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Newby's first ribs-ok results

Nest EggNest Egg Posts: 2
edited 5:58AM in EggHead Forum
Yesterday was my first attempt at smoking ribs (ever, not just on the egg), and I chose to go with the late Car Wash Mike's recipe. I followed the directions to a T, with the only exception, being that I added a beer (minus a sip-gulp) and some apple juice to the bottom of the drip tray (about 1/4"-maybe a bit more). For the first 3 hours they smoked between 205-210 degrees, and I misted them every hour with his suggested 50-50 apple juice and apple cider. I increased the temp to 250 and let them cook another 1.5 hours, misting after an hour. After being on 4.5 hours, I removed, increased the temp to 275, applied sweet baby rays bbq sauce (cold from fridge-as suggested and put back on grid (v-rack removed) for the final 20-30 minutes. Total time, 5 hours. Perhaps I was setting my expectations too high, but I expected the meat to fall off the bone. Instead, we had to use steak knives to cutt it off, and the meat so-so in texture. Not tough, but definetely not fall off the bone. I am guessing that I needed to let them go another 30-60 minutes. Suggestions please? I have seen other recipes that boil them first, or merinate in the fridge for 8 hours, also removing and wrapping in foil and finishing this way? Any feedback is welcome, negative or positive. thanks. :unsure:


  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 17,980
    times are just a guide, you needed to cook them more. i dont remember mikes whole procedure, liquid will lower temps at the grill level, might not show as much on the dome therm but it would with a therm on the grill where the ribs are. what you need to look for is how they bend when you pick them up or how a toothpick slides in between the bones to test them
  • I'm no rib expert but I think if you had cooked them longer before removing them and craking up the heat a little. I've heard of testing by lifting them with the tongs to see how close they are to falling off the bone before appling the sauce and going to direct heat. I've had mixed results myself with the egg and ribs and recently made a note to try Carwash Mike's method.

    Good luck next time. Don't stop trying, ribs are just too good.
  • Hi and welcome to the forum.

    You needed to cook them longer if you wanted them to fall off the bone. Did you do the bend test? When the meat pulls way back from the end of the bone, you are just about there.

    How was the flavor of the meat?
  • The flavor of the meat was excellent. I am going to try and finish them today in the oven. One hour at 275, on a broiler pan, bottom filled with remaining apple juice, and covered in tin foil. I am hoping that this will finish them and we can enjoy our leftovers while watching the NFL playoffs.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 17,980
    when you put them in, preheat the liquid and set them in meat side down so the meat braises, they will fall apart no problem
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,770
    Recipes should be viewed as suggestions, not formulas, unless your kitchen doubles as a laboratory. One needs to play it by ear, as it were. If you had more experience, you would have noted a whole bunch of things that showed the ribs were not quite done. Usually, the meat pulls back from the bone ends at least 1/4", often more. When the rack is lifted up, its all floppy. Toothpicks slide in and out of the meat, and come out pretty dry. A tug on the bone may actually cause the bone to start coming out. As a btw., my criteria for a good rib is not that the meat is falling off the bone, but that the bone falls out of the meat. That means that the sleeve of connective tissue that hold the meat to the bone has melted. The bones of well done ribs look dry after the meat is off.

    With the Egg, there is no need to pre-boil ribs. Marinating is not a bad idea, but doesn't do as much for ribs as for other things, like chicken breasts.

    Even with 20 years of struggling with ribs, pre-Egg, it took me about 6 months to start producing consistently good ribs.

    A better rule than cooking by time and temperature is to gauge the meats doneness with an instant read thermometer. Altho ribs are hard to measure, there being so much bone to hit, if you find the meat temperature at around 190, you will know that most of the connective tissue is gone, and the meat is close to done.
  • Good idea on the reheat. They should be just fine heated up that way. I'm glad the flavor was there... your next time will be great!
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    need to cook them way longer. your extra low temps in the beginning didn't do much for cooking them.

    baby backs at 250 are a 5 or 6 hour proposition, in my experience. at lower temps, even longer
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • eenie meenieeenie meenie Posts: 4,392
    As the others have mentioned, cook to doneness, not time. For ribs, I judge when they are finished my making sure the ends of the bones are exposed about a 1/2 inch or so they bend about 90 degrees when picked up in the center with tongs. Temperature wise, I think I checked them once and they were about 195 to 200 degrees. If you like them fall off the bone, you may want to add a foiling stage to your cook, although you can get fall off the bone ribs without foiling, but just cooking longer. Another piece of advice is to not use enhanced pork. Make sure your ribs are unadulterated.

    Here's a pic of the bend test:

    On this cook the ribs are even more done, as the ribs are bending even more and there is more bone exposure than the ribs from the previous pic:


    You can tell these are fall off the bone because even the center part of the bone has broken through during the cook:


    Remember, practice makes perfect.
    Hi NEH and welcome to the greatest forum anywhere!

    Those are great replies you are getting from some very knowledgeable cooks as well as super nice people. I have to agree with them. For some unknown reason ribs are tricky and require a learning curve. I think we all find our own niche for ribs before we are happy. My last batch of baby backs I thought were overcooked till I attacked them with a knife and fork they were so tender. I have gone to a higher temperature and foil them. I have adapted it from thirdeye's EZBB Ribs. He has a great site well worth exploring.
    In my last rib post I mention that they cooked faster then I thought they should have. The only clue I have to that is I tried Cowboy lump for the first time instead of my usually Royal Oak. I watched my temperatures closely and didn't think that would be an issue and still don't see how it could be. When I broke down my indirect setup and removed the plate setter the remaining lump did look like there had been a much hotter fire then usual so I am still totally puzzled as to why they cooked faster then I expected. Because I have a medium egg and have to cut my racks in half to fit, the bend test for doneness will not work accurately. I use the tooth pick method as well as cutting down along one of the bones, the bone should appear white, so I have read. The reveal of the ends of the bones is another good indication but I do not rely on that as my only test.

    Good luck,


    Good Lord those look good Rebecca! You are a great cook!, do you mind if I worship you from afar like so many others??? love0029.giflove0029.giflove0029.giflove0029.giflove0029.giflove0029.giflove0029.giflove0029.gifparty00211.gif


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