Grilling Ribs

Discussion in 'Grilling Pork' started by john in nc, Jun 30, 2013.

  1. I have few problems around the grill, but ribs are like fried chicken-it is an art to get things just "right" 

    I have some baby back pork ribs here-put on my preferred rub and let it sit overnight. Goal: tender meat that gently releases off the bone. I do NOT want disintegrating fall off the bone meat. I can put them in a pressure cooker if I wanted that.

    Problem: I feel like my ribs end up tough for two reasons. 1) Despite 4-6 hours at 225, I don't cook them enough. I don't see the meat shrinking around the rib bones or 2) I cook them enough, but they get chewy.

    I am not worried about grill temp/smoke-that I am happy with. My guess is that to fully cook, the ribs are drying out. While I do keep a pan of water in the grill over the coals, I never have done a "mop". Is that what I need to do to get them to cook fully without drying out? I am kind of leery about wrapping in foil (this 3-2-1 method)-other successful people are able to grill good ribs without resorting to shenanigans.

    Is a simple mop what I need?
  2. Go 3-2-1 or 2-2-1 and never look back.

    Happy smoken.

  3. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    I'm with David...3-2-1 or 2-2-1 method, and you may want to experiment with the foil stage so you still get the tug you're after without fall-off-the-bone tenderness.

  4. I am a 2-2-1 guy on baby backs and sprigs with apple juice or Dr pepper and a 3-2-1 on country style spare ribs. But it has a lot to do with set up and temp control for me.
  5. Thanks all. I will give the 3-2-1 a shot. 

    I always thought wrapping meat in foil on the grill was counterproductive-but in this case it might be for the best. Get the smoke-let it cook without drying out, and then finishing off so it doesn't appear ribs were steamed/poached.

    Thanks all!

  6. Quick update. The 3-2-1 worked pretty well. The meat was just how I wanted it-tender, but not crumbling.

    That said, I think a better lesson I learned from joining this forum is to stick with a rub (i.e. no sauce) By breaking things down (simplifying things), I can see what is or isn't working. The above ribs were OK, but by going rub only, I realized I might have too much smoke (a bit bitter). I also had too much cayenne in my rub.

    I washed the ribs off and got something more palatable. Oh, well-I don't take it as a defeat-it is a learning journey.

    Thanks of your help. Got some spare ribs in the fridge-might try again today.
  7. pgsmoker64

    pgsmoker64 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member


    If you cooked baby back ribs 3-2-1 the you overcooked.  For baby backs you want to go with a 2-2-1 variation.

    I use the 2-2-1 for baby backs in this way...2 hours in the smoker with just rub - 1.5 hours in foil with either a little apple juice or the Trigg method of brown sugar, honey, parkay, and a hefty squeeze of my BDSE sauce, some use tiger sauce, whatever you like.  Then the final stage for me is another 1.5 hours on the smoker.  Sometimes I glaze 30 minutes prior to removing from the smoker but seldom we don't add anything.

    I cook to please the crowd, so I add the brown sugar, etc, for them and leave a rack with just a dry rub for me and the wife.

    I find that the 2-1.5-1.5 gives me the perfect bite on the ribs.  You'll need to play around with this to get just the right bite for your preference.

    Good luck,

    Last edited: Jul 6, 2013
  8. les500

    les500 Newbie

    You're basically doing everything right. First make sure you're cooking over indirect heat. The water pan is good to keep moisture in the grill, what I do is marinate in apple cider vinegar for about 3-4 hours, add the seasonings after that. Baste with apple cider vinegar periodically while the ribs are cooking. This will get you some juicy ribs. Also, don't leave them on the grill that long! An hour to 1 - 1/2 is all.
  9. timsnewatsmokin

    timsnewatsmokin Fire Starter

    I use the 3-2-1 and the 2-2-1 and they come out good, I also spray mine every hr with apple juice. Im going to try the trig method next time though..
  10. king

    king Newbie

    I have had my ribs in now for almost 3 hours with a dry rub....I have decided to not cover with foil this time at you think I should spray them with something....and I am thinking they likely will be done in 4 hours....running them at 225 degrees steady....I think last time doing the 3, 2, 1 method they dried out or else they were tough ribs....thoughts

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