Advice needed for ribs

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Advice needed for ribs

Post  Novice on Sun Aug 10, 2008 7:30 pm

Have any of you got a simple foolproof recipe for
1, Baby back ribs
2, Spare ribs
I've cooked chickens, pulled pork, more chickens, a leg of lamb & even more chickens & all have come out great, but I can't seem to get my ribs right. I can't seem to make them tender.
In the past, after using sub standard cuts & mistaking baby backs for spares, I had some understandable problems.

I have cooked them while cooking other things (mostly chickens), so forgiven myself, because maybe the part of the cooker the ribs were in was not the correct temp. Maybe I was too busy monitoring the temp of the chickens to notice the ribs going wrong.

So today I tried baby backs on their own, without other distractions. I have a Frontier & used a single stacker. I got two really nice racks of baby back ribs. Last night I covered them in all purpose bbq rub & put them in the fridge. I fired up the smoker this morning, put a bowl of hot water in & waited 1.5 hrs for the smoker to stabilize. The ribs went in (lying flat, bone side down) at 245F but within 1/2 hr that was down to 225f, where it pretty much stayed. Every 45mins I sprayed with apple juice & put on a small handful of soaked wood chips.
I did this for 3hrs, then brushed the ribs with bbq sauce, 1/2 hr later I did this again but dropped them onto the grate, right above the coals, for 30 seconds, just enough to caramelize the sauce.

They tasted good, but were getting towards tough, no where near tender. (The most tender ribs were the shorter ends).

Am I running to hot? For too long? Not long enough?

I had debate last night with some friends who said you should boil ribs to make them tender, I said not. I'm glad they did not come round today for the taste test today. If someone has a simple (even if it's not competition standard) recipe, I'd be very grateful.

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Re: Advice needed for ribs

Post  jenks_24 on Sun Aug 10, 2008 7:52 pm

Hey Novice,

I had a lot of the same issues when it comes to ribs. The guys on this forum helped me a lot. I would say what helped me was...foil! One - two hours unfoiled to smoke, one - two hours in the foil. Remove the waterpan, unfoil and baste with your favorite sauce. Depending on how many ribs you have (and personal tastes), work with this method. I'm starting to get pretty good at ribs now. Wish I had a camera though.

Jenx
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Re: Advice needed for ribs

Post  BowtieBill on Sun Aug 10, 2008 8:09 pm

What Jenks said.
I usually smoke for 3 hours, foil with a little juice (apple or pineapple) for 1.5, unwrap and place back on smoker. Baste with a glaze or favorite sauce, or no sauce if you prefer. Usually keep on for about an hour, or until done.
This method is for Spares, adjust times for BB's.
If you do not foil, you need to smoke spares for about 7 hours for them to get tender. Do not sauce until near end.
Good luck,
Bill
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Re: Advice needed for ribs

Post  ThomEmery on Sun Aug 10, 2008 10:05 pm

Rib Boiling oh my
Next thing ya know they will tell ya to use lighter fluid
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Re: Advice needed for ribs

Post  jenks_24 on Mon Aug 11, 2008 7:43 pm

ThomEmery wrote:Rib Boiling oh my
Next thing ya know they will tell ya to use lighter fluid

Hey Thom,

What do you suggest?

Jenx
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Re: Advice needed for ribs

Post  Novice on Mon Aug 11, 2008 8:25 pm

Thanks for the advice guy's, any more recommendations will be welcome.

A step by step idiots guide is fine, just so I can get a result I'm pleased with, tender ribs, rather than ones I have to fight to get the meat off the bone.

My main motivation for getting a smoker was to do ribs, although I've had some great meals out of it, I still want to nail spares & baby backs, so keep the recipes coming!

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Re: Advice needed for ribs

Post  ThomEmery on Mon Aug 11, 2008 11:26 pm

Try 3 hours at 225 with Rub only
1.5 hours in foil with a splash of Apple Juice at 225
1 Hour still at 225 flat on the grill add BBQ Sauce now

This is your basic Spare Rib cook plan
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Re: Advice needed for ribs

Post  BowtieBill on Tue Aug 12, 2008 12:02 am

ThomEmery wrote:Try 3 hours at 225 with Rub only
1.5 hours in foil with a splash of Apple Juice at 225
1 Hour still at 225 flat on the grill add BBQ Sauce now

This is your basic Spare Rib cook plan


Thom,
That's what I said. You just don't want to give up any of your award winning secrets. Cool
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Re: Advice needed for ribs

Post  ThomEmery on Wed Aug 13, 2008 4:26 am

A lil honey a lil Apple Butter
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Re: Advice needed for ribs

Post  jenks_24 on Wed Aug 13, 2008 7:35 pm

Great advice Thom!

