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I am struggling with ribs.  I use spare ribs....the St Louis kind with the knuckles attached so they are a bit thicker on one end.   I can't fit it on the AKORN in one piece, so I cut them in half and try to limit the heat exposure to the thinner half to the direct heat around the AKORN diffuser stone.

 

I start with a rub like Booty Rub or Bone-Lickin while the AKORN gets to 200 or so.   I put them on bone side down and maintain about 230, but yesterday, I was trending a little lower than that, but it was maintaining ~200, so I didn't increase the temps.  I did have a water pan pushed to the back so the ribs were not really directly over the water to prevent steaming.   But you could tell there was plenty of moisture when you opened the dome.

 

After 3 hours, the bones were showing a little, but the racks weren't really bending, so I left them on.  After about 4 hours, they didn't seem any more "loose", so I foiled them with honey/butter and let them cook about 2 more hours.   It was dinner time by then, so I pulled them off and served them.  About 6 hours total at 230 or less...mainly less.

 

Some of the bones fell out, but the meat was tough and on the dry side.  No charred at all.  Good flavor, but needed a knife to eat them.  If I got served them in a restaurant, I wouldn't go back.

 

I think my problem was too low a temp and given the lack of moisture left in the ribs, I don't think going longer was going to make them more tender.  My goal was 3-2-1, but after 3 hours, they just didn't seem done enough to wrap yet.    In the past, I've done ribs too high (275+), which gave me "fall of the bone" on the thick end, but charred on the thin end.

 

I'm thinking I need to crank the heat up to 250-275 for 3 hours to allow the fat to bubble more and break down the meat, then foil.  

 

 

 

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I am struggling with ribs.  I use spare ribs....the St Louis kind with the knuckles attached so they are a bit thicker on one end.   I can't fit it on the AKORN in one piece, so I cut them in half and try to limit the heat exposure to the thinner half to the direct heat around the AKORN diffuser stone.
 
I start with a rub like Booty Rub or Bone-Lickin while the AKORN gets to 200 or so.   I put them on bone side down and maintain about 230, but yesterday, I was trending a little lower than that, but it was maintaining ~200, so I didn't increase the temps.  I did have a water pan pushed to the back so the ribs were not really directly over the water to prevent steaming.   But you could tell there was plenty of moisture when you opened the dome.
 
After 3 hours, the bones were showing a little, but the racks weren't really bending, so I left them on.  After about 4 hours, they didn't seem any more "loose", so I foiled them with honey/butter and let them cook about 2 more hours.   It was dinner time by then, so I pulled them off and served them.  About 6 hours total at 230 or less...mainly less.
 
Some of the bones fell out, but the meat was tough and on the dry side.  No charred at all.  Good flavor, but needed a knife to eat them.  If I got served them in a restaurant, I wouldn't go back.
 
I think my problem was too low a temp and given the lack of moisture left in the ribs, I don't think going longer was going to make them more tender.  My goal was 3-2-1, but after 3 hours, they just didn't seem done enough to wrap yet.    In the past, I've done ribs too high (275+), which gave me "fall of the bone" on the thick end, but charred on the thin end.
 
I'm thinking I need to crank the heat up to 250-275 for 3 hours to allow the fat to bubble more and break down the meat, then foil.  
 
 
 

I like the 3.2.1 at 250 260 for pork ribs. Beef ribs 250 until probe tender.

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6 hours is to long bud. You over cooked them. Stay way from 3-2-1.
if you want to cook at 225ish 5 hours is enough time. possibly a little over done if wrapped.
Bone side down. after 1st hour or so spritz with some liquid until around hour 2.5

If you want to wrap, do it then. If wrapped apply some sort of liquid or moisture to the wrap like you mentioned above.
Cook for another 1-1.5 hours, sauce and glaze the last 15-30 mins. 
If you want to not wrap , keep spritzing or additional flavors to the meat. 
Should take mo longer than around 5 hours either way you cook them. Generally a half hour or more less time, if wrapped.
Whenever you have about .75 inches of bone showing, they pass the bend test or probe tender with a toothpick pull them. These are all indicators for doneness.
Grab another set and try it again.

