Ribs getting TOO tender

Discussion in 'Pork' started by cornfedkiller, Feb 18, 2016.

  1. cornfedkiller

    cornfedkiller Newbie

    I have been using a GMG for several months now and I have done several batches of ribs on it, and I cant seem to get them consistent.  Sometimes they are awesome and I think I figured it out, and the next time they are overdone or still half raw when I cut them open..

    I typically use baby back ribs (tried St. Louis Spare once and didnt like them), and I generally smoke them at 225 for 4 hours, then smear them with some BBQ sauce, and let them go for another hour.

    When I slow cook BBQ'ed ribs in the oven, I want to be able to pull all the bones out and have a pile of meat laying on my plate, BUT when I make smoked ribs, I prefer them to have some bite to them and actually have to cut them apart with a steak knife.  Lately, my ribs have been getting too "fall off the bone" tender.  

    What am I doing wrong? Do I need to increase the heat and decrease the time? 

    Is there a good way to check the temp of ribs so I can tell if they are done before I pull them off and cut them apart? Just make sure the thermometer isnt touching any bones? 
     
  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If they are too "fall off the bone", try 1/2 hour less time in foil, and add that half hour to the time without foil.

    Here's one of mine:

    Baby Back Ribs

    Bear
     
  3. smokinal

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

    I always smoke ribs to internal temp. At 195 IT they are tender, but not too tender. The bones won't slide out. You need a good therm with a thin end to get a good reading. It doesn't matter if you foil or don't foil. If the final temp is 195, then you will have the ribs you are looking for. Check out "Perfect ribs every time" in my signature line.

    Hope this helps,

    Al
     
  4. cornfedkiller

    cornfedkiller Newbie

    I dont foil them at all. 
     
  5. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Then you'll have to go by something like "SmokinAl" said (above--In Post # 3).

    Bear
     
  6. 3montes

    3montes Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I don't foil and have never stuck a thermometer in a rack of ribs. The bend test is the best indicator there is. I have a nice 16" pair of tongs. When I think they are getting close I grab the rack of ribs with the tongs about the half length of the rack. So half the rack is supported by the tongs and the other half hangs free. I pick the rack up and if it bends and just starts to crack the meat they are done. If the they split in half too done for me. Works every time and I can test multiple racks in seconds.
     
  7. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Ditto on 3montes. I never foil ribs and never check any temp. I cook my baby backs at 260-275* for 3-31/2 hours, until they have a good bend. Then I sauce/glaze twice at 15 and 30 minutes. My ribs are usually very consistant, tasty and have a little tug.

    Good luck and keep on smokin', Joe
     
  8. smokinal

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

    I really envy you guys that can use the bend test successfully, for me it seemed like I was playing with the ribs more than I was cooking them. Or they would get away & be too done. I found that for me & other novices like me that the only way to tell is by IT. We cook everything else to IT, why not ribs? Maybe someday I too will have the same expertise as you guys have, but until then I know I can make perfect ribs every time with my trusty Thermapen.

    Al
     
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I'm a Foil and Bender guy but I am going to give Al's IT test a shot next batch...JJ
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016
  10. schlotz

    schlotz Meat Mopper

    Count me in the non-foil group. That takes up too much of my beer time [​IMG]  

    Bend test has always worked and just maybe because of the constant temp maintained.  Baby Backs for me are an almost no-brainer.  Every rack is different to some degree but I start testing sometime after 4 hours and usually I'm within 15 minutes of getting them to bend with a crack showing.  Once seen, we sauce and let smoke for an additional 20 minutes, then pull.

    Never have used a therm for BB's.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016
  11. cornfedkiller

    cornfedkiller Newbie

    Thanks for the replies guys.. that should give me plenty to go off of for next time! 

    Never heard of the bend test, but it makes sense to me because I've had ribs that got too tender before and I knew it IMMEDIATELY when I grabbed them off the smoker. 
     