Thanks

Jenx Smile
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Re: Advice needed for ribs

Post  ThomEmery on Thu Aug 14, 2008 4:09 am

There are a couple of BBQ books out there that would help
Doc BBQ s books have been great for us
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Re: Advice needed for ribs

Post  Novice on Thu Aug 14, 2008 7:59 am

Thanks guy's, it's all helpful, Thom if you could give a little more info on the books I'd appreciate it (author & title), I'm struggling to find them on amazon. I have smoke & spice, & that has been useful.

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Re: Advice needed for ribs

Post  ThomEmery on Thu Aug 14, 2008 2:15 pm

Novice wrote:Thanks guy's, it's all helpful, Thom if you could give a little more info on the books I'd appreciate it (author & title), I'm struggling to find them on amazon. I have smoke & spice, & that has been useful.

Here are a couple that is very useful
DR. BBQ AKA Ray Lampe "Big Time Barbeque Cookbook"
easy to follow great for new cooks

"Peace Love and Barbeque" by Mike Mills has a story along with the cookbook

You will wow the family with your BBQ from these
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Re: Advice needed for ribs

Post  gandalf on Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:14 pm

Novice, here's what I do from start to finish (note that this is for whole racks of spares).....

1. Remove film thingy from inside spares (can't remember what it's called)
2. Rub spares whith whatever flavour you want
3. Load into frontier in rib rack holder thing (I can't remember what temp I normally run at but I have the water pan full of 2 kettle's full of boiling water and the charcoal pan full of mostly lit lump and leave for the temp to sttle for about 1/2 hour
4. Spray with apple juice and scotch every 45 mins or so
5. After 3 hours remove ribs, coat with sauce and wrap with foil after spraying with some more juice and scotch
6. Leave for 2-3 hours
7. Unwrap and throw on grill over coals to char and caramalise sauce
8. Tuck in

This is kind of the 3-2-1 method without the 1 and it always seems to work for me. I have to be carefull when putting the ribs on the grill at the end 'cos they're starting to fall apart at that point they're so tender.
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Re: Advice needed for ribs

Post  Novice on Wed Aug 20, 2008 5:21 pm

Thanks for the book info Thom, & thats great info Gandalf, just what I need, I'll try this for my next attempt.

If anyone has the timings for baby back ribs as well, I'd find this very useful.

Thanks again

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Re: Advice needed for ribs

Post  gandalf on Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:10 pm

Forgot to mention, I also add some wood chips every now and then Very Happy

For baby backs I think the 3-2-1 method is normally changed to a 2-2-1 as the bbs have less fat and so dry out easier when not foiled.
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Here's what has worked for me...

Post  ILBBQS.com on Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:57 am

Following is a bit I wrote to another forum member about ribs. It isn't neccessarily the best way, but it has been working for me.

There are a couple of methods that I use for cooking ribs. Neither of them involve checking the internal temp of the ribs.

1st Method: This is the way I have been cooking them this year has netted me Top 10 calls in the 4 contests I have cooked in. This is by far the easiest method...almost too easy in its simplicity.

1. Rub meat and wrap in plastic wrap to rest. When cooking at home, I try to get this done the day before cooking them.
2. Get smoker (or offset kettle) hot and ready for food.
3. While smoker is coming up to temp, take ribs out of cooler/refrigerator and unwrap. Sprinkle with additional rub.
4. Place the on the smoker, bone side down, close lid and forget about them for hours. Yep, forget about them. As long as you can know and control the smoker temps without opening the lid, just leave the lid closed and forget about them. If you're cooking baby back ribs, check them after about 3 hours for doneness...they probably will not be done, but check them. If you want to mist/baste them, this is a good time to do so. Replace/close the lid and give them another hour (less or more depending on doneness) and check again...mist/baste again at this point if you desire. Spare Ribs are cooked the same way, but will take longer due to their size and typical density.
5. When the ribs are done*, remove them from smoker, slather both sides with butter, drizzle both sides with honey, slather both sides with barbeque sauce. Let rest for a couple of minutes, slice, serve, enjoy.