 

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21 minutes ago, Nathan_Douglas said:


I like the 3.2.1 at 250 260 for pork ribs. Beef ribs 250 until probe tender.

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Welcome, please stop by and introduce yourself. 

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I'm doing Steven Raichlen's Chipotle Chocolate ribs for the 4th.  The article I got the recipe from expressed disenchantment with the 3-2-1 because of mushy texture and I thought back to my last few cooks and said "yep".  Gonna try 325 for 1-1/2 to 2 hrs and serve with Meathead's smoked potato salad.  Kind of going back to the way I did ribs 20 years ago (but with nicer gear).

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Once again, the 3-2-1 is a failure, it usually is. 3-2-1 is specifically for St. Louis ribs cooked at 225°. Variation from that leads to disaster. All that on off, wrap, on off, unwrap, on off stuff is nuts, plus it is way more difficult to maintain consistent temperature in your grill with all that opening and closing. The temperature you end up cooking at isn't all that important, I cook anywhere from 225°-275°, I've actually found that I like 260°. Where ever you end up, be consistent, and time your ribs roughly from there. 250°-275° for roughly 4 hours works for me, depending on how meaty they are, and how done I want them.


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For the question on probes, I run an Ivation wireless setup because my dome is way off.  I run the pit probe on the basket.

 

I hear y'all that I may have cooked too long, but I can assure you that I adjusted them on the grate every hour and at no point were they tender, else I would have pulled them and wrapped them.

 

Does anyone agree that my temps (closer to 200 than 220) was a factor?     Is it better to be 250-275 than 220 or less?    Like I mentioned, I've done some ribs before at the 275-300 temp before I got my Ivation and was using the dome thermos...and they came out better, except the thin end was charred to the point of inedible.   The thick end was awesome.

 

I've finally learned my grill, found a smoke flavor I love (oak) and  got butts and chicken down, but ribs are kicking my azz.

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Hi bcbz71

 

I am still fairly new to smoking and I had the same problems you did. Here is how i got around it. 

 

1. Trim your spare ribs. Check out some youtube vids on how to do it. I usually cut out the ribs baby back style. I keep the pretty ribs in the middle and the trimmed of pieces closer to the edge. If you have a rib rack even better.

 

2. Use a disposable drip pan no water. The Akorn holds moisture really well and i had difficulty getting a good bark on them with a water pan. You can 3 2 1 them but try doing them for 5 hours at 225 to 260 range. Kick it up to 275 300 to glaze them for 10 - 20 mins.

 

Just my 2 cents.

 

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@bcbz71 - there are several things wrong with your cook as you describe above.

 

1) 200° isn't going to feed the bulldog.  You need to get your grate temps up to 225° or better.  Anything less than 225° and all you're doing is spitting on a bonfire.

 

2) lose the water pan.  You don't need one when cooking on a kamado.  The cooking chamber is moist enough and you most assuredly do not need to add moisture.  Water pans are a carry over from drafty cookers like gassers, kettles, stick burners, etc.  forget whatever you think you know and let your kamado cook like a kamado.  Water pans are useless.

 

3) learn to control temps on your Akorn before you ruin any more cooks.  You don't know what vents settings yield which temps, so all you're doing is running after temps.  Forget dome teps.  You're not cooking ribs in the dome, you're cooking ribs on the cooking grate.  You haven't learned your Akorn one bit ... the fact that you couldn't get to 230 tells me you don't know your vent settings and you're fooling yourself when you state you kow your cooker.

