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pjackso

Rib Trouble...

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I love smoking ribs slowly for hours but I always seem to get a hard crust that takes away from that wonderful tender texture you'd usually get in a rib joint.

I usually cook 'em at 225 degrees for about 6 hours over charcoal and alder wood.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated. :biggrin:


"You like Thai?"

"Yea, you like shirt?" -Trent Steele & Max Power (From The Simpsons Episode No. 216)

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Your temp can be lowered. You also seem to need a little more humidity in your smoker. Either smoke more product at the same time or add a water pan to your rig.


Barnstormer BBQ

Rt. 9W

Fort Montgomery NY

845 446 0912

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any idea what's forming the hard crust? Dried meat? Then you'll need more moisture. Burnt sugar? Then less or no sugar in rub or whatever else you might be putting on those ribs.

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Sugar tends to burn in a smoker so I never include it in a mop. By the way, do you mop? Baby back ribs don't have much fat so it's definitely important to mop a lean meat that's in a smoker for a long time. I tend to use a basic mustard vinaigrette -- something acidic to cut through the richness of the pork but also some oil to help the meat out.

Also, make sure to brine (1 cup kosher salt to a gallon of water) the ribs too -- it'll make 'em juicier and less susceptable to temp spikes.

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Try using the following technique:

Cook as normal for the first three hours.

Create a makeshift foil pan using aluminum foil to hold the ribs. Place ribs in foil pan, add some apple juice and a bit more rub, and then close the pan with more foil, proceed to cook two more hours.

Unfoil and cook for the last hour as normal.

3-2-1 method

woodburner

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I agree with the notion that you might need to cut back the amount of sugar in your rub, or cut back on the amount of rub on the ribs.

I also like to "finish" my ribs before I serve them to soften up the texture just a bit. I take a big foil lasagna pan and put about a cup of barbecue vinegar in the bottom. Then I put in the racks of ribs (uncut) and cover the pan tightly with foil. Put in the oven at about 180 degrees until ready to serve, I like to give 'em at least an hour that way and at 180 covered, they hold pretty much indefinitely.

Barbecue vinegar (I use same thing to mop) can be whatever you like, but I do this:

1/2 gallon white vinegar

1 quart cider vinegar

1 quart water

add the following spices to taste (i.e. how salty and/or spicy do you like it)

salt

fine ground pepper

paprika

chili powder

dry mustard powder

dry crushed red pepper

For serving, I like to use more of the vinegar and Texas Pete rather than sweet BBQ sauce.

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i would also vote for wrapping in foil at the end of the smoking. usually i just lay them on tin foil, spray with apple juice to keep them moist, and wrap them up for an hour to two hours after smoking for three or four. then unwrap and baste with sauce. it will make your ribs incredibly moist and tender. if you don't like them literally falling off the bone, wrap them for less time.

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What kind of ribs? If baby back, that's way too long. If spare ribs, make sure and get the fattest rack around. And, mop, if it looks like you need to. I just pour on some oil and wipe it around with a paper towel (I'm high tech!). And, brine them before hand. And, keep your heat below 225. Pull 'em off not by time, but by when you can easily pull a bone out. Start them on the grill/smoker as cold as they can be.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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You need to mop, my friend.

PS. Regarding brining spare ribs: Certainly it wouldn't hurt if you have the time and the energy. But I smoke about 250 lbs of spares a year for various things and never brined one yet. There's enough moisture in my ribs at the end of the 6-hour cook that you can:

1. tug gently on a bone and it will come out clean

2. wrap in foil and reheat and the meat will fall off the bone (not my thing, but some people like it)

To be sure, YMMV.

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Yesterday I did two racks of spares. No brine, no mop, just about 6 hours on the WSM. Very good. I do wrap them in foil when they come off and let them rest an hour or so. Tender and juicy. They do get a little bark on them but I like that. If you don't I agree that the 3-2-1 method should help. Although I think 4-1-1 is better.

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