Help with Ribs Please

Discussion in 'Pork' started by gregc, Jul 12, 2010.

  1. gregc

    gregc Fire Starter

    Hello, I'm new to the world of smoking meat. I bought a 18.5" Weber Smoky Mountain about a month ago. I've smoked 3 chickens and spare ribs twice so far. The chickens I have smoke have been EXCELLENT. However, the ribs..well..there not so good. I have put a dry rub on the ribs, smoke them standing up right in a rack until the internal temp is 170. They turn out so so. Everyone elses ribs I've tried are great but mine...well.. I wouldn't cook them for anybody but me. Any ideas on what I could be doing wrong? or advice to make them better. Thanks!
     
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  2. matts

    matts Smoking Fanatic

    Little more info needed.  Whats your cooking temp? What kind of smoke are you getting?

    Welcome to SMF.  Where you from?
     
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  3. gregc

    gregc Fire Starter

    I'm keeping the temp between 225 and 250 and using Hickory to smoke with. Could I be pulling them to early? I just went by what I read, smoke until the inside temp is 170. Thanks, Oh, I'm from Georgia..near Atlanta
     
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  4. jak757

    jak757 Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Greg -- welcome to SMF.  I have learned a lot from the folks here -- I'm sure you will too.  The WSM is a great smoker -- I have had one for a few months now, and just love mine.

    As for ribs -- look around some here and you will find many tips and suggestions. One thing I might suggest is to use what people cal the 3-2-1 method.  Set up your smoker as you normally do -- try to keep the temps in the 225-250 range.  Use whatever dry rub you want and cook the ribs for three hours.  At that point, wrap them in heavy duty foil, and add "some" liquid. Some folks spritz with apple juice, etc.  I last used about a half stick of melted butter and a few "squirts" of honey.  Put the foiled ribs back in the smoker for two hours.  So now you are up to five hours.  Take the ribs off the smoker, unwrap from the foil and put back on the smoker for another hour.  Some folks apply BBQ sauce at this point, others do not.  After that final hour, pull them off, let rest for a bit, the dig in!

    That's just one take on ribs.  You'll find many people with a bunch of info to help you out here.  Give them another shot -- and post some pics!

    Good luck!
     
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  5. lugnutz

    lugnutz Smoking Fanatic

    I don't trim or foil my ribs, I run about the normal temp range of 225-250, I apply apple juice every hour or so and cook for 6 hours. I also don't sauce them.

    My rub is pretty simple: Garlic powder, cayenne, black pepper, cumin and salt.

    Not sure if this will help you or not but maybe you can get something from it.
     
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  6. indyadmin1974

    indyadmin1974 Smoking Fanatic

    Welcome to SMF!

    With ribs, throw out all you know about cooking to temp.  You'll want to do the bend test.  Someone out there has an excellent pic of this but essentially you pick up the thick end of the rack with tongs and if the rack bends down to the ground, you're done.

    We will need some information as to what you are disappointed with to help the best though.

    Is it the taste?  (not enough vs. too much smoke flavor)
    Is it the texture? (too much pull vs. fall off the bone)

    Post what you are disappointed with and we can get started on helping out.  Pictures of your smokes are invaluable in troubleshooting but you probably won't have them this time.
     
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  7. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hello Greg, and welcome to the SMF.Have you tried the 3-2-1 method? It seems to work for a lot of folks. What is it that you're trying to achieve? I moved your thread to roll call so that everyone can have the chance to welcome you. It's all good my friend.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2010
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  8. matts

    matts Smoking Fanatic

    How much smoke were you getting?  That can be a big factor in the taste.
     
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  9. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The bend test is fine, but this small vertical/bullet style smokers, probably is not going to happen. I find in both my ECB and GOSM, I will have to cut the racks in two to get them to fit. Won't be able to see a bend then. I would say try the 3-2-1 to start. Remember too that it is adjustable if you find the ribs to "fall off the bone" for you. A couple of smokes and you will have it down pat.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2010
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  10. gregc

    gregc Fire Starter

    Thanks for all the help thus far. I think I will try the 3-2-1 method this weekend. The main problem I had was flavor and the meat wasn't just falling off the bone either. I also don't think I smoked them long enough. I did about 5 hours and also took the lid off every hour to mop the ribs.

