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Foiling Ribs - how do YOU do it?

Flashback BobFlashback Bob Posts: 519
edited 5:48PM in EggHead Forum
In response to my earlier post, someone mentioned doing the foiling step as a foil tent over ribs and drip pan. I always took each rack off sprayed it with AJ/AV and wrapped it individually.[p]Does tenting yield the same results as wrapping?

Comments

  • DarnocDarnoc Posts: 2,661
    Flashback Bob,
    Wrapping the ribs will keep the steam inside of the foil which is what you want.You are actually braising the ribs in that stage.If you tent them all of the steam heat if you will escapes.

  • HaggisHaggis Posts: 998
    Flashback Bob,[p]I do it individually (I use a different liquid.) But since you are effectively steaming the ribs, I don't see that doing it as one large package couldn't accomplish the same end. I'd think there would be some awkwardness, however, in tenting everything (including the drip pan or whatever) if you are working with a large number of ribs.
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    DSC02457aa.jpg
    <p />Flashback Bob,[p]I tent ribs, especially full slabs (untrimmed) of spares early in the cook to hold some moisture on them. I guess I've never tented them at the end of the cook. You can also make a foil boat to trap some of your basting liquid during the cook. [p]Here is a snip from my cookin' site regarding my understanding of the uses of foil and ribs. I'm sure there are a LOT more folks with special foil methods. It's a good tool.[p]~thirdeye~[p]Here are three options to the cooking method above using aluminum foil: [p]1. Ribs can be "tented" with foil early in the cook. Just place a piece of foil over the ribs for the first 1 to 3 hours of the cook. The tent will keep the ribs a little moister, slightly decrease the cook time and still allow them to receive some smoke. Remove the tent for the last couple hours of barbecuing to allow the bark to mature. [p]2. A foil "boat" can be used under the ribs. About 2 or 3 hours into the cook described above, lay a piece of heavy duty foil on the grate and carefully set your ribs on top of the foil with the meat side up. The foil needs to be long and wide enough to allow you to to fold the sides and ends up making a shallow tray. Brush or spray the ribs with your favorite basting liquid every 30 minutes until the ribs are done. I like to use an Eastern North Carolina style mop, but something as simple as apple juice will work. The basting liquid and drippings trapped in the "boat" will produce a lighter steaming effect than using a foil pouch.[p]3. Foil can also be used to braise the rack and make for a more tender finished product. The ribs are cooked as usual for the first 3 hours. Then they are removed from the cooker and wrapped in a foil pouch with the meat side down. Before making the final seal on the pouch, 1 to 3 ounces of some liquid is added. Liquids like beer, wine, apple cider, apple juice or broth all work well. In addition to adding a cooking liquid, the rack can sprinkled with brown sugar and more rub. It can also be brushed down with thinned barbecue sauce, honey, apple jelly, jalapeno jelly, hoisin sauce etc. These extra steps will add flavor to the juices that will accumulate in the foil pouch. Once sealed, the pouch is returned to the cooker (or to a preheated oven) for about an hour. Foil time can be adjusted to obtain the desired level of tenderness. (Much longer than an hour will result in the meat falling off of the bones). The pouch is removed, the ribs are unwrapped and returned to the cooker and finished to your liking using either an indirect or direct set up. This method is referred to as 3-1-1, 3-2-1, etc., which identifies the time in hours of each step. My personal preference is more like 3-1, as I very seldom return the ribs to the cooker after the time in the foil. TIP: Catch the juices from the pouch and reduce it by half to use as a finishing sauce for the ribs.


    Happy Trails
    ~thirdeye~

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • thirdeye,
    I think you have convinced me that the best way to achieve those soft, juicy ribs is by doing the 3-1-1 and foiling the racks like I did previously.[p]Has me thinking about the many possibilities for flavor enhancements at that time. I'm thinking bourbon and brown sugar might be good.....

  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    Flashback Bob,[p]The possibilities are endless.[p]~thirdeye~

    Happy Trails
    ~thirdeye~

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • Flashback Bob,
    I have experimented (eggsperimented?) with various ways to foil etc. and best I have found is to brush some sauce or condiment (peach preserves?) on top of the racks, then rap loosely in foil and put back on until really tender / etc. No other liquid added. When you unfoil them, your sauce/condiment will have mixed with drippings in the foil and you can brush it back on for a glaze !

    Fred A. Bernardo , owner of Tasty Licks BBQ Supply in Shillington, Pa. 
  • HaggisHaggis Posts: 998
    thirdeye,[p]I know you are not suggesting your method is the only way to do these things but I'm curious about some aspects. Your third item has the meat down in the foil. Any particular reason down rather than up (other than the bones piercing the foil?) [p]Also, my understanding from other forum threads is that the last hour in the 3-1-1 has the effect of firming up the ribs a bit after the foil stage, as well as giving the opporunity to sauce (and let the sauce solidify a bit.) [p]In any case, I've found that shortening both the last two steps usually better meets my family's preferences, particularly with babybacks.
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    Haggis,[p]These are two really good questions....[p]The meat down is important because you are braising during that 45 minutes or an hour in the foil. Some folks call it steaming, but I think it is really a braise. (The pouch is sealed and the temperature increases inside, and the liquid is boiling) The process works best for me when the meat is in contact with the juice. Likewise, I feel the amount of juice is important....too much and it will not get to a boil for 20 minutes of that foil time, too little juice and the ribs will give up some of their valuable moisture (which you really don't want). On the same subject, that is why I like to wrap them individually and not 2 or 3 racks in the same pouch or pan. One more thing, have all your stuff ready before you are ready to wrap. The foil doubled, the spices or condiments at hand, and the juice heated. One at a time, get them off the pit and into the pouches and back on (or pop them into an oven) as quickly as you can.[p]For your other question .... My ribs don't need firming up because my time in the foil doesn't cook them to that stage of doneness. As far as sauce goes, I really am not a sauce man, but will serve it at the table. But I am a cook, so when folks want glazed ribs, or fall-off-the-bone glazed or sauced ribs I make them. And from what I've heard, I make good ones. Heheee.[p]~thirdeye~
    Happy Trails
    ~thirdeye~

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • BeercoBeerco Posts: 25
    Flashback Bob,[p]
    That was me. I should note that the "Tent" is pinched around the edges of the drip pan so it is a braize. I haven't foiled individually on the egg but I've done it in the oven in the past and prefer it this way. It's easier to catch all of the liquid this way too. I don't braize for longer than 45min either, prolly closer to 30.

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