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First Time Smoking Ribs -- Results & Questions


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So I smoked some ribs yesterday (pics to follow) and I had a couple questions, which I'll list below. It was just two of us, so I went with just one rack of pre-cut St Louis Style ribs. I was hoping to grab a full set of spares from the store, but they only had a ton of St Louis pre-trimmed sets. I used Oakridge BBQ's Dominator Sweet Rib Rub and glazed with Texas Pepper Jelly Craig's BBQ Sauce for the final 30 mins or so. Overall, they turned out pretty good but I'm hoping the forum here can help answer some questions (I may have an idea of what the answer is, but thought the experts here will have more knowledge than I). At any rate, questions below, and pics after that. I can't wait to smoke a pork butt in the next few weeks. Thanks and Enjoy!

 

Kamado Joe, indirect of course. Heat deflector in lower position, ribs on top rack

Aimed for 250 but the BJ held at 270 basically the whole cook

Apple wood

Spritzed with Apple Juice/Apple Cider Vinegar mix at the 2 hr mark every 20-ish minutes for an hour

Glazed 30 mins prior to pulling

Cooked about 5-5.5 hrs total

 

1 -- The ribs were fall off the bone tender, which is how we like them, however the bottom of the ribs were crusty/crispy. The rub has sugar in it, but I didn't think sugar would burn at that low temp. Any suggestions on what may have caused this? I did some research and couldn't find much. Unfortunately I didn't take a photo of this.

2 -- I haven't calibrated my dome thermometer. I did notice when I reverse-seared a steak last week that it overcooked before sear, so I'm thinking this may be the issue.

3 -- Pretty sure the ribs I got were a much smaller set than I anticipated. They weren't quite as tender as I was hoping for, but still came off the bone clean. Could the size be a reason why they were 'overcooked' a bit and the bottom crisped up?

 

Photos:

 

Seasoned, letting the BJ get to temp:

20180617_133531.thumb.jpg.378b1a7036de23f4d0a593a379a667da.jpg

 

2-hour mark:

20180617_163514.thumb.jpg.2a1307d25fd3bde1e1803e06069b1d9c.jpg

 

3-hour 15min mark:

20180617_174547.thumb.jpg.33448c022b0fd77ace3ba9b23e1efcb8.jpg

 

4-hour mark:

20180617_182412.thumb.jpg.c9801754dcc36ecca916ae03b1c0fa14.jpg

 

Final Product (5.5 hours):

20180617_195837.thumb.jpg.8129416b10ab1bccdb6705e14f240fe4.jpg

 

Cut:

20180617_200804.thumb.jpg.aace8bf151e7d1cabeff8ae90259dbbc.jpg

 

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Cooked them too long for that temp, 250 would have worked better for that length of time.

275 works well for shorter cooks, like say 2.5 to 3 hours.

Also, you should consider wrapping (with added liquid) for hour toward the end of the cook and then run 30 minutes uncovered to dry them a bit as the wet wrap makes them well, wet.

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1 hour ago, Chasdev said:

Cooked them too long for that temp, 250 would have worked better for that length of time.

275 works well for shorter cooks, like say 2.5 to 3 hours.

Also, you should consider wrapping (with added liquid) for hour toward the end of the cook and then run 30 minutes uncovered to dry them a bit as the wet wrap makes them well, wet.

Awesome, thank you! I know I have more to learn this being my first attempt. I figured it was a bit too long/too hot, I just didn't want to chase temps or try to cool the Kamado Joe once it settled at about 270 (couldn't get it lower early on...).

 

These ribs were plenty sticky, which I think is attributed to the amount of sugar in the BBQ sauce -- definitely sugar heavy. That coupled with the sugar in the rub it doubled-down on the sticky bark. I'll try wrapping next time, though I've heard kamados might not need it -- it all comes down to personal preference, though. Thanks again

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I like my baby backs just about falling off the bone and wrapping after the second hour steams them which really helps with that.

Best way to tell if they are cooked is to pick them up with tongs, held in the middle the ribs should be floppy and loose and may even start to crack open or try to split in two.

I used to cook at 225 and go four or more hours but these days I shoot for 275 and get her done in around three.

Only difference is perhaps the small end ribs may get overdone, but the rest will be fine.

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On 6/19/2018 at 2:27 PM, Ryno656 said:

 I'll try wrapping next time, though I've heard kamados might not need it -- it all comes down to personal preference, though. Thanks again

 

 

I'm new to kamado cooking but have cooked a lot of ribs and I had heard the same thing.  I did my first batch of ribs recently and didn't wrap them and wasn't completely happy with the result.  I'll wrap them next time.  The difference for me is that time under wrap breaks them down so they don't stay on the grill as long and risk drying out or burning.  In my case they never got as tender as my wife likes them but I felt like if I left them on long enough to get that tender the outside would pay the price.  

 

Both ways work for sure but for the way we like to eat them, I'm probably in the wrap camp.

 

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I follow Meathead's last meal ribs recipe for the most part. I cook at 225 for about 5-6 hours (you might do longer for fall-off-the-bone as I leave them a little firmer). I find wrapping totally unnecessary with this temp and timing. I also do not spray or mop. I've found that doing so spikes the dome temperature, which I think has to do with the steam generated. I use a rib rack.

