What's the "ideal" temp for ribs or is that irrelevant?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by emac, Jun 30, 2015.

  1. emac

    emac Newbie

    Hi all,

    I just joined because I have been grilling for a while yet as I was looking at beef rib recipes (to do something different) I realized a lot of different sites said 200-225, 225-250 or 250- 275 and as my ribs are smoking at 255 I am left wondering is there a huge difference? My thought is at a stable temp of 250- to 275 I would reach a target temp of 190ish and/or preferred tenderness in less time than 200-225...I guess my question is is there that much of a difference or is there an ideal smoking temp?

    I generally cook my ribs anywhere between 225-275 and about an 1 per pound.
  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Welcome to SMF emac.  Be sure to stop in over at Roll Call and say "hi" so folks can give you a proper welcome. 

    It always helps when saying "ribs" that you distinguish between Full Spare, St Louis Cut, Baby Back, Loin Back, Beef Short, Beef Back, etc.  There are a LOT of different "ribs" and each has its own quirks.  Generally when folks say "ribs" they are referring to one of the pork spare rib or back cuts since they are the most readily available. 

    They can all be cooked to the exact same end result at 225F, 250F, 275F, 350F, etc.  The one difference is time.  The lower the temp the longer they take for any specific type of smoking style (unwrapped, wrapped, combination, etc). 

    Here's an example.  I always thought SLC spares were perfectly dry smoked for me at 225F, no wrapping, right at 6 hours, give or take a little depending on thickness.  There was a very slight tug, perfect bite, and they were succulent.  My wife always thought they were tough and dry and really didn't look forward to me bringing home spare ribs.  She prefers her ribs FOTB (fall off the bone).   

    I bumped the temp up to 250F for 6 hours, give or take a little, and now she raves about my spare ribs.  I think they are a just a tad overcooked but they still bite clean from the bone without any tug at all and I can live with that. 

    I use the bone draw (visual) and bend test for doneness and have never temp probed ribs.     
  3. emac

    emac Newbie

    Thanks for the response. Interesting, I prefer beef ribs, every once in a while i'll do pork ribs.
  4. oddball

    oddball Smoke Blower

    There isn't a magic temp, at least that I've heard or seen.  Some people cook fast, others slow, and both get similar results.

    As I've switched to a pellet smoker, I've found myself starting at a lower temp for the first half/several hours of the cook, and then increasing the temp to finish (and shorten the cooking time when needed).

    It's mostly a matter of personal preference and what works well with your equipment.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2015

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