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Ribs Queston?

Leggo My EggoLeggo My Eggo Posts: 155
edited 2:05PM in EggHead Forum
I've seen mulitiple posts talking about cooking loin backs for 4 to 5 hours. I did some yesterday for that long and they were too overcooked. In fact they almost looked done after 2 hours of smoke at 275. Meat had pulled back a good bit and they were brown in color. I wrapped them in foil for an hour (which I've never done before) and when I pulled them from the foil the bark was black. Mind you it wasn't burnt but very dark. I put them back on unfoiled for 30 minutes then sauced for the last 25 minutes. I couldn't pick them up without them falling apart. Everything I read seems to indicate that the cooking process should take at least 4 hours but it seems like 3 would be tops for me. How does everyone cook ribs so long without overcooking them?


  • Everything you need to know about cooking loin backs is right here.

    Car Wash Mike's Rib Class
  • RRPRRP Posts: 19,378
    based on what you posted me thinks you need to calibrate your dome thermometer!
    L, M, S, Mini
    Dunlap, IL
  • Thanks. I did the mustard slather & Dizzy rub & put on at 275 with no drip pan & no V-rack. I have always done them in the past at 225 but I was trying to follow the Adam Perry Lang method out of his book I just bought and it didn't work out to well for me. I've never bothered foiling before and now that I've tried it I think I prefer to cook them without that process. I've been cooking them bone down indirect at gasket level. I did notice that although the meat was tender the bark was very chewey. They were okay, just not great. I think I'll pick up a V-rack and try the CM method next time. Thanks for the suggestion.
  • Yes that seems to be a popular post lately for many folks. I guess I've never given it any consideration since I've cooked mulitiple different kinds of meals with no problems. It's worth investigating now to make sure.
  • It's worth a check. I agree that it sounds like you were cooking at a much higher temperature then you thought.
  • I just did my calibration. Boiling water and my thermometer read 140. Adjusted to 212 so we'll see how that goes. Still doesn't make sense to me about the ribs being overcooked. If anything I was cooking at too low of a temp which should of taken longer, correct? :unsure:
  • were likely cooking 70-80* too hot. Adjusting to 212* will likely help, but I'd look into getting a new thermometer.
  • Ah, the lightbulb just went off and I see what you mean now. Thanks so much for the input. One final question, when you say get a new Thermo are you referring to something like the Thermapen or a new dome Thermo from BGE?
  • WessBWessB Posts: 6,937
    Why would you suggest he needs a new thermometer? they have the ability to re calibrate them, so calibrate it and everything should be fine.
  • A new dome thermometer. I'd opt for a Tel-Tru over a BGE, as they seem to be more accurate and reliable.
  • Because adjusting that nut isn't a "calibration," and it's likely the thermo will have significant errors even after re-zeroing it to 212*. For less than $25, he can have a bit more peace of mind.
  • WessBWessB Posts: 6,937
    Adjusting the nut "absolutely" is calibrating...seen many a thermometer in my 30 years of HVAC work that are calibrated just the's merely aligning the bi-metal attached pointer with a desired point on a ya think they just put that nut there for decoration???? for no money anyone can calibrate and have piece of mind..
  • Do that, and you're reasonably sure the thermo is going to give you a reasonably correct value at the temperature you zeroed it at...and that's all. You're not guaranteed that the meter will track in a linear fashion above or below that value or, if it tracks linearly, that it will do so accurately.

    An infinite number of lines can be drawn through a single point. That's why calibration techs use, at bare minimum, a two-point calibration on non-critical instruments. Multi-point is better. Multi-point with a linearized compensation is even better.

    In the BGE world, that would mean putting the thermo in boiling water, adjusting to 212* (or whatever the BP of water is where you are), then putting it into, say, an oil bath at 400* to see where it reads. I'd be stunned if a bimetal thermo that was initially 70* off read 400* after a simple re-zeroing.

    And yes, I've done low-end stuff like HVAC sensors, and also flow meters, thermocouples, RTDs, LVDTs, radar, ultrasonic, turbidity, etc.
  • Can you fix my cooler?

  • WessBWessB Posts: 6,937
    Now here you go with all that techno scientific garbage..I aint involved with the shuttle program...just a low life hvac man as you say.....that said ANY bi-metal thermometer is "considered" to be the most accurate at the center of it's range or "dial" for you scientific types...we eggers are "mostly" concerned with the accuracy of our thermometers for low and slow somewhere round 250° given that fact..if we calibrate at 212° we're pretty dam close to the ball park were playin're resume seems impressive..but I aint hiring..we don't need any multi point calibration to cook pig...don't see the need in telling what appears to be a newbie, based on his number of posts, that he needs to spend another $25 for a thermometer because his $800 grill included a piece of worthless inaccurate junk...
  • WessBWessB Posts: 6,937
    Put some beer in it..
  • WessBWessB Posts: 6,937
    And I was having such a pleasant evening...LOL
  • I think we're in agreement: His thermo will be reasonably (+/- 10*) accurate in the low-temperture cook region when he adjusts to boiling water, but not particularly trustworthy when he ventures upward. Hence my suggestion to invest $25 in a Tel-Tru so it is.
  • unless a bimetallic thermometer has lost it's elasticity (by being heated to the point where it stretches, for example), there is no reason to believe it will be out of calibration at some other point other than what it is calibrated to. if the thermometer leaves the factory calibrated and made to a standard, the only way it will go off calibration is thru overheating (keeping the thermometer in at maybe 1100 degrees), or by inadvertently changing the adjustment nut (by maybe turning the dial while the spring clip is holding it tight).

    metal is elastic, and responds linearly to changes in temp. the only time it doesn't is when it has been deformed or experienced strain (which is not stress).

