• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

  • product-image-quickten.png.a40203b506711f7664fc62024e54a584.pngDid you know that these all-volunteer forums are operated by the 501(c)3 not-for-profit Society for Culinary Arts & Letters? This holiday season, consider a tax-deductible Quick Ten Bucks to support the eG Forums and help us remain completely advertising-free. Thanks to all those who have donated so far!

wawa

Ribs, how to keep them moist on the BBQ

32 posts in this topic

Hello all

I have a set of baby back ribs ready in the freezer and now that the sumer is finaly arriving I wish to grill/smoke them.

Last time I did it, I used a Dry rub and let set overnight, then slowly cook for 2-3 hours in the BBQ with some wood chip for smooky flavor. The taste was perfect, meat well done and falling of the bone but the ribs were a little dry. I remember reading somewhere, but cant find it back, that some people spray the rib regularly during the cooking/smoking process. Something like water, cider vinegar and other liquid, put in a spray bootle, and spay a little every 15-20 minutes. At the and of cooking, of course rubs with BBQ sauce.

Anyone heard of that liquid to spray, have any receipt and success with that sort of technic?

Thanks

wawa

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use a combination of bourbon, apple juice and maple syrup. both on ribs and on slow smoked pork shoulders. It seems to work well.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Baby backs are generally quite lean- I do not treat them like regular pork ribs. Their cooking time is much much less. I would precook just a bit with sauce on in the oven - perhaps a half hour at 400 and then just finish with the sauce on the grill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really? I slow cook baby backs. 3 or four hours usually. In the oven at 250, on the smoker at 230 or so and on the bbq, on indirect heat at 250 then finished at a higher heat with sauce.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello all

I have a set of baby back ribs ready in the freezer and now that the sumer is finaly arriving I wish to grill/smoke them.

Last time I did it, I used a Dry rub and let set overnight, then slowly cook for 2-3 hours in the BBQ with some wood chip for smooky flavor. The taste was perfect, meat well done and falling of the bone but the ribs were a little dry. I remember reading somewhere, but cant find it back, that some people spray the rib regularly during the cooking/smoking process. Something like water, cider vinegar and other liquid, put in a spray bootle, and spay a little every 15-20 minutes. At the and of cooking, of course rubs with BBQ sauce.

Anyone heard of that liquid to spray, have any receipt and success with that sort of technic?

Thanks

wawa

  • Back ribs are leaner than spares so they are pretty easy to dry out
  • If your rub has a lot of salt in it it can pull moisture out of your ribs if you leave it on that long
  • If your ribs were falling off the bone they were overcooked and that contributed to the dryness

That being said, spraying the ribs will help keep the bark soft but every time you spray them your cooker has to come back up to temperature so you increase your cooking time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I smoked some baby backs about a week ago @ 280º for two hours, indirect heat with hickory chunks smoking beside the lump charcoal, then wrapped in foil and cooked another hour, then finished over hot coals with some sauce being baked in. They were moist and tender but not falling off the bone. If they were then they cooked at too high a temperature for too long. That is why they tasted dry. I spray mine with apple juice and put Oklahoma Joe;s rub on then the night before.

Spare ribs take about 5-6 hours and beef back ribs take even longer. Baby backs do not take as long.


Edited by Norm Matthews (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When my dad cooks ribs, he keeps the grill relatively hot to give it just enough time for the connective tissue to soften without making the meat mushy or dry. To keep it moist, he swears by a pan of diluted apple juice in the smoker. He never sprays the ribs because that does interfere with the bark.

And I have to agree with Slamdunkpro - if your rub has a lot of salt, don't leave it on long.

As far as doneness, what you're looking for is to have the meat tender enough to pull away from the bones at with only slight pressure, but you don't want it falling off them on its own.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm finding that the rub plays a big roll in keeping my spareribs moist. The only salt in my rub is from the celery salt.

My rub:

1/2 c brown sugar

1/2 c onion powder

1/2 c paprika

2 T cumin

1 T celery salt

1 T black pepper

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I put my baby backs in the slow cooker with just BBQ sauce generously slathered on top. If there's a lot then they get stacked in layers arches running opposite so they only touch each other on the edges. Then I cook them all day on low (7-10 hours). Then I carefully lift them out and finish on medium indirect heat on the BBQ. I used to cook them about 6-8 minutes on side, basting with sauce when they go on and the agin when they get turned. But recently I have been just leaving them bone side down for about 20 minutes bone side down and basting the top 3 times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did some sideribs on my water bullet smoker yesterday . 2 hrs at 220-230F . I had just water in the drip pan , but I boiled it first so that it wouldn't take so long to heat up in the smoker. Dry rub just before they went on the smoker. After the two hrs I started spraying with a mop every 20 mins to half hour for approx 2 more hrs. The mop was just water and apple cider vinegar. I would normally also have apple juice as part of the mix but I didn't have any. Final doneness determined by internal temp not by timing .