  12. travisty

    travisty Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

  13. burgerbob

    burgerbob Smoke Blower

    When smoking ribs I use the 3-2-1 method (3 hours of smoke at 225 degrees, 2 hours wrapped in foil with a little liquid, 1 hour uncovered at higher temp with your BBQ sauce on) and mine always come out good as long as I don't put too much seasoning on them.  The only times where I have had issues with this method is when I deviate from the plan.  Example, I wanted more smoke flavor so instead of adding more wood I increased the smoke time and cut back on the foiled time.  This proved to be a costly mistake, my ribs came out tough but with good flavor.  The meat was done but was hard to rip off the bone.  It is very nice to have that 6 hour window and I have yet to have a bad set of ribs.  Smoking ribs is the only time that I cook based on time, all other times I smoke meat I do so based on IT.
     
  14. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Ditto on the bend. Time is just an average that is applied to most rib cooks when in fact BB Ribs, whole slabs and Trimmed (St. Louis ) can be different at times as well as from one cut of meat to another along with weather conditions depending on the type of cooking equipment etc... My point is there are a lot of variables, however with that said mine always hoover between 5- 6 hrs at 225° - 250°
    • Not quite done yet at the five hour mark. At this point I placed meat side down and cranked the pit up to 300°F for twenty minutes to set the glaze. Flipped back bone side down. Note the angle!
    [​IMG]
    • Close to the 6 hour mark and looking good. Note the crack and the angle!
    [​IMG]

    You can also try Fast and Hot Ribs, quite impressive if you like ribs with a Meat/Steak texture.
    • Applying the rub (Lightly)
    [​IMG]
    • Frank at 450° and ready to go.
    [​IMG]
    • The left side was a bit hotter.
    [​IMG]

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    • Now before any one panicks, the pictures are not of smoke... it is STEAM! After the steam escapes I am ready to setup the glaze.
    [​IMG]
     

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    • The little bit of char from the mop added a very nice layer of flavor.
    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]
     
  15. cornfedkiller

    cornfedkiller Newbie

    Was just reading through this thread again as I might be making ribs next weekend. 

    My question for you is this: You say you smoke them at that temp for 3-3.5 hrs, and then you sauce/glaze them at 15 and 30 mins, but I'm confused what you mean by this... You sauce them 15 minutes after that?  And then again 15 mins later? And then how much longer do you leave them on?  

    And I noticed SmokinAl doesn't pull the membrane off the back.. whats everyones opinion on that? (I have always pulled it off?)
     
  16. cornfedkiller

    cornfedkiller Newbie

    And do you guys smoke meat-side down or bone-side down? I never know which is best..
     
  17. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I smoke bone side down.

    Mike
     
  18. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Bones down and stopped wasting time pulling membrane awhile ago. I just score the membrane and add rub...JJ
     
  19. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    1. Bone side down.

    2. I have always pulled the membrane. I now buy Swifts baby loin back ribs from Costco. There are 3 racks in a Cryovac and the membrane is already off.

    3. After I have a good bend, I put sauce on the ribs and back in the smoker for 15 minutes to set the sauce, then another slather of sauce and back in for another 15 minutes. After that, I take them out and let them rest for about 30 minutes and slice. I slice meat side down so I can see the bones better.

    Good luck and if you have any other questions, just ask away. Joe
     
  20. cornfedkiller

    cornfedkiller Newbie

    Question for you guys..

    I have ribs on the smoker right now, and some of them I'm starting to get a pretty good bend (they are a little thinner than some of the others, and maybe they were on a hotter spot on the grill).  They are JUST starting to crack on the surface a tiny bit, but down pretty much vertical when I grab them 1/3 of the way in.  

    A couple other racks still don't hardly bend, and maybe only hang down at a 45 degree angle.

    What do I do with the ones that are ready, when I still have others that aren't?  Just take them off and lay them on a pan and leave them on the kitchen counter until they are all done?  

    Then sauce/glaze and put them all back on at the same time for another 15 mins, then sauce again and repeat for 15 more mins? 
     

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