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Love wings but also love some meaty & juicy ribs


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Anyways assuming you meant ribs, there are a couple of things you can try. I personally always brine my ribs, whether it be baby backs or St. Louis. Without getting too sciencey, a good brine works by means of osmosis and diffusion which is just a fancy way of saying that it seasons the meat from the inside. When the salt solution is evenly distributed within the meat, it also denatures some of the protein structures which allows for a better retention of moisture during the cooking process. If you're like me and include a little sugar in your brine, you're doubling up your chances at retaining moisture since sugar is hygroscopic (it holds onto moisture).

So make a good sweet and salty brine for your ribs to soak in for at least a few hours prior to cooking. I usually go over night, but it's probably not necessary. Just remember that your ribs will be thoroughly seasoned, so adjust the salt in your rub as needed so you don't wind up with over seasoned food.  If you're a sauce type of guy, then just go forth as you usually do. There are tons of brine recipes out there, so you have plenty to choose from. I use a variation of Alton Brown's pulled pork brine, but to each his own. (Mine subs the brown sugar for molasses, which is just sugar + molasses btw. I also add some of the dry rub spices to it.)

During your smoking process, you should also look at using a water pan. Most smokers come with one, and they are great at helping to keep things from getting too dry. If yours does not have one, make your own with a disposable aluminum pan. This is especially important if you use propane as your main fuel source. I don't know why, but propane seems to dry meat out, at least in my experience. The water pan will help prevent that. If you're doing St. Louis ribs, try the 3-2-1 method mentioned in one of the other threads here. It's sound in theory and wildly popular. I don't recommend it for baby backs though, unless you like your ribs to be overly tender. I'm thinking about tinkering with the timing to make something similar for baby backs, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

As for doneness, I use the bone twist method. This is mostly because I do not have a good probe thermometer yet. (Long story) So for baby-backs, what this means is that after about 3-4 hours of smoke, I take a paper towel (because the shit is hot) and use it to twist one of the bones near the middle of the rack. What I am looking for is a little resistance before spinning freely. Err on the side of more resistance if you're not sure. What this yields is a nice and tender meat that still clings to the bone. The time for this varies depending on how long you had it in the butter zone (225-250), how thick the ribs are, etc. For St. Louis, refer to the 3-2-1 method. Cover with foil for a good 15 minutes, sauce or don't,  and enjoy.

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On 9/13/2019 at 8:37 PM, cocky0 said:

 

As for doneness, I use the bone twist method. This is mostly because I do not have a good probe thermometer yet. (Long story) 

Dude.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FVWMQ3F/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

$44 on Amazon. Got this a year ago and don't know how I ever did it without it.  6 probes. Bluetooth to your phone. I can get everything set up, put whatever on the smoker and then go about my day. I check the temps on my phone every now and then, adjust the vents on the smoker as needed. I put a shoulder (or ribs) on and never open the lid until it's dones 4-5-6 hours later. 

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6 hours ago, Spur's Addiction said:

Dude.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FVWMQ3F/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

$44 on Amazon. Got this a year ago and don't know how I ever did it without it.  6 probes. Bluetooth to your phone. I can get everything set up, put whatever on the smoker and then go about my day. I check the temps on my phone every now and then, adjust the vents on the smoker as needed. I put a shoulder (or ribs) on and never open the lid until it's dones 4-5-6 hours later. 

Yes I know. It isn't a matter of price or availability. My wife bought one for me for Father's Day this year - or at least she thought she did. What she actually bought was a replacement probe for one. Knowing her the way I do, she probably plans to get the rest of it for Christmas as a stocking stuffer. And there's a better than average chance that she already bought it and it's hiding around the house somewhere.

It's all good. I learned to do without one a long time ago, so it's really not that big of a deal.

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  • 7 months later...
On 9/15/2019 at 9:58 PM, Spur's Addiction said:

Dude.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FVWMQ3F/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

$44 on Amazon. Got this a year ago and don't know how I ever did it without it.  6 probes. Bluetooth to your phone. I can get everything set up, put whatever on the smoker and then go about my day. I check the temps on my phone every now and then, adjust the vents on the smoker as needed. I put a shoulder (or ribs) on and never open the lid until it's dones 4-5-6 hours later. 

Update!!

So it was mine and my wife's anniversary yesterday, and she finally gave me the thermometer. I am now the proud owner of a Weber iGrill Mini.

6c7T0CP.png

I am using it today on a piece of bone-in Boston Butt. 

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  • 4 months later...

So I thoroughly screwed up a rack of ribs a few weeks ago. They tasted good, but they were dry and a bit on the crunchy side. It was clear that my thermometer finally failed me. So today I'm going to use my iGrill to keep track of the air temp while I smoke some baby backs. I tried it last weekend with some wings, and it seemed to work pretty well, but wings are a lot more forgiving. I'll be putting these bad boys in the box in just a little while. I'll also be trying a variant of the 3-2-1 method with maybe something like 1-1.5 hours in the foil.

tqS10Yy.jpg

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11 minutes ago, Longhaul said:

Harris Teeter in Charleston has ribs on sale starting tomorrow.  I think there is a two rack max at $1.97lb.  Your pic is making me hungry, hope they turn out well.  

