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Sauce less Ribs (fact or fiction)

miscjamesmiscjames Posts: 78
edited September 2012 in EggHead Forum
Well I did ribs again today and they came out spot on. But for some reason I cannot get people to stop putting sauce on them. I have heard that if you cook the meat just right people will not want sauce. But I also know its almost a stigma of this generation to put sauce on ribs. So is there such a thing as sauceless ribs? or is it just fiction. And if there is such a thing can I get some pointers here maybe from some of those of you that compete or have achieved this perfection. My typical setup is mustard and rub (used butt rub this time). The crowd loved them but when i kept hammering them for what is missing they said the ribs could stand to be sweeter with a hint of mustard and vinegar. So i was thinking of next time adding in some sugar, mustard seed, rub, and using some vinegar to make a paste. Then I LAS for about 4 hours or until they pass the bent test or tong test (when i can insert my tongs in between two bones.) 

Any advice would be helpful. 

Or am I trying to hard and let those that want sauce.. sauce. 


  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 17,990
    for a crowd i always sauce, meets the expectations, for myself and family ive weened it down to no sauce or some to drag the ribs thru. i cook raised grid direct minimal lump tp start with and its a 6 to 7 hour cook mostly, i start checking for doneness around the 4 hour mark
  • tnbarbqtnbarbq Posts: 248
    I never sauce my ribs while smoking.  I always serve it on the side.  I do use a dry rub.
    Mid TN. Hangin' in the 'Boro. MIM Judge
  • I don't usually sauce ribs.  If I do I do it about 15 minutes before I take them off, so it's dry by the time I take them off.

    My ribs are simple, and they have been very successful in competitions.  I don't use mustard.  I spray them with Pam before I put the rub on them instead.  Then I put the rub on them really heavy.  As much as it will take.  This makes a really nice paste that sticks to the ribs very well for the entire cook.  Sometimes I spray them with apple juice, and sometimes I don't.  I don't really notice a whole lot of difference with it in the Egg, but on the stick burner spraying is a must.  I cook them at 250 dome temp for 5 to 7 hours depending on the slab and the cooker.  The egg seems to cook them around 5 most of the time.  Oh yeah.  I cook St. Louis cut spares.
    Large BGE Decatur, AL
  • I'm with Greenhawk on this one.  Heavy rub, though I coat lightly with canola or vegetable oil first instead of pam (I'll have to try that).  For my family, they like a light coating of sauce at the last 15 min, which dries out and makes a nice glaze but that's us.  You probably won't change the expectations of philistines, so go for what they want.  Same goes foe competition judges, give them what they expect.  Otherwise, if you like dry, then serve dry.  Just have some sauce on the side for the cave men... lol.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,776
    A couple of years ago, I asked an elderly lady what BBQ meant to her. She replied "with sauce." Sigh. Some of the worst stuff made comes drowned in sauce, and the only flavor is sweetness.

    Anyway, consider a finishing rub. In the last 45 - 30 minutes, spray or carefully mop the ribs w. a really tangy vinegar, sherry vinegar if you can afford it.  Then sprinkle on some more flavor. I used coarse turbinado sugar, and some fresh black pepper (which always seems to loose its flavor during cooking) and maybe some paprika for color. Often, the sugar does not melt completely, and there is a little crunch when biting into the ribs.

    I do serve my ribs w. warm sauce on the side.

    This thread just gave me an idea. I too use oil for the rub base. And, I've been using a little melted butter right at the end for some gloss. I think I'll try crushing some mustard seed, and infuse some oil or butter, or lard, etc.
  • Any spray oil works well.  Pam is just Olive Oil.  I also sometimes spray with apple cider vinegar instead of apple juice.  It works well, and may give them the vinegary taste that your guests are looking for.

    We call dry ribs Memphis style here.  Maybe that's why people here don't freak out when they see them.  It is common to see them here.  
    Large BGE Decatur, AL
  • Thank you all for the comments and suggestions you have given me a lot to think about the next time i do ribs. Much appreciated.
  • rub lightly with olive oil, heavy coat of rub that includes some heat, 3-2-1 method, add rub and a dusting of brown sugar in the last hour. Don't overdo the sugar.
  • tnbarbq said:
    I never sauce my ribs while smoking.  I always serve it on the side.  I do use a dry rub.
    What he said.

  • Why are you guys telling him to use oil? Oil will prevent smoke from getting to the meat where mustard will not. You really do not need to use a binder at all, but if you do, oil is not the way to go.

    "Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage."

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