 

I cook only with a dry rub, no sauce. If I want sauce I coat them when they are done and give them a few more minutes on the grill with the sauce on.

 

My ribs are fantastic. I've only done them twice and have been thrilled with the result both times using these methods.

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If you want to wrap, that’s fine..but it’s completely unnecessary and extra work. I believe you simply cooked too long at that temperature. For fotb ribs, at 270°, 4-4.5 hours is enough. You can adjust as you care to, a lower temp may give a more desirable color, but I’m into flavor, not color so much. 

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On 6/18/2018 at 12:30 PM, Ryno656 said:

1 -- The ribs were fall off the bone tender, which is how we like them, however the bottom of the ribs were crusty/crispy. The rub has sugar in it, but I didn't think sugar would burn at that low temp. Any suggestions on what may have caused this? I did some research and couldn't find much. Unfortunately I didn't take a photo of this.

 

20180617_163514.thumb.jpg.2a1307d25fd3bde1e1803e06069b1d9c.jpg

 

Nicely done! Causes of the crust: first, there is the question of membrane on or off, then the combination of sugar and just the natural process of bark formation, particularly if you don't wrap at some point in the cook. however, I have a sneaking suspicion that the prime culprit is a possible gap in the deflector plates. In the above pic, they appear tho fit snug at the back of the grill but have a gap toward the front. I make it a point of emphasis on low and slows to have these fit as tight as possible.

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On 6/25/2018 at 11:03 AM, SeaBrisket said:

I follow Meathead's last meal ribs recipe for the most part. I cook at 225 for about 5-6 hours (you might do longer for fall-off-the-bone as I leave them a little firmer). I find wrapping totally unnecessary with this temp and timing. I also do not spray or mop. I've found that doing so spikes the dome temperature, which I think has to do with the steam generated. I use a rib rack.

 

I cook only with a dry rub, no sauce. If I want sauce I coat them when they are done and give them a few more minutes on the grill with the sauce on.

 

My ribs are fantastic. I've only done them twice and have been thrilled with the result both times using these methods.

 

This is similar to what I did the other day. Almost three hours at 225 then wrapped for 2 hours with butter beer and a little sauce very little. Dry rubbed in the beginning and sat at room temp for 45 minutes. Temp went up to about 275 near the end of cool but they were fall off the bone and damn delicious. 

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19 hours ago, CentralTexBBQ said:

 

Nicely done! Causes of the crust: first, there is the question of membrane on or off, then the combination of sugar and just the natural process of bark formation, particularly if you don't wrap at some point in the cook. however, I have a sneaking suspicion that the prime culprit is a possible gap in the deflector plates. In the above pic, they appear tho fit snug at the back of the grill but have a gap toward the front. I make it a point of emphasis on low and slows to have these fit as tight as possible.

I took the membrane off, and honestly I thought I fit the deflector as tight as I could get it, but don't really remember. It could be the shape of that edge on the deflector that makes it look like there's a gap, but in looking at the pic, you could be right -- looks to be a small separation. Either way, consensus is like I thought: too high for too long, deflector could have lead to it, as well. No big deal, many more cooks to come!

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 Looking at  The pic of the 4 hour mark, i like the way the bark was setting, so if they were not tender enough at that point, I would have wrapped them. looking at the 5.5 hour pic, they were in the smoker uncovered too long. Black is not good Q, at least for ribs. Lots of folks here always do "This" and never do "That", but each cook is different. sometimes ribs needs a wrap, sometimes not. sometimes 4 hours is enough, other times it takes 6. Watch your product, get the feel for how the cook is progressing, and you will be better off. there is a reason there is no one foolproof method of cooking ribs, brisket, or anything for that matter. 

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Are you cooking to a temp?  From here and videos on ribs, I have watched, I never do that.  I try to cook at 250.  I spritz with apple juice and I usually start probing after 4 hours.  Once your probe slides through like butter you are done.  My ribs usually go 4 to 4.5 hours. No  wrapping for now, but I may start using butcher paper as some members of the family are not fond of bark.

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On 6/27/2018 at 6:58 PM, 5DPatrick said:

 Looking at  The pic of the 4 hour mark, i like the way the bark was setting, so if they were not tender enough at that point, I would have wrapped them. looking at the 5.5 hour pic, they were in the smoker uncovered too long. Black is not good Q, at least for ribs. Lots of folks here always do "This" and never do "That", but each cook is different. sometimes ribs needs a wrap, sometimes not. sometimes 4 hours is enough, other times it takes 6. Watch your product, get the feel for how the cook is progressing, and you will be better off. there is a reason there is no one foolproof method of cooking ribs, brisket, or anything for that matter. 

the "black" is due to the bbq sauce glaze for the last 30 minutes. they weren't that color before that point. it was a dark mahogany brown, just looks black in the photo

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16 hours ago, uhmump95 said:

Are you cooking to a temp?  From here and videos on ribs, I have watched, I never do that.  I try to cook at 250.  I spritz with apple juice and I usually start probing after 4 hours.  Once your probe slides through like butter you are done.  My ribs usually go 4 to 4.5 hours. No  wrapping for now, but I may start using butcher paper as some members of the family are not fond of bark.

no, not cooking ribs to temp, i just did the bend test.

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