Thanks man. I'm also trying out a new rub. I found Malcolm Reed's Killer Hogs rub in Walmart a few days ago. It's always gotten good reviews, so I figured I'd give it a whirl.

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14 minutes ago, cocky0 said:

Thanks man. I'm also trying out a new rub. I found Malcolm Reed's Killer Hogs rub in Walmart a few days ago. It's always gotten good reviews, so I figured I'd give it a whirl.

Let me know how the rub works.  I was making my own for a while, but found a few that were good without all of the work.  Really like Bad Byron's Butt Rub and have been sticking with that one for a little while now.  

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I wanted to experiment a bit so I did 3-2-1 ribs but with replacing the 2 with 10 minutes in the IP. A storm knocked me out of finishing in the smoker or on the grill though so I just did that in the oven. Came out great! The first rub which was started a day earlier was Penzey's 33rd & Galena. The wood was pecan. The liquid for the IP was beer. My final spicing turned out very well. To some of the first rub I added beet powder, molasses powder, and some Isot Biber for heat. To make it liquidy I added some Zatarain's mustard, coffee infused maple syrup, and Carolina style vinegar BBQ sauce. Because I am just that way I added a bit of duck fat too. Was quite tasty!

 

https://photos.app.goo.gl/WULpiJMpDhK9tGAb8

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As for the method. I pulled the ribs out of the package early this morning, removed the membrane on the back, and began the seasoning process. That started with a light dusting of salt, pepper, and garlic powder on both sides. I let that sit on them for about 15 minutes or so. Then I brushed on a very light coating of mustard sauce, just enough to help the rub stick. Then I patted on a good coating of Killer Hogs. I let the ribs sit in the refrigerator for a few hours to get the rub set. That picture from above is right after I pulled them out of the fridge.

I let the ribs come to room temp for about an hour while I made a mop sauce of 1/2 cup ACV , a little chicken base, and 1tbsp of the rub. I got the smoker to a temp of 225 with a chunk each of hickory and apple wood along with 1/4 of an onion. The ribs went on for about 3 hours. I mopped them once an hour during that 3 hour cook before putting them in foil with a little brown sugar, honey, rub, and some of the mop sauce.They went back in the box for another hour and a half before I pulled them out of the foil, dusted the top with another light coat of the rub, and returned them to the smoker for another half hour.

That gave them a very tender texture, but not falling apart. The meat still clung to the bone but came away clean when bitten into.

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  • 6 months later...

So I decided to try a new method. I saw somewhere recently where it was postulated that some rubs can inhibit the smoke from penetrating the meat. As such, it was recommended to only use salt and pepper as a rub in order to maximize the smokiness. And in fairness, my wings, which usually do not get a rub, do come out smokier than my ribs which do get a rub. But I also didn't want to miss out on the flavor my current rub of choice provides. So I decided to do a little experiment using the 3-2-1 method of cooking with the only variation being that the ribs only had salt and pepper while they were in the smoke.

First I seasoned the a rack of St. Louis cut last night with only kosher salt and fresh black pepper and allowed them to sit on a wire rack, uncovered overnight. Then this morning, I fired up the smoker like I normally would and placed them on for 3 hours at ~250-275. After 3 hours, this is what I had:
EcTwwLm.jpg

 

Now I decided to wrap them with a bit of a mop sauce I made. The mop sauce contained 1tbsp of dijon mustard, 1/4 cup of ACV, 1 tbsp of bacon grease, 2 tbsp of Killer Hog's, 1 tbsp of brown sugar, and about a tbsp of Sweet Baby Ray's to help mellow out the ACV. I lightly brushed that on both sides of the ribs, wrapped them meat side down, and cooked for 2 hours. After the wrap period was up, I dusted them with some more Killer Hogs, and continued on for that final hour of cooking.

laKK0Bo.jpg

 

After that hour, I let them sit, covered, for about 30 minutes before slicing and sampling.

g5TwCfu.jpg

 

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There was definitely a more pronounced smoky flavor, and I still got to enjoy the dry rub too. I'm probably going to do all of my ribs like this going forward.

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On 3/14/2021 at 11:19 AM, Spur's Addiction said:

Seems like if you like more smokey flavor leave them unwrapped. I typically put the rub on and just let them go until they are done. takes longer without the wrap, but they come out excellent. 

 

I've done that and not achieved the flavor that just salt and pepper did. I got the idea from watching the way Aaron Franklin does his ribs. He does a spritz and sauce plus wrapping. I just decided to try getting more of a dry rub texture instead.

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