicy" but definitely could have been more tender.
  9. smokeyj121

    smokeyj121 Fire Starter

    Thank you my friend. Thumbs Up
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2016
  10. cksteele

    cksteele Smoking Fanatic

    if my math is correct you cooked them at 275   for  5 hours  one thing is  possibly   you cooked them 1 hour too long,  then you grilled them for 15-20 min  till the sauce was bubbling  .  i always cook at or above 275  and ive never had  a rack big or small   go more then  4 hours and i always foil idk. ribs tend to have a very narrow window for doneness  and if you were cooking at 275  for 5 hours even foiled the ribs would be overcooked and dry and would go from floppy to rigid again 
  11. smokeyj121

    smokeyj121 Fire Starter

    That could be a possibility. I just couldnt use my thermormeter and that was a pain. I only relied on the color and how they felt; and Im still learning to master it. I actually only had them on hot grill for no more than 5min. It was a quick sear. Thank you a lot.
  12. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'd have to say they were overcooked, but mainly because there was too little meat on them.

    I have found that even St Louis Cut takes about an hour less that Full Spares not trimmed to St Louis Cut, because of the amounts of meat on them.

    One other thing is "If your Ribs were Dry after being Wrapped in Step #2, not wrapping them is not going to help".

    Like Al said, "Try to get some Ribs with more fat & meat on them".

  13. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    From the way those ribs looked, they were going to be dry, no matter what. They were really lacking in meat.

    I cook baby loin backs, so they're going to be a little different. I cook at 250-275* and never wrap. They have a good medium bend at 3 to 3-1/2 hours. I sauce/glaze them twice for 15 minutes each time, so the total cook time is 3-1/2 to 4 hours and they are done just right, very tender, juicy and with a slight tug. If you're doing spares, they may take a little longer, but the amount of meat will will determine the length of the actual cook.

    Good luck with you're next batch. If you can, try some baby loin backs from Costco. They are very meaty and the membrane is already removed. They come 3 racks in a Cryovac and are usually $2.99/#.
  14. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hey, Smokey, the ribs look good. As for 3-2-1 foil or no foil, etc don't give up. Keep trying different methods and you will dial it in. We loved 3-2-1 when I first started smoking but She Who Must Be Obeyed found them too fall off the bone. Now, I am with Al that not foiling and cooking until tender is better. The exception to this is beef ribs. I still like them foiled.

    One thing you can do is put a bit more liquid in the foil. I also think 270 F is a little high smoking temperature, particularly for a thin rack of ribs. I did my 3-2-1 ribs at 220 to 230 F.

    Just the thoughts of a fat old Canadian!

  15. smokeyj121

    smokeyj121 Fire Starter

      Thank you Bear. Im very excited to try unfoiled ribs next time.
      hey Joe, thank you for your information. I actually live super far away from you guys. I live in Vietnam. The tradition of smoking over here hasnt been well understood and developed. Thats why Im starting very slowly from 0; but I hope my effort would be enough to make a difference. I am still learning from all of you guys on here and I love it. I feel very lucky that I found this forum.
      I love hearing things like that from you guys who have way more experience than me. Thank you Disco and to be honest, I cant wait to try unfoiled ribs next batch.
  16. gonavy

    gonavy Smoke Blower

    Too add to what ever one else said, I immediately noticed how spare your rub was, I could still see most of the meat.  I usually prep my ribs a couple hours before I put them in the smoker, by brushing on mustard and enough rub to completely cover the meat both sides, cover and put back in frig, when you pull them out of the frig it will have a wet look, but the meat will still not be visible, if it is I put on some more rub in those areas.  I always wrap after two hours for an hour and a half with squeeze butter, honey and dark brown sugar on the meat side and place meat side down when wrapped they always come out next to fall of the bone and very juicey
  17. You cooked at 275 for 5 hours++, and then on hot grill for a quick touch-up. IMO that's too long & too hot, which equals dry. Try only 225-250, two hours naked, then two in foil, then one more hour naked, and skip the last step over hot grill, as you apply finishing sauce during last hour. If meat is receding nicely and they bend to 90 degrees, take them off. Can always put back on again.

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