Dismal Ribs Results

timelinex

Active member
Messages
25
Grill(s) owned
  1. Bull
Usually my wife makes our ribs in a crockpot and they come out fall off the bone amazing. I tried making our first set of ribs on my Bull and it turned out pretty dissapointing.

I used the 3-2-1 method.

The smoke taste was on the weaker side, but that isn't even my main complaint. They were not even close to fall off the bone. They had a GOOD taste, but the texture was much harder and the bones were definitely in there. I cooked following typical directions and measured temp the best I could.

Is it something I did wrong, or is smoking just not conducive to fall off the bone and melt in your mouth ribs?
 

Bytor

Well-known member
Messages
402
Location
Knoxville, TN
Grill(s) owned
  1. Trailblazer
What temp were you cooking at and have you verified the accuracy of the pit probe? That method should pretty much always give great results. Like mentioned above, the smokiness may be a little lighter in flavor, depending on the type of pellets used. Not that you have to, but did you wrap for the 2 hour portion?

Usually, FOTB indicates slightly overcooking them, so you definitely were not there. I like a little "tug" on mine. Provide some additional info to better figure out what went on. Ribs are the only cooks that I don't go by temperature. I usually go with the bend test and time.
 

timelinex

Active member
Messages
25
Grill(s) owned
  1. Bull
OK, unfortunately I don't remember the exact specifics as it was 1.5 weeks ago and I only got to posting about it today. I used these instructions HERE

I did end up kicking the temperature up to 275 or so for the last hour I think as we were starting to be in a time crunch. I removed when it was 175 degrees according to my Thermapen. (I found the temperature in another recipe HERE

It sounds like my mistake may have been cooking the last hours in higher temp and taking it off based off temperature instead of when they are physically pull off the bone?

Anyone have a recommended recipe link if I like fall off the bone ribs?
 

opus

Well-known member
Messages
63
Unfortunately I'm horrible at ribs. I can't get it consistent. My problem is they usually are falling off the bone when I unwrap them and they fall apart on me when I'm trying to get them back on the smoker. It has always been my understanding that the last hour on the grill is just to get them firmed up and to get your sauce thickened or charred on them. So the more fall off the bone you like them the less of the 1 hour you leave them on.
As for flavor, I experiment too much. I don't think I've ever used the same rub/sauce combo twice. I've only made ribs a couple of times that the whole family liked them and I didn't write down when combo I used. Stupid me.
Smoke wise, I've concluded you just aren't going to get it on a pellet smoker. I've new started the first part of my smokes on my stick smoker and then moved them over to the pellet grill to finish them off. I will say I like more smoke flavor in my meat.

This is my favorite website for smoking meat tips. Love his sauce also. Haven't tried to make it myself yet but my FIL did and he said it turned out great.

https://www.smoking-meat.com/
 

Bytor

Well-known member
Messages
402
Location
Knoxville, TN
Grill(s) owned
  1. Trailblazer
My go to is a good rub at least the night before placed on a rack in a baking sheet unwrapped in fridge, be sure to remove the membrane first. Pretty much Memphis style. Plop on at 225 for 3 hours without much looking. Then, place in butcher's paper, with a couple ounces of apple juice meat side down. Wrap quickly to avoid a mess. Two hours later, carefully remove from paper, keeping remaining juice. Plop back on for one more hour. I usually go for 30-45 min, as I like some pull off the bone, but an hour will get them falling off the bone. This is when you can apply a mop, if you so desire. When they pretty much give when picking up from the center, they're ready.

I'm not an expert by any means, but I do make killer Ribs. If you're doing BB's, you will want something like 2-2-1. Keep at it, you will get there.
 

Bytor

Well-known member
Messages
402
Location
Knoxville, TN
Grill(s) owned
  1. Trailblazer
Oh, one other thing, if you don't already, keep a cooking log of your cooks. Since I started doing that, my cooking outcomes have increased significantly.
 

