Why were my ribs tough?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by robertwhite, Jul 5, 2014.

  1. robertwhite

    robertwhite Fire Starter

    TN
    Put a large rack of ribs which were first squared off St.Louis style into my Traeger pellet smoker yesterday. The rack was cut in equal halves and the bottom portion was also smoked.

    Using the 3-2-1 method, I pulled the ribs at 167*.

    The bottom portion of the rack that was cut of to get the St.Louis cut was pretty much perfect. Great flavor, tenderness, chew, etc.

    The 2 slabs of ribs had great smoke ring and taste, but the meat was way too tough.

    So why were the ribs tough when the boneless portion was just fine?
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2014
  2. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Just going by what you think the internal temp was, they weren't done. Time and temperature are only part of the equation. Plus it's really difficult to get an accurate internal temp on ribs. The bend test and the poke test will tell you more accurately when they're done to your liking. What temperature were you running your smoker? It sounds like it may have been on the low side if you did the full 3-2-1.
     
  3. robertwhite

    robertwhite Fire Starter

    TN
    Internal temp taken with Thermapen.

    Cooking temp was set on smoke (185-205*) for the first 3 hrs, taken off, wrapped, cooked at 225* for 2 hrs, unwrapped and cooked at 225* for final hour.

    What I don't understand is if all the sections were cooked the exact same way, why did the boneless section come out perfect and yet the ribs themselves were tough?
     
  4. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sounds like the smoker wasn't hot enough if you used the 3-2-1 method and that was the outcome.
     
  5. robertwhite

    robertwhite Fire Starter

    TN
    So you guy's think the ribs were not cooked enough, which is why they were tough?

    Does a boneless piece of meat generally cook faster than a bone in piece of meat?
     
  6. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Based on what you said I don't think your smoker was hot enough. What temp did you have it set at? and did you have a Thermometer inside measuring the temp as well?

    I have found that a bone in or boneless cook about the same. What makes a difference is how thick the meat is because you have to get the temp up all that way thru.
     
  7. brooksy

    brooksy Master of the Pit

    Smoker wasn't hot enough and they weren't cooked long enough. You don't go by temp when it comes to ribs. Ribs are a touch and feel piece of meat. Bend test or tear test are pretty much the only way to test for tenderness. Grab two bones and pull them apart. If they tear easily then you're done. Also cook them from 225/250. You can even go up to 275 and still get good product.
     
    demosthenes9 likes this.
  8. robertwhite

    robertwhite Fire Starter

    TN
    The Traeger pellet smoker/grills use a different set up. There is a smoke setting and when on that setting, the temp will vary between 180 & 205*

    There are also straight settings of 180, 205,225, 250, etc. The smoke setting get the most smoke output.

    Didn't have this issue when I was using a stick burner, so I guess the learning curve is going to be a major factor.
     
  9. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    180-205 is too low of a temp. You should be atleast 225 when doing ribs for the 3-2-1 method.

    Do it on the 225-250 setting next time and you will be pleased. If you dont want to do that then you will have to use a 3-3-1 method or something like that. Increase the foil time at lower temps to get the meat to break down.
     
  10. robertwhite

    robertwhite Fire Starter

    TN
    Sounds like a plan. Thanks
     
  11. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The 180- 200 temp was too low and Bone does not heat up as fast as meat. Think about a nice Porterhouse Steak. The largest portion of the meat may be cooked to Medium but the portion against the bone will be Rare. Some of the Pellet Smoker guys here add an A-MAZE-N TUBE pellet smoke generator in there Pellet Smoker/Grill. The Grill can be set to 225°+ and the Tube add all the great TBS to flavor the meat. Check it out at... http://www.amazenproducts.com/Default.asp ...JJ
     
    demosthenes9 likes this.
  12. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Even if you were at 180 its too low, but smoke setting on the Traeger tends to be around 160-170 at rack level.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2014
  13. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I have the Traeger Texas Elite and I bought the AMAZN pellet tube to get more smoke flavor out of the cooker. Works great.
     
  14. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Spot on as usual !!!!
     
  15. I usually take my ribs to 190. Smoke them @ 250-275. I smoked these yesterday and didn't wrap. They were on the cooker 4 hours.




    I used Jeff's rub and sauce. I was really happy how they turned out.
     

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