Thermapen to 185 F in the thickest part of the meat between bones. This was actually about 5 degrees higher than I had wanted to go but it stayed very moist and the collagen had broken down nicely.

It really pays to get a decent thermometer so you don't over cook your meat.


"Why is the rum always gone?"

Captain Jack Sparrow

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For spare or St louis ribs I use 3-2-1 and for baby backs I use 2.5-1-1

The first number is hours in the smoker at 220

The second number is wrapped in foil with about 1/2 cup of apple juice or beer and smoked at 190.

The third number is back at 220 with smoke to firm them back up after what is basically a braise in step 2 (this time is varied by rib sometimes they're ready in half the time; sometimes it takes twice as long).

I have found that ribs are better judged by feel than with a thermometer (and I'm a fanatic about using a meat thermometer in other instances). Ribs are just too thin and have very different thicknesses from one end to the other. I usually just use a toothpick and put it in between bones towards the thick end. When it goes through without resistance, they are done.

If you don't care about presenting them as whole slabs, I've found I get better results cutting the slabs in half so that I can pull the smaller end first. It enables you to get more even cooking.

When I pull my ribs, I wrap them and stick them in a cooler for at least 30 minutes. This allows them to rest and evens out the cooking.

Edited to add: I also rub yellow mustard on my ribs several hours before putting them on to smoke and apply the rub on top of that. Don't worry if you're not a fan of yellow mustard. You can't really taste it in the final product.


Edited by BadRabbit (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like BadRabbit. I employ a similar technique for spares on my smoker. The standard 3-2-1 is a little too long in my opinion. I lean more toward the times BadRabbit listed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as doneness, what you're looking for is to have the meat tender enough to pull away from the bones at with only slight pressure, but you don't want it falling off them on its own.

Right. In fact, the KCBS instructs the judges at its cookoffs to hold up the ribs and give them a little shake to be sure that they are not "falling off the bone." If they are, they are disqualified from the competition, going on the theory that anybody can overcook meat.

They tell the judges that the meat should have enough texture that you know you're eating meat and not mush, and definitely require some pressure to come loose from the bone. If they've been perfectly smoked, the bone will turn white where you take your bite and pull the meat off it.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the best way to keep ribs moist is to keep them covered for most of the cooking time. My standard methodolgy is the following:

1. Apply rub to ribs night before or at least 3-4 hours before cooking.

2. Wrap in foil with a tiny amount of liquid (I like beer)

3. Cook in oven at 250 for 2-3 hours depending on size of ribs.

4. Apply bbq sauce and finish on grill or oven on higher heat until bbq sauce forms a glaze.

Ribs this way are always tender and moist, but still have just enough bite to the meat. It took me a long time to come around to abandoning the grill in favor of the oven for most of the cooking time, but once I did my ribs improved greatly. The downside is that the ribs aren't as smoky as some folks like. I generally prefer a lighter smoke taste so for me this way makes a lot of sense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just realized that my instructions above weren't completely clear and it's too late to edit. Step 3 is unwrapped.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are many ways to prepare any particular cut of meat but if you slather ribs with sauce and braise them in a slow cooker or seal them in foil and steam them in the oven, then finish them on the grill, you will undoubtedly produce some good tasting ribs but please do not call it barbecue.


Edited by Norm Matthews (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for all the reply.

With all that reading in mind, I will try something this weekend that I think will yeild something really great. Can wait to tast them!!

Later all

wawa

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course you should cook them until you like the tenderness. Who cares what some BBQ judge thinks. If you like it falling off the bone, cook them until they are falling off the bone.

I've always braised them in the oven but I'm excited to smoke some this summer on my new, incredibly old and used, egg.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who cares what some BBQ judge thinks.

Interestingly enough, a great many people, it appears.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The original post said this...The taste was perfect, meat well done and falling of the bone but the ribs were a little dry. Falling off the bone and a little dry are cause and effect. They were overcooked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My procedure with ribs, using a dedicated smoker, is similar to the one posted by BadRabbit:

• The rib racks are cut in half, and the rub is applied just prior to starting the smoke. I mix equal amounts of red wine vinegar and canola oil with the rub to form a paste and “paint” the ribs with it. I occasionally substitute yellow mustard for the vinegar and oil. I then place the ribs in the smoker meat side up.

• Smoke ribs @ 200F for 1 hour.

• Increase smoker temperature to 250F and smoke ribs smoke ribs for 2 hours.