okie

Well-known member
Messages
81
Grill(s) owned
  1. Stampede
  2. Bullseye
Several points based on BB and St. Louis Style Spares:
1. Try to buy ribs racks that weigh around 3 lbs or less. Nowadays hard to find but the smaller racks have the smaller more round bones, with what appears to be more meat per bone ratio (not sure that is true). If they have majority of big flat bones, pass them up. BB's are not ideal unless you get the small boned ones IMO. Same goes for Spares but not as critical.
2. Bend test is fine with Spares but not always as limber with BB's. I've had lots of BB's that did not bend much because of the curve shape and size of the bones.
3. At the same temps, BB's take less time than Spares cause they have less meat on average. Usually they are done at 4.5 to 5.5 hrs at 225* (If not sooner). Spares will often not go 6 hrs either, and when you unwrap and put them back on naked, or sauced, usually 1/2 hr to 45 minutes is plenty. The bend test on them for FOTB is very reliable and they should just about double over and the meat surface crack open for that degree of doneness.
4. And before you do it again, I would do a temp test on the grill surface and see if you are fairly stable at 225*when set there. If you are averaging below or above by 20-25* you will have different finish times.
5. If you are not going to foil them after 3 hrs, then a whole nother set of variables. (not discussed here).
6. I am told I make very good ribs and prefer Spares, but they require a bit more trimming before cooking, as the producers do not really cut them properly for St. Louis style. You can do them either way tho., it all tastes good at the end.
7. There are a lot of other ways to get good ribs at different temps and times.They all work when done well. FOTB usually require the longer, lower temps. also spritsing and mopping may be of value, but I do neither on ribs. Remember Fast Eddie won the championship with BB in 3 hrs, no wrapping, at 275* so there you go. Have fun!
 

ken g

Well-known member
Messages
162
Grill(s) owned
  1. Stampede
I've been using this recipe for several years. So good wife is asking for them every two weeks now. Not fall off the bone, but I prefer a little tug with my ribs. Follow exactly and you wont be disappointed.

https://amazingribs.com/best-barbecue-ribs-recipe

This is what you can expect the finished product to look like!
 

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timelinex

Active member
Messages
25
Grill(s) owned
  1. Bull
Guys, I have no idea what I'm doing wrong!

I tried again and I did so much read and prep this time and it's just NOT working out as planned.

I bought Baby Back ribs this time, so the plan was doing the 2-2-1 method.

I smoked them at 225 for 2 hours and that put the ribs at 162 degrees

I wrapped the ribs and smoked them for 2.5 hours to hit 191 degrees. ( I read you want to hit the 190+ in the foil)

Then I unfoiled them and started cooking bare. I know from reading to expect a temperature drop, but it went from 190s to 162 then 153!!! What gives! After an hour it was at 153. I did some "tests" on it just to make sure the temp wasn't reading right and it really wasn't ready. The bones were planted in there and not at all loose. I kcked up the temp to 250 and cooked it for another HOUR after that. It barely got to 175 but at this point I was scared I was going to dry them out by cooking them so long afterwords. So I took them off.

They tasted good, but where nowhere near fall off the bone. What is happening!

I attached the temp's for reference.
 

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Thor8594

Active member
Military Veteran
Messages
37
Location
Gilbert, AZ
Grill(s) owned
  1. Bull
Kinda strange. I am more of a looker then a temp guy as far as ribs go. I use the modified 3-2-1 method.
In the first step, smoke at 200-225, I will start looking at the ribs at about 2 hours and I am looking for the meat shrinkage on the bone. If I see the bone exposed about 1/4"-3/8", I will do the bend test and if somewhat bendy (not sure if that is a word) I will wrap, if not bendy, smoke for a bit longer.
2nd step is wrap and cuz I can't see the ribs, I will temp them at about 180° to 185° then on to step 3 which is really modified depending on the doneness (pull off bone or bite off), it may be 15 min to 1 hr, that is user preference and mop set time.
I've been doing it on a stick burner like that for a loooong time, only just recently got my 700 and the 1st batch had some tweeking in times, 321 is not set in stone and usually gets modified to some extent.
Good luck
 

Smoker4

Well-known member
Messages
86
Grill(s) owned
  1. Bull
I always do 3-2-1 with my baby backs and never short change the 3hrs on step 1. 225F for me on all three steps. When I foil, I put in at least 1/4c or more liquid (apple juice, whiskey, bourbon, brandy, pick your favorite flavor) and I always drizzle honey over the top of the meat. Then I sauce one or more racks in the last step.

At 6 hours, I have never measured the IT, but they are never under cooked. They range from fall off the bone to a tug getting you a pretty clean bone. Just the way I like them.