 

4) as is stated above, forget the 3-2-1 method.  First it's meant for competition cooks by guys who really know their cookers.  to my mind 3-2-1- produces fall off the bone mush.  Ribs really well done have a slight bite and pull to them and this is the way competition ribs are judged.  Just because something like 3-2-1 is touted by folks in the competition arena doesn't mean it's appropriate for kamados.  Xref the discussion on water pan above.

 

5) take a Saturday and let how to control your Akorn.  You need to just load up the fore box with lump, light 'ER up, and slowly creep up on 225.  Your bottom vent is your gross temp control and your top vent is used to fine tune the temp.  So your bottom vent will remain unchanged between 200-300 and you'll only open your top vent a bit more to go from225 tp 250, then 265, and finally 300.  When you hit those temps, let your Akorn dwell at temp for 30 minutes to make certain you're stabilized.  Make not of the vent settings at every temp as these are invariant for your specific Akorn.  To move into the 300-400 temp realism, open your bottom vent some more and close down on your top vent.  Hit 300, then 325, 350, and 375.  Make absolutely certain you take notes on how fast temps climb when changing vent settings.  This is the response curve to your changes in vent settings.  Finally, open up your bottom vent a bit more and clamp down on your top vent for temps in the 400-500 range.  Again, do the exercise in 25 degree increments letting your Akorn dwell at temp for 30 minutes.  Unless and until you do this exercise, you don't know your Akorn and you'll be forever ruining cooks and chasing temps.

 

6) once you have placed a cook on the grill, close the dome and leave it closed.  Trust your kamado to do its job and you do yours.  Leave the dome lid shut.  That's your job.  Leave the some shut.  You have really no other job but to leave your dome shut.  The 3-2-1 method violates the first rule of BBQ cooking ... "if you're looking you ain't cooking.". That rule holds doubly true with your Akorn and rins.  Leave your dome shut.

 

7) if you must cut ribs to get them to fit on your Akorn, cut as close to the small end of the rack as you can.  You want to be able to test the doneness of the rack using the bend test.  By slicing your rack in the middle you have absolutely no possible way of legitimately testing your rack's doneness.  

 

You succinctly state that your ribs weren't up to par and that if you got these ribs in a restaurant, you wouldn't go back.  Well do what has been outlined above and don't cook your ribs like you did outlined above.  Listen to the advice given to you above else you'll be ruining cooks for a good long while.  The Gurus here mean to help you.  Take their advice and you'll be feeding your family great cooks for years to come.

 

I wish you well in learning how to control your Akorn, how to let your kamado be a kamado, and in learning how to produce great food on your Akorn.  

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Are you flipping them throughout the cook? Not sure what the veterans do, I'm a newb but I just do this for baby backs (did 2 today):

 

1. Remove membrane, yellow mustard rubbed in for binding, a light sea salt and pepper, generous BBQ dry rub over both sides.

 

2. onto 240ish Akorn that's settled in, drip pan below with some water in it. flip every 30 min for 2.5 hrs, spritz with apple juice. Brought inside, foiled it with butter, honey and brown sugar, another 2 hours in foil. 

 

3. Remove from foil and slathered both sides in Stubbs BBQ sauce. Back into grill 20-30 min each side

 

4. Bring in, rest for 5 min and cut em up.  

 

Didnt even smoke them yet, and people raved. Stole the recipe off YouTube. Akorn hovered from 215 to 275 with minor adjustments of vents depending if it was rising or falling. For most of the cook she locked in beautifully around 240-250....Remote digital probe a game changer. So much fun. 

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6 hours ago, New_England_Akorn said:

Ceramic chef water pan a waste? Should I bother with a drip pan or just let it go onto diffuser stone?

 

I always use a drp pan.  I clean kamado is a safe kamado.  Grease collecting in your kamado is dangerous.  That's one way to suffer a serious burn from a flashback.  Additionally, grease turns rancid between cooks and produces a foul taste on your cook.  A drp pan and a water pan are two entirely different concepts.  Hope this helps.

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