Tender Ribs w/o Foiling.

Discussion in 'Pork' started by noobsmoke, Aug 4, 2014.

  1. noobsmoke

    noobsmoke Fire Starter

    Hi guys,

    It's been a while for me but I just got a brand new 22.5 WSM and am finally excited about smoking again.  Had a chargriller pro but it was so frustrating to use due to temperature control issues that I almost gave up the hobby.  The WSM is much more efficient and easier to use -- I'm glad I spent the 1 billion dollars to get one :)

    Anyhow, I usually do baby backs using the 2-2-1 method but I do not enjoy foiling ribs or how mushy they tend to become.  Is there a way to cook ribs without foiling, but still have them be tender?  My ribs now are tasty and have a good pull to them, but I would like them a wee bit softer.  I cook them at 225-250 for five hours and just apply a rub, no mop/spritz during the cook. 

    Is foiling the only solution?  Do I cook longer at a lower temp?  Is there a trick I don't know about? 

    Any advice is appreciated.  Thanks guys.
  2. yotzee

    yotzee Smoking Fanatic

    I cook my ribs in the 260-270 range with no foiling.  I rub them, stick them in the smoker with a water pan, and then I don't even look at them for about 4 hours.  At the 4 hour mark I open the door and check for pullback and flexibility.  When they pass a bend test and a toothpick test they are done.  Tender, juicy and delicious.
  3. Agree......I do it the same way.....sans water pan.  My smoker holds moisture so well It would rain in there if I put a water pan in [​IMG]

    Always have tender juicy ribs and a nice little bark on the outside.  Never mushy.
  4. noobsmoke

    noobsmoke Fire Starter

    I was under the impression that 260 was too high for ribs but it's good to know that.  I usually do chicken and ribs together so if I can bump the temperature up, that would do wonders for crisping up my skin.

    Does resting the ribs afterwards really help for tenderizing?  I tend to dig right in when it comes to ribs but I see some people letting them rest in a cooler.  For some reason my ribs always seem better the next day.
  5. Resting helps the juices re-distribute into the meat as in all cuts.   You can smoke ribs at 300F is you want.  There is no right and wrong temp.  There is a ton of debate on low and slow vs hot and fast on every type of meat.  Cook how you like and like what you cook is ALL that matters.  [​IMG]
  6. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yup - same basic thing on my 22.5" WSM, only difference is I cook closer to 250°. Ribs pull clean from the bone when you bite them, but are not falling off the bone when trying to handle them. I also sauce and sear mine on my gas grill right at the end for a nice caramelized crunch on the finish.
  7. yotzee

    yotzee Smoking Fanatic

    I actually did a lazy cook of a full rack of ribs this past Sunday by tossing them on my Weber kettle set up with the snake method.  I was out of Kingsford Blue and used Kingsford Competition which burns much hotter.  Flew blind without any therms and when I went to check the ribs after about 3 hours I noticed that the charcoal was burning through the snake really fast, had to be above 300.  I checked the rack and they were damn near done.  Another hour later they were ready to full off the bone and they were delicious.  I think at times we tend to over think cooking ribs because we want to meet competition standards.  They weren't the best ribs I've ever done, but damn they were still delicious.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2014
  8. noobsmoke

    noobsmoke Fire Starter

    Thank you everyone for the replies.  My ribs came out pretty good and I guess I will just stick to the way I've been doing them.  My main concern I guess was does a longer cooker time equal more tender ribs, or will they just become over cooked and dry?  I will keep playing around with the times/temps and see what works.  Everyone who ate the ribs said they were awesome but I guess like was said earlier, we tend to aim for impractical standards as backyard chefs :)

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