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Spare ribs -- the good and the bad

CrazyHarryCrazyHarry Posts: 112
edited 9:32AM in EggHead Forum
Tried some spare ribs last night for the first time, and struggled. Was planning to use the 3-2-1 method but opted for a mop instead of foil.

Rubbed the ribs down with Famous Dave's Rib Rub, and put them on indirect at 250. After about 2 hours my temp spiked to about 325 but I got it under control again. Pulled the ribs after about four and a half hours and the "bark" was hard as a rock. Inedible.

On the plus side, I was able to salvage a lot of moist meat so we still had a pretty good meal. Did the spiked temp kill me? I obviously should have pulled these a lot earlier, but as I have never cooked spare ribs before I wasn't sure what to look for. I need to get a rib rack... That would have helped, I think. (I cut the ribs into our pieces and laid them flat on the grill. Come to think of it, they were upside down too. It was hard to tell after I got the mustard and rub on...)

One more question. Do you experts put the the platesetter on and THEN get the temp stabilized? Or do you put the platesetter in just before you put your meat on?

I had three great cooks in a row leading up to this one, so I am getting better!


  • I start the fire and put in the plate setter and allow it to stabilize to desired temp, then put in whatever I am cooking
  • Little ChefLittle Chef Posts: 4,725
    Crazy Harry: When making ribs, we actually don't try to get a bark. We usually just dry rub lightly, but that is personal preference. If you couldn't tell the rib side from the meat side, it sounds like you may have gone super heavy with your rub, hence the rock hard bark. The spike sure didn't help your efforts. What size Egg are you cooking on? We always have better success with intact slabs, which we can fit a couple flat on the grid of the Large. Also for future reference, I beLIEVE it is the 3-1-1 method. (We never foil, so I am not totally positive here).
    Also, we always put the platesetter in as soon as we know the fire is established so the Egg and Setter can come up to heat together. Adding the platesetter cold to a hot egg can result in up to 100* temp swing. It will come up to temp eventually, but people seem to get impatient and mess with the vent settings. Easier to stabilize all pieces of ceramic at the same time. Keep it up! You'll have ribs nailed in no time.
  • BillPinNCBillPinNC Posts: 68
    I have been using this recipe from the BGE Recipe Book that is out on the NakedWhiz site...I use different rubs/sauces and use it for spare ribs, we have been really pleased with the results. Hope it is ok to repost it here...

    Ingredients 2 Racks Baby Back Ribs – Free to Roam Bad Byron's Butt Rub Honey Brown Sugar Barbeque Sauce – Boars Head Gourmet Mild and Sweet flavor Olive Oil 100% Apple Juice

    1) Preparation Directions a) Cut slabs in half and remove membrane using a paper towel b) Drizzle on some extra virgin olive oil and rub c) Sprinkle on Bad Byron's Butt Rub (to taste) and press into ribs
    2) Set-Up Directions
    3) Fire up BGE and Pre-Heat to 275-300 degrees
    4) Insert Plate setter, drip pan, grate and rib rack
    5) Stabilize temperature while you prepare the ribs
    6) First Cook a) Add ribs to rib rack and close lid and Cook at 275-300 degrees for 2.5 hours b) Remove from Rack and prepare for Steeping
    7) Steeping Stage a) Tear off 4 pieces of foil large enough to wrap the half slabs and stack. b) Sprinkle brown sugar equal to length of rib c) Drizzle honey on the sugar and place rib on foil (concave) d) Repeat on the top of the rib. e) Form a basket with the first piece of foil f) Drizzle about a half cup of Apple Juice onto the rib and cover in a second piece of foil (wrap it lightly like a package and set aside for next round of cooking g) Repeat for each slab h) Place steeping packets on the grate and close lid i) Cook for 60 minutes (you CAN look to make sure apple juice has not all evaporated but BE CAREFUL!) j) Remove and unwrap ribs
    8) Barbeque (Final Cook) a) Place Ribs on Grate and smother with Barbeque sauce b) Flip and repeat c) Cook 15 minutes and repeat steps a and b d) Cook 15 minutes and remove from grill. Let rest, slice and serve.
  • CrazyHarryCrazyHarry Posts: 112
    I'm cooking on a medium, so I had to cut the spare ribs into 4 pieces. And even then they just barely fit. (A rib rack would have helped.)

    Sounds like I need to stabilize my temp *with* the platesetter in place. And my big problem here is that I cooked the stupid ribs upside down. :blush: (It's much easier to tell which side is which using baby backs.) These were strange. Some sections had no bones, and others had very tiny bones -- almost like a lamb rack.

    Thanks for the tips, everyone!
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,777
    Many rubs have lots of sugar in them. If sugar gets too hot, it becomes a hard and bitter.

    The platesetter absorbs lots of heat, and then re-radiates it. If your dome temp was 325, I'd be willing to bet the 'setter was 450. That would toast sugar.

    I'd guess that you had a whole, untrimmed slab of spares. Look up "St. Louis" trim. About 1/3 of the slab is not ribs. There is a big chunk of chine bone that has little meat on it. Then there is a whole row of smaller bones along the top of the actual ribs. At the end of both the ribs, and the rib tips, there is a flap of meat. St. Louis style cuts the ribs away, leaving something much more like BBs.

    It is possible to cook an untrimmed slab on a medium, but it does need to stand up. A rack works well, but in a pinch, the slab can be folded in half, and pinned with bamboo skewers, and left to stand on its own.

    Once trimmed, most spares will fit in the medium laying down.

    The trimmings can be used in various ways. The "tips" can be cooked like any other rib. The chine bone is good for stocks, or stew flavoring. The all meat end I cook by itself to get something in between ribs and pork chops. Or, I put them beside the ribs, and nibble while the spares cook, as the meat finishes faster.
  • I have also cooked baby backs like this only use 250 dome and they are very tender and good.

    Welcome to the Swamp.....GO GATORS!!!!
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