spare ribs question

Discussion in 'Pork' started by nater3, Jun 30, 2009.

  1. nater3

    nater3 Fire Starter

    I did my first rack of spares yesterday and was very disappointed. I trimmed them up St. Louis style and rubbed them like I do loin backs. These spares actually had quite a bit less meat on them than the loin back ribs I usually do, so I assumed the 2-2-1 method would work for these. However, after the five hours they were nowhere near falling off the bone and were tough. We had to pretty much gnaw them off the bones. Do you have to do spares long than baby backs or loin back ribs? I bought the spares in the three packs at Sams. I still have the other two racks in the freezer and am hoping to find out how to do them better. Thanks in advance.
  2. ellymae

    ellymae Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I typically do spares for at least 6 hours. I rub them, throw them on the pit and wait till the meat pulls back and the rack bends nicely when held in the middle. then I wrap them in foil and let them rest in a dry cooler for a while.
    Good luck with your next cook.
  3. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    3-2-1 for spare ribs and 2-2-1 for baby backs
  4. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Did ya take the membrane off the back? I use the 3-2-1 method with spares (St. Louis style) I foil mine in the second portion of the smoke adding in some apple juice and Capt Morgan. They come out very tender and tasty too. I also sauce them on the final stage of the cook.
  5. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Nate yall got some good advice here, make sure ya pull that membrane on the back, do the 3-2-1 method on em. These ain't tyson's brand are they? Never had no luck with the tyson's, evertime wally world carries em here instead a my smithfields, I jump the meat manager, cuz they suck.

    One trick I learned, take a wooden scewer an towards the end a yer 2 shove it through an see how tender they are, ifin they still be tough ya can give em a bit longer.

    Good luck an don't give up, nice thin bout this is, ya get to eat the learnin curve!
  6. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    What temps were you running at during the smoke? I try to run the ribs at 230° or so if I can.
  7. Just did two racks yesterday, 3-2-whatever @ 225... Foiled with half apple juice/apple cider vinegar, and firmed up the last portion, this time was half hour.
    Rubbed two hours before using Tulsa Jeff's rub, no sauce during the cook, only for dipping. [​IMG]

    They were fall off the bone and moist... Whoops, better get to the table, the ladyfriend just reheated them and dinner is served!

    Only a suggestion, check your thermometer for accuracy
    aka Rocky
  8. mulepackin

    mulepackin Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Just did a rack yesterday on my modified ECB and they were perfect. I have found for me that a 2.5/1.5/.5 (or just enough to firm up the bark) sched turns the ribs out just as I want them. I don't like literally fall off the bone tender, I like to be able to just have a bit of pull back to them, if that makes sense. After the smoke time, I do the 1.5 hrs. foiled in the oven at 230, then the finish is on the propane grill. I heat the grill on high for five minutes, then turn off two of the burners and put the ribs on the unlit side, as I said just enough to firm the bark. If I still have hot coals in the smoker, I'll use it instead of the oven, but usually the coals have just died out at that point.
  9. nater3

    nater3 Fire Starter

    I ran the smoker at 225-230. I removed the membrane. I foiled them after two hours and added a combo of apple and cherry juice. After two hours I took them out of the foil and put them back in for an hour. I sprayed them with cherry juice before they went into the foil and after I took them out of the foil.

    Why do spares take longer than baby backs when the spares have less meat on them after being trimmed? Is it just tougher meat that takes longer to break down?
  10. countrysmoked

    countrysmoked Smoke Blower

    Spare ribs are tougher, you could have had an unusually tough pig for that set of ribs. Don't give up on spare ribs. When you get your technique right you will love them like I do. I never buy baby back anymore. I use a rub very much like Tulsa Jeff's and put it on the night before then wrap and refrigerate until 1 hour before time to go in the smoker pull from the fridge and let rest at room temp for an hour then into the smoker set at 225, smoke until I get 1/2 inch of pull back (usually 2 1/2 to 3 hours) then into a roaster pan with beer/apple juice under and tightly foiled for 2 hours then out of the pan and back on the rack for 1/2 hour or an hour depending on temp and how they look/feel and they are usually almost fall off the bone tender (I like them to take a slight pull to come off) and super tasty. I have and most everybody here probably has too, gotten a tough batch of ribs from time to time but they usually just take more time in the foil. Attachment 21763
  11. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Probably your rack of ribs came off an old tough sow with a gnarly disposition... lol! Check your surface temp therm to make sure it's accurate and try the next one, get them room temp before slapping them on the smoker!

    Pops §§
  12. jspryor

    jspryor Fire Starter

    I am cooking spares for the first time this weekend...about 20 lbs. When you foil do you foil each slab individually or a couple slabs together?

    Any cooler time in the 3-2-1 method?
  13. countrysmoked

    countrysmoked Smoke Blower

    I put mine in a roaster pan with apple juice under and foil tight over the top usually two racks per pan. I don't use any cooler time unless I have to transport then I use a cooler to hold warm.
  14. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks like some have different methods. I foil mine, with liquid added, individually. No cooler time here but it's good to let them rest a short period.
  15. roksmith

    roksmith Meat Mopper OTBS Member

    I like to stoke up the fire a bit when I put mine in the foil if the meat isn't pulling back yet. Don't care what the smoke it like becasue they are protected by the foil. Maybe take the temp up to 275..

    My personal opinion.. If you are planning on cutting back on the cook time...cut back on the time in the foil.. do maybe a 3-1-1 instead of a 2-2-1. That way you don't lose out on the smoke flavor.

    If they still were tough..I'd say you needed another hour or so..even if they are thinner than BBs..the meat is still tougher..more connective tissue to break down.
  16. chisoxjim

    chisoxjim Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I typically dont go by a 3-2-1 method, I apply the rub and then smoke the ribs until they pass the tong test.

    Then I tent the ribs in foil with some honey, and a few tbsp. of apple juice and put them back on the smoker for maybe 30 minutes, untent, cut, and serve. tender, with a little tug.

    Ill be doing a few slabs of K.C. spares this Saturday for the 4th.
  17. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    This is my meathod exactly.

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