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Jonnymack's Quest to Unleash the Fury of the Egg Part 1 - Ribs

Greetings to all.  I have had a large BGE for about a year and a half and have only really had the time to do some steaks on it.  Don't get me wrong, the steaks have been awesome, but this year, I have pledged to the Gods that I will spend as much time as necessary to unleash the power of this bad boy.  This could be too long a read so if it bores you feel free to look away, I won't be offended.

My first mission was to attempt ribs.  I would like to take a quick moment to thank everyone on this board, your extensive posts and helpful responses to others made me feel like I could eliminate many problems that I would have encountered. So I settled on two slabs of St. Louis style pork ribs.  I dusted them overnight with some Stubbs rub (which was the least salty I could find and I didn't have the time to make my own like I planned) and let them sit overnight.  I decided on the 3-1-1 method as I like my ribs a little more meaty than mushy fall off the bone but was open to seeing how it went.

The day of the smoke, I started my egg fire and then my wife grabbed me for some "urgent" house matter and after that she left and the child who isn't potty trained performed what I will call the "brownie smear" around the bathroom which needless to say took my attention away from the Egg fire.  When I returned my fire was almost 500 degrees!!  I felt great sadness that I would not be able make my ribs and contemplated quickly moving to a turbo method if I could get my flame down.  Reading some things on this forum I read that throwing a cold plate setter pizza stone could bring down the temp so I shut the air down and then after an hour or so threw in both a plate setter and a random pizza stone I had in the hopes that the fire would go down.  Amazingly, it did but I could not get it below 250 for a long time which I felt was close enough to strike.  

I threw my two slabs (along with some non bone bonus cuts) on the BGE for 3 hours uncovered, bone side down, drip pan below with some apple juice/cider vinegar concoction as well as some apple wood chips wrapped in foil (couldn't find chunks) one batch soaked, one dry.  The temp did get down to 225 after an hour and a half so I let it go the full 3 hours.  I followed the remainder of 3-1-1 method though I basted some sauce for the last hour.  The weird thing was that the ribs were essentially done after the hour in the foil based on the meat temp.  Also, in the last hour I think that one side of my flame went out.  

So the real question is, how did they turn out?   For a first time I have to say I'm incredibly impressed.  The smoke permeated the ribs which is a flavor I find to be heavenly.  The ribs were definitely done and quite tender, though I think they could be more tender going forward.  My wife stated that they were better than several BBQ joints we frequent and I fooled some friends into thinking they were from a local BBQ spot and they loved them.  I am quite pleased with my first effort.

If you read this far I thank you, and I hope you will read further as I have a couple questions for the wise Eggheads that dwell in this forum:

1) Were my ribs victimized by too high a temperature during the 3 hours uncovered term?  What would an expected meat temp be after this stage and the foil stage?
2) How much juice/cider should you put on the ribs before you wrap them in foil?  How tightly do you wrap them?
3) What is the quickest way to get an egg fire going?  I find this is the hardest part of it all.

I think next up is doing a whole chicken.

Pics of efforts (crappy iPhone photos)

Fresh on the grill
Post 3 hours:

Pre-In My Belly:

Firing up the BGE in Covington, GA


  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 13,847
    I am sorry about the Zack atttack in the bathroom.

    Way to save those ribs from going down the crapper!

    You can fly at 350 with ribs, called "turbo-style" Anything less is fine. I go at 250-275 for low and slow. The grid temp is usually around 40 degrees lower than the dome. When I have foiled, I usually put around 1 cup of liquid total. I wrap them tight to prevent steam loss(you are doing a steam/braise at this point). These days, I don't even foil unless I want "fall off the bone" ribs. The are always fantastic.

    Fire-wise, I use the firestarters and wait to get an orange glow in the areas where the starters are(around 10 minutes dome up). Then I close the dome and wait until the temp gets within 50 degrees of the target and I dial in the vent settings. I then wait for the "good smoke"

    Welcome and good work!

  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,962
    when I do foil I baste with honey...
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • jonnymackjonnymack Posts: 606
    Hmm honey.  I shall ponder for next time.  

    Thanks for the wisdom Eggcelsior, have you ever checked the temps at each stage of the process?  I didn't check at the end of the smoke but am wondering if they weren't a little too far along after that phase.  
    Firing up the BGE in Covington, GA

  • johnkitchensjohnkitchens Posts: 5,017
    I couldn't concentrate on anything in your post past the "brownie smear" shocker. TMI! 

    Seriously though it sounds like you turned what would have been a ruined day into a success. I haven't tried ribs yet, but plan to soon. 

    Louisville, GA - 2 Large BGE's
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 9,908
    I was laughing too hard after "brownie smear" to read much, but I regained composure and forged ahead.

    @Eggcelsior has the info you need re: lighting a fire. Alternatives include Weber fire starter cubes, a small charcoal chimney, mapp torch and a weedburner from Harbor Freight among others. I have used all 4 of these methods and prefer the Weber starter cubes. Clean out the ashes from the egg, pour in new charcoal over old, and light a fire starter. Other folks will chime in with their fav methods - there are many ways to skin this cat.

    I think you were doing great with your ribs, without foiling. My preference would have been to let them go nekkid until done Takes me about 3-3.5 hours at 300°F dome temp. They are done when a toothpick slides in and out easily. O try the bend test - r if you grab the rack with tongs, along the length of the rack, but stop about  the middle,  the rack will bend 90°. That means that the fat and collagen are rendered and everything is soft and ready.

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
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