I've done this for years on multiple smokers and never had an under done experience. They never dry out, so I don't worry too much if they are a bit over. Clean bones don't bother me. ;-)
 

RedWng

Member
Messages
10
Grill(s) owned
  1. RT-680
I do St. Louis at 230 for 2.5, wrap and up the temp to 250 for 2 hours and when I open I will determine how long at that stage sometimes it is only 15 minutes sometimes 45. One thing I find for us makes a difference is when I wrap if we want fall of the bone put some liquid in the wrap with meat side down. If I want a little bite I go meat side up. The wife likes fall of the bone so you can guess which way they are cooked at my house. Each set of ribs are a little different so don't assume all racks will cook the same.
 

Roaniecowpony

Well-known member
Messages
603
Location
Southern Cal
Grill(s) owned
  1. Bull
OK, unfortunately I don't remember the exact specifics as it was 1.5 weeks ago and I only got to posting about it today. I used these instructions HERE

I did end up kicking the temperature up to 275 or so for the last hour I think as we were starting to be in a time crunch. I removed when it was 175 degrees according to my Thermapen. (I found the temperature in another recipe HERE

It sounds like my mistake may have been cooking the last hours in higher temp and taking it off based off temperature instead of when they are physically pull off the bone?

Anyone have a recommended recipe link if I like fall off the bone ribs?

That thermometer was your problem. For ribs, keep the thermometer in the drawer. Ribs is done when they're done.

If you're doing baby backs, you can foil when you feel you've got good bark and smoke (3-4 hours at 225F) Spares are forgiving and will be more moist, so you can easily go straight thru without foiling at temps from 225 to 300F. Just remember that a pellet grill makes less and less smoke as the temperature goes up. St. Lous at 225F could take over 7hrs. to get tender.

Tender is what you're looking for. Your first indication is the rib bones start sticking out (meat pulling back). I grab them and try to twist them a bit, pick up the rack (gently) and see if it's really flexible. The bones should twist a bit out of the meat. After a few times you can get a feel for it without pulling a bone out, but just moving it side to side and flexing the rack. For your first few, go ahead and pull a bone or break the rack.

Once they are tender, you can think about putting sauce on them and let it "tighten up" on the smoker for 15-30 minutes.
 

Beach Bum

Well-known member
Messages
197
Location
Huntington Beach, CA
Grill(s) owned
  1. Bull
That thermometer was your problem. For ribs, keep the thermometer in the drawer. Ribs is done when they're done.

If you're doing baby backs, you can foil when you feel you've got good bark and smoke (3-4 hours at 225F) Spares are forgiving and will be more moist, so you can easily go straight thru without foiling at temps from 225 to 300F. Just remember that a pellet grill makes less and less smoke as the temperature goes up. St. Lous at 225F could take over 7hrs. to get tender.
Yep that is some good advice. I ditched the 3-2-1 and wrapping on spareribs recently just to see how it would work. At 6 straight hours on 225 with just a few quick apple juice / apple cider vinegar spritzes they were great. We did not even bother with sauce at the end. A couple folks used a bit at the table.
 

Roaniecowpony

Well-known member
Messages
603
Location
Southern Cal
Grill(s) owned
  1. Bull
Just remember that you are cooking a unique piece of an animal, each cook. No two exactly the same. Just using cooking temperature and time alone, is going to result in a mistake, sooner or later. Cook your BBQ until it's properly done. Learn how to identify hot to identify "done" in the various cuts. Then you will be a "pitmaster'.
 
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OrangeCrush

Member
Military Veteran
Messages
20
Grill(s) owned
  1. Stampede
My go to is a good rub at least the night before placed on a rack in a baking sheet unwrapped in fridge, be sure to remove the membrane first. Pretty much Memphis style. Plop on at 225 for 3 hours without much looking. Then, place in butcher's paper, with a couple ounces of apple juice meat side down. Wrap quickly to avoid a mess. Two hours later, carefully remove from paper, keeping remaining juice. Plop back on for one more hour. I usually go for 30-45 min, as I like some pull off the bone, but an hour will get them falling off the bone. This is when you can apply a mop, if you so desire. When they pretty much give when picking up from the center, they're ready.

I'm not an expert by any means, but I do make killer Ribs. If you're doing BB's, you will want something like 2-2-1. Keep at it, you will get there.
Does the outside layer of meat become very chewy, almost jerky like?
 

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