    One other question. On the back of the rib rack I purchased there appears to be meat/fat. should I be cutting that off or leaving it? I have trimmed it up a little both times but wasn't sure what to do with it.  I guess my question is, should the back of the ribs be all bone or should there be meat/fat back there?? Thanks for helping a newbie.

    Greg
     
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  11. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

     The Bend Test

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Pretty much every time you open the lid, you can add around 15 minutes to your smoke. Also you want to remove as much of a membrane on the back of the ribs as possible. Work a knife under a corner, then latch onto it with a paper towel and pull. You rarely will get it all, but the more the better.
     
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  13. tank

    tank Smoke Blower

    I think the first thing to do is identify what kinds of ribs you like.  Do you like fall of the bone ribs?  Do you like some bite leaving a clean bone?  I know once I figured out that my family and I like fall off the bone ribs I adjusted the 3-2-1 method on spares to get this.  What are you looking for in your ribs?
     
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  14. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    [​IMG]

    Ribs smoked 3 - 2 - 1 with cherry and glazed with "Sweet Baby Rays Barbecue Sauce"


     

    [​IMG]

    Ribs at - 3 -

    [​IMG]

    Ribs at - 2 -

    [​IMG]

    Ribs at - 1 -

    [​IMG]

    Ribs ready for slicing

    Ribs are prepped by trimming up St. Louis style, removing membrane then coated heavily with rub the night before, no mustard, I have cut back on the black pepper in my Rib Rub because of how much rub I use on the ribs, it was a bit spicy for some of the family.

    So far the best luck with the ribs have been smoking at 225 degrees for a maximum of 3 hours uncovered in a rib rack, place in a steamer pan and foil for 1 hour 40 minutes then uncover and smoke another 40-45 minutes.
    I was getting a bit annoyed at how much juice was lost after unfoiling, so I decided to leave the ribs in the pan for the final part of the cook and as you can see from the above photo, there's no loss of juices
    I just mix the juices and barbecue sauce as its brushed on the ribs.

    The ribs are cut down, brushed real good with BBQ Sauce and served in a steamer pan and will go a good part of the day without drying out.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2010
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  15. gregc

    gregc Fire Starter

    Wow. those look good! Apparently, I need a lesson on how to trim ribs because yours are all nice and rectangular. Mine ...well, not so much. The also did not slice into nice individual peices either.
     
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  16. flyfishjeep

    flyfishjeep Smoking Fanatic

    pulling the membrane off the back to me is very important, especially when you go to eat them. 

    People do the 2-2-1 or the 3-2-1 method.  It all gets tweaked to fit your taste, and your smoker.  that is the beauty of this addiction. 

    Good luck and happy smokin!
     
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  17. ol' smokey

    ol' smokey Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    That's a great pic of well cooked ribs, Cliff. I think the lesson here is to start from some point and adjust to your own preferences. For example, I do BB's for 3.5 hours at 250° no foil but I do spritz with apple juice. For the wife and I that's just the ticket. Experiment and enjoy...
     
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  18. deannc

    deannc Master of the Pit

    Here's a good video on trimming your spares St Louis style  .  There's a ton of information available on here reference different methods and I thought I found a nice write up on trimming ribs when I first joined SMF but of course now I can't find it.  The video is just as good though.

    If you've cut your ribs to fit the smoker and can't do the bend test, another method in Jeff's July 4th newsletter write up is pulling 2 of the bones in opposite directions which will indicate the level of tenderness.  
     
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  19. shamong9

    shamong9 Fire Starter

    Hi Greg,

    I like the 3-2-1 method, as state by others. remove the membrane on the bone side. wash in water and dry. coat both side with a little oil and then put your rub on both sides. I like to rub down the night before, so it really gets into the meat. I like to spray both sides with a half and half of apple juice and apple vinegar ever hour. I have a water tray, to keep it from drying out. The spray just adds more flavor. I use  a mix of apple and hickory wood chips, just to add another layer of flavor. Layers of flavor is where its at.
     
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  20. gregc

    gregc Fire Starter

    Thanks for all the good advice guys. I'm gonna check out that video. Do Baby Back Ribs need as much trimming etc as Spare Ribs? I went to the grocery store yesterday and took a look and it appeard as they did not need much trimming but were more expensive. Maybe I should start with baby backs. What do you think? Thanks again.

    I am looking forward to this weekends smoke. I'm gonna try ribs again Saturday and Turkey legs on Sunday.

    Greg
     
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