Method 2: This method is used by scores of competition teams around the world to varying degrees of success. A lot (for both methods) will depend on quality of meat, so please use these methods as general guides only.

1. Rub meat and wrap in plastic wrap to rest. When cooking at home, I try to get this done the day before cooking them.
2. Get smoker (or offset kettle) hot and ready for food.
3. While smoker is coming up to temp, take ribs out of cooler/refrigerator and unwrap. Sprinkle with additional rub.
4. Place the on the smoker, bone side down, close lid and forget about them for around 3 hours. As long as you can know and control the smoker temps without opening the lid, just leave the lid closed and forget about them.
5. Around the 3 hour mark, remove ribs from smoker and tightly wrap in aluminum foil. Before completely sealing off the foil, pour a little juice (I typically use apple juice) into the foil pack and then seal tightly…making sure to not puncture the foil. You are, in essence, going to be steaming the ribs in the juice for the next 1 to 2 hours. 1 hour if doing baby backs, 2 hours if doing spare ribs.
6. After the steaming process, remove the ribs back to the cooking grate (bone side down for this entire method). Generously baste them with the juice that has collected in the bottom of the foil pack then close off the smoker to allow the ribs to firm back up.
7. After 15 to 20 minutes open the smoker, baste with warmed sauce (both sides) and put back on smoker for another 15 to 20 minutes.
8. After 15 to 20 minutes open the smoker, baste with warmed sauce (both sides) and put back on smoker.
9. When the ribs are done*, remove them from smoker, let them rest for a couple of minutes, slice, serve, enjoy.

*To check for doneness, there are a couple of popular methods. One way to check is the 'toothpick' method. Insert a toothpick into a meaty part of the ribs (between the bones), and pull back out...kinda like checking a cake for doneness...if the toothpick can be inserted and removed without any resistance, the ribs are done. The way I prefer is the 'bend' test. Using a long set of tongs, pick up the slab of ribs, running parallel to the long edges of the rack, and only grabbing the rack of ribs about half way down the length. If, when you pick them up, the slab bends to a near 90 degree angle...they are done.

Please note that if you're not very experienced in cooking ribs, method 1 may not be the best method for you. Due to the extremely small window of doneness opportunity, method 1 is typically more for the experienced cook. If you're still pretty new to cooking ribs, then method 2 is likely to work better for you.

I'm working on a book called "Ribtastic Ribs!" that will pretty much describe the process just as explained here, and will include pictures of the process. Though I don't have the photos yet, I'll try to remember to take some the next time I cook up a batch of ribs and post the pictures for you.

These may not be the best methods in the world, you will probably devise your own variations as you cook more, but they have been working for me of late. Have fun with the process!

Please feel free to write anytime!
Be sure to let us know how your next batch turns out!
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Re: Advice needed for ribs

Post  Novice on Sun Sep 28, 2008 7:40 pm

Today I managed to do two racks of fantastic spare ribs, cheers so thanks for all the advice, I now just need to conquer baby backs!

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Re: Advice needed for ribs

Post  ILBBQS.com on Mon Sep 29, 2008 3:52 pm

Novice wrote:Today I managed to do two racks of fantastic spare ribs, cheers so thanks for all the advice, I now just need to conquer baby backs!
Same methodology...doesn't take as long. Smile
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Re: Advice needed for ribs

Post  jenks_24 on Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:40 pm

Glad to hear it Novice. We both need to post pics. I think I'll do that now with my last cook!
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Re: Advice needed for ribs

Post  Novice on Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:50 pm

Thanks guy's, The bad news is, I've been trying & failing to do this for a while so I didn't want to tempt fate by taking pic's of another failure, the good news is we have a rack left over in the fridge for tonight, so I've just taken some pic's of my (now cold & no longer quite so tender but still very tasty) ribs!






Oh & there's an odd pic of some ABT's I did a couple of weeks back, first try, easy & out of this world!

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Re: Advice needed for ribs

Post  ILBBQS.com on Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:58 pm

Even cold...nice looking rack & ABTs... Very Happy Not that one can really tell the temperature by the pics. Very Happy
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Re: Advice needed for ribs

Post  jenks_24 on Tue Sep 30, 2008 5:24 pm

The rack looks great Novice. Lots of meat on those ribs!
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Re: Advice needed for ribs

Post  oxford_sonny on Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:40 pm

Great thread guys,

Trying my first rack Sunday and feeling a lot happier about it after reading that!!!!

Sonny

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