• I then remove the ribs from the smoker and place them meat side down on sheets of foil. Using a bottle of Parkay squeeze margarine, I apply 3-4 thin lines of it on each rib. I then distribute a mixture made up of brown sugar, syrup, apricot preserves, hot sauce, pimenton, and garlic powder to each rib. I then close the foil and place ribs in the smoker meat side down, still @ 250F, for 1 hour.

• I remove the ribs from the smoker, apply a light coating of my favorite sauce, then place the ribs, meat side up and uncovered, in an oven pre-heated to 300F for 15 minutes. Done.

The times given are what I go by for spares. Obviously, a little less time is needed for back ribs. In either case, the times are only guidelines. Other factors come into play such as the quality and size (weight) of the rib racks, the ability of your smoker or other cooker to maintain a consistent temperature, etc. Bottom line is that you need to monitor the process, especially towards the end. Trying to get an accurate read of the meat temperature cooking multiple racks is pointless, even with a Thermapen. Just do the toothpick test. You’ll probably find that some racks need to be removed before others. Just hold them until all are done, and finish in the oven as described.

If I have my timing right, I foil, towel, and cooler the ribs for 1 hour, then serve.

As others have said, falling off the bone is overcooked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right. In fact, the KCBS instructs the judges at its cookoffs to hold up the ribs and give them a little shake to be sure that they are not "falling off the bone." If they are, they are disqualified from the competition, going on the theory that anybody can overcook meat.

This is incorrect. Competitors are not disqualified for overcooking, but their scores will reflect it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right. In fact, the KCBS instructs the judges at its cookoffs to hold up the ribs and give them a little shake to be sure that they are not "falling off the bone." If they are, they are disqualified from the competition, going on the theory that anybody can overcook meat.

This is incorrect. Competitors are not disqualified for overcooking, but their scores will reflect it.

I did not say that the "competitor" would be disqualified. The competitor can continue to compete in other categories.

What I said was that if the ribs "fall off of the bone," the RIBS are disqualified from the judging. The rules specifically state that the ribs must be turned in, and eaten, "bone in."

And that is 100% correct.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as doneness, what you're looking for is to have the meat tender enough to pull away from the bones at with only slight pressure, but you don't want it falling off them on its own.

Right. In fact, the KCBS instructs the judges at its cookoffs to hold up the ribs and give them a little shake to be sure that they are not "falling off the bone." If they are, they are disqualified from the competition, going on the theory that anybody can overcook meat.

They tell the judges that the meat should have enough texture that you know you're eating meat and not mush, and definitely require some pressure to come loose from the bone. If they've been perfectly smoked, the bone will turn white where you take your bite and pull the meat off it.

It's been a few years since I took the KCBS Judges certification, but this is news to me. We were told that "fall off the bone" ribs were overcooked and should not score high in the texture component but they were not disqualified.

A disqualification would be if there were fewer than 6 separate portions in the box, marking of the box (toothpicks, brisket rosettes etc), or cutting a pork butt into smaller portions before cooking. I'm sure there's a few more but it has been a couple years.


That's the thing about opposum inerds, they's just as tasty the next day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as doneness, what you're looking for is to have the meat tender enough to pull away from the bones at with only slight pressure, but you don't want it falling off them on its own.

Right. In fact, the KCBS instructs the judges at its cookoffs to hold up the ribs and give them a little shake to be sure that they are not "falling off the bone." If they are, they are disqualified from the competition, going on the theory that anybody can overcook meat.

They tell the judges that the meat should have enough texture that you know you're eating meat and not mush, and definitely require some pressure to come loose from the bone. If they've been perfectly smoked, the bone will turn white where you take your bite and pull the meat off it.

It's been a few years since I took the KCBS Judges certification, but this is news to me. We were told that "fall off the bone" ribs were overcooked and should not score high in the texture component but they were not disqualified.

A disqualification would be if there were fewer than 6 separate portions in the box, marking of the box (toothpicks, brisket rosettes etc), or cutting a pork butt into smaller portions before cooking. I'm sure there's a few more but it has been a couple years.

Well, I suppose there is always going to be individual interpretation, but it's only been one year since I took the KCBS judges certification, and we were told that pretty specifically.

In fact, I'm sure when you took the class, they brought in sample boxes to judge. One of the ones they brought to us did have the ribs falling off of the bone. They looked fine in the box, but when you picked them up, you couldn't keep the bone attached to the meat. That box was specifically prepared that way in order to demonstrate to us that that particular box of ribs would be disqualified, and not judged.

I don't know if things have changed since you took the certification class, or if individual instructors interpret the rules differently.

But when I took that class, they were very definite about it. And, as I say, even prepared one of the sample boxes to be sure we understood.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.