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Ugh! My ribs were a disaster!

TomCPATomCPA Posts: 82
edited 8:23AM in EggHead Forum
Okay, let me set the scene. Wife has been dying for ribs lately, so I took another stab at them. I found a rub, slathered on some mustard first, added the rub and off I went. Now I think I made my first mistake here because I cut the ribs in half before cooking. [p]I don't have a BGE place setter, so I made up something for indirect cooking out of an aluminum foil pan. I cut the corners and flattened it out. This helped to control the fire. The last time I couldn't control the fire well. I put a drip pan underneath the ribs below the grate and above the faux place setter. I used the V-Rack (modified because I cut the ribs in half).[p]I get the BGE to between 200-225. A couple of times it spiked to 240-250 but stayed relatively calm at 200-225 in the first hour. At one hour, to keep moisture, I sprayed some pineapple juice (I know most use apple juice, but I couldn't find any in my house). Temp stays between 200-225 and life is good. Second hour temp is okay, spray again. Third hour, temp is fine and I spray again. An hour later, I ratchet the temperature up to 250 for an 30 minutes and spray again. I check again 30 minutes later and spray the ribs again and I start checking for doneness. The bone is not pulling away and they aren't bending very well. I do this for another 1 1/2 hours of spraying and temp at 250. At 6 hours, I took the temp up to 280-290 and put the sauce on and after 20 minutes I pull them off to be served. [p]Well, they sucked. Not pulling off the bone easily, chewy and I believe I left the membrane on (this was unintentional. I didn't see it and I bought the cryovac pack from BJ's. I thought it was pulled off before the cryovac process).[p]Questions:[p]Where did I go wrong? I thought low and slow was the order of the day for ribs. I must have screwed up somewhere but I followed some advice I got from cookbooks and the internet.[p]Any assistance is greatly appreciated.[p]


  • spbull472spbull472 Posts: 128
    TomCPA,[p]Cutting the ribs into halves isn't the issue, I do that all the time. Could be the foil placesetter you used, that isn't going to block the heat quite like the ceramic placesetter does. Did you remove the membrane from the backside of the ribs?[p]I kept a dome temp of 250, which tranlates to about 225 around the grill. Every 30 minutes sprayed them with 1/4 apple cider vineger, 3/4 apple juice and turned them every hour (by the way this is the first time i ever did spary). I did this for 5 hours and then pulled my ribs.[p]The meat had pulled back on the bones, the toothpick test worked (poke a toothpick through and pull it out the other side, if done with ease...they're done).[p]They came right over the bone, were nice and moist. I think you were probably getting more direct heat than you anticipated and I think, maybe others can tell me I'm wrong, but for a direct heat at that length of time was too much.[p]Again, I cut my slabs in half all the time...that's never been an issue.[p]See what others think.[p]STL Scott

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    you were low, but not slow. your temps were sub-250 for a long time. at 250, i'd not bither checking for about 7 hours.[p]if you foiled at some point and added liquid, you can cut it to 6 hours, but you were pretty low.[p]cook them longer next time.[p]no way cutting them in half could have an effect.

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • AZRPAZRP Posts: 10,116
    You had the temp a little low, the dome should read 250. You also opened the Egg too much, keep it shut and let it cook. If they were baby backs 4 hours would be about right, spares maybe 6 hours. If you want to mop or spray them, I do it through the top, just take off the daisy and spray inside, that keeps from losing temp by opening the top. -RP

  • dhuffjrdhuffjr Posts: 3,182
    Sounds like you didn't cook them enough. Higher temp 250-275 dome is the trick. Wrap the ribs in foil if you need them done sooner. Take them out about an hour prior to eating, 30 minutes or so to firm up and then 20 minutes or so for saucing.[p]FYI the platesetter is a really good item to have.[p]My last cook though was with a multigrate rig I built with the drip pan level covered in foil sitting right on the coals.

  • TonyTony Posts: 224
    TomCPA,[p]Aluminum has one of the highest thermal conductivities of anything you could put in the egg. Thick or thin, it's going to radiate heat like crazy. You probably did benefit from more even distribution of heat though, as it would tend to take spot heat from the coals and spread it - which is the idea of indirect. I'd still spring for the ceramic plate setter if I were you; I use mine all the time.[p]So, all that said, I think the others that suggested they were underdone were probably on the mark. I did some babybacks about a month ago using 2:2:1 method, with grid at 225 (controlled by BBQ Guru). I think the foil step (2nd 2 in 2:2:1) is a key to getting the tenderness/consistency right - but I have only done ribs once since getting my egg. However, they were indeed, delectable.[p]Oh, and definitely rememeber to remove that membrane next time. If you cook that sucker long enough to get it tender, the meat will be long and far over done...[p]Tony

  • TomCPATomCPA Posts: 82
    Tony,[p]So they don't remove the membrane from the ribs before the cryovac process? Where do I find the membrane?[p]Tom

  • TomCPA,[p]Check this site here, towards the bottom (January 17th section) there is a couple pic's of with/without the membrane[p]I just did a google image search for "rib membrane"[p]

    [ul][li]White Trash BBQ[/ul]
  • egger aveegger ave Posts: 721
    The membrane is on the bone side of the ribs. I use a paper towel to pull it off of the ribs. This works better than a knife because it doesn't cut or slice the membrane into small pieces.

    1 Large BGE, 1 Mini BGE, 1 Minimax BGE, Original wife and 3 dogs living in the heart of BBQ country in Round Rock Texas. 

    "The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

    Albert Einstein
  • TomCPA,
    I get my ribs at BJ's all the time. Quality meat and you can't beat the prices![p]Pulling off the membrane is (to me)a pain in the @ss. Everyone makes it look easy, but I always have a tough time with it as it never comes off smoothly in one piece like it does in the tutorials. That said, just do it and don't get frustrated if it's not as easy as you thought.[p]I've attached a link to Wess B's site. Also, TNW must have a tutorial on this as well.[p]FWIW- I cooked two slabs of spares on Saturday and I have to cut them in half to fit inside the dome. I stand them on a rib rack and lay the trimmings around them on the grate. I never open the dome while cooking and this time it was 8 hours before I checked them and sauced them for the final half hour. (total 8.1/2 hrs at 250 dome) Some of the ribs were a bit overdone (dry) but the rest were good. I meant to check at 7 hours but I forgot.

    [ul][li]Wess B's - prepping the ribs[/ul]
  • Flashback Bob,
    Here's a video that looks way easier than it ever has been for me! Note the importance of a sharp knife - My knife has never glided through the ribs the way his does. (He's cutting through more than just meat there.) [p]I guess I need to get me a big cutting board and a sharp knife.

    [ul][li]Trimming spares-the Video[/ul]
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    Flashback Bob,
    get yerself an 8" wusthof chef's knife or something similar. there are much more expensive knives out there, but these will serve you long and well. i got mine (and others) maybe three years ago. just honing after each use (and we use them a LOT) and twice a year gliding over a hand held sharpener, and they are razor sharp.

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Tony,
    I have used a similar recipe only it was 3:2:1. General feeling at the party was that they were the best ribs ever.

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