    the tel-tru is the exact same technology. you might find that the case of a tel-tru is better (no condensation), but there is no reason other than your own empirical evidence to believe two thermometers of the same technology are going to be drastically different in their ability to perform. their guts are virtually the same.

    people wig out when their BGE therm reads 90 degrees when it's 70 out. that means nothing. the thermometer is designed to work within a range, and 70 degrees is not within that range. since it's a radial dial, the range it works in is narrower than the range a mercury thermometer would record.

    having faith in one product over another is great. but arguing tel-tru vs. BGE is like arguing BGE vs. primo. splitting hairs (at least w/r/t performance)

    please take note that this not an "argument". i have nothing to gain. i don't sell these things.

    but i do know that my 7 year old, bent BGE thermo, with a hole drilled in it where i let the condensation drain, is spot on.
  • are you saying the tel-tru is constructed entirely differently, and that it does not need to be checked in a 400 degree oil bath to prove it acts linearly?

    i just find it amazing that you can describe all the ways the BGE thermo fails, without actually testing them, and then assert that the tel-tru passes those criteria, also without testing.

    the whiz might be interested in hosting a page on this. (sarcasm alert)
    to summarize:
    the bge thermo is no good. even if you calibrate it to 212 in boiling water, you are probably off if you use it for anything much higher than that. the bge thermometer would not perform well in a test of its accuracy in a 400 degree oil bath, because both BGE and the thermometers supplier never considered that such a temperature would be desirable for cooking in the BGE. the BGE thermometer does not behave linearly (we assume, anyway). the supplier likely uses randomly selected metals to construct their thermometers, and does not adhere to any industry standards. nor have they considered that users may want a fair degree of accuracy beyond the boiling temperature of water.

    the tel-tru, which is made the same way, with the same technology, performs better (again, we assume) because it costs more. we haven't done any tests to confirm this, but we are pretty sure if you DID tests it at numerous temperatures, it would prove to be accurate.

    further evidenc of the under performance of the BGE thermometer is that there are many more posts on the BGE forum about the BGE thermo being out of calibration than there are oncerning the Tel-tru. we take this to mean that the BGE thermometer is junk. we don't believe this has anything to do with the fact that vastly more users use the BGE thermo that came with their egg, and that those posts concerning a thermometer being off are just far more likely to concern BGE than anything else, given the vast majority of their numbers. we do not know of a tel-tru forum where there are complaints about the tel-tru, therefore there are no such complaints. also, there is no tel-tru forum where users are suggesting switching to the BGE thermometer.

    note that there are very few posts on any given day where BGE owners are saying that their thermometer was accurate during the previous night's cook. this must mean that they weren't accurate, and that those times when the thermometer is accurate are few and far between.

    given the above, and the empirical evidence of a couple people, it may be safely and uniformly concluded that the tel-tru far outperforms the bge, that it responds linearly, and that the BGE does not.
  • That all sounds good, but in my personal experience the BGE units failed without either being heated past their range or having touched the zeroing nut on the rear. The first and only times I touched said nut was when I was suspected the units had drifted, did the boiling water routine and discovered that they had done so. I then adjusted the units to read ~212* when the probes were plunked in the boiling water, only to discover, yet again, that they would not return to the reference temp. Something inside had clearly failed, and the units were no longer serviceable.

    It's an undeniable fact that the same underlying technology is in the BGE and Tel-Tru units. But technology is not quality, as any instrumentation engineer can tell you. I have found that the Tel-Tru units execute the same bimetal technology with a higher accuracy, reliability and quality, on average, than the BGE units.
  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    Albeit with an insignificantly small (and some would argue so small as to not allow one to develop any arguable hypotheses from the data) sample size.
  • Wow, that was quite the tirade. I'm not sure where this is coming from, but let me set the record straight:

    A. I don't know if the Tel-Tru is made the same or differently, and don't imagine you do, either. Are you able to discern a difference between, say, a Yugo and a Mercedes, given that they are made with the same internal-combustion technology? I do know my experience has been that the Tel-Tru is a superior product in terms of accuracy and reliability.

    B. If you're going to check the calibration of a Tel-Tru, you should do it in the same manner you would a BGE. I never said otherwise. Adjusting the nut on the rear of the Tel-Tru no more "calibrates" it than it does the BGE.

    C. I've never catalogued the failure modes of the BGE or the Tel-Tru. I have noted that my BGE units have failed in fairly short order.

    D. From my experience, the BGE and Tel-Tru are priced almost identically. This isn't idle snobbery.

    E. Yes, I've noticed a lot of others who have had problems with the BGE units here and that many have replaced them with Tel-Tru units based on the recommendations of others here who have had similarly good experiences with them. I have not seen a post decrying the failure of a Tel-Tru, nor have I seen a single post trumpeting the accuracy and reliability of the BGE. Not one. Please feel free to do so, though it will likely be, like Dr. Johnson's charcterization of second marriages, the triumph of hope over experience.

    My original post that set off these tantrums simply recommended that the fellow replace his thermometer with a unit highly and frequently touted by many here so his food will no longer be ruined by a defective instrument. Is that so wrong?
  • BacchusBacchus Posts: 6,019
    E. Both my BGE units have performed flawlessly. I have spot checked them both multiple times and they are within a couple degrees of dead nuts accuracy.
  • that's my point.

    you know, my brother had a P.O.S. chevette in highschool.

    i drove it later on and got even worse...

    therefore, all chevys suck and you should just skip it and get a ford/mercedes/hyundai
  • I don't doubt it, really. I personally have a low opinion of the BGE units...I'll concede it's most likely not a design problem, but one of manufacturing. And that's the nature of high-variability manufacturing: Some things turn out great, some not so great. Stripsteak seems to have one of the better units, too.
  • you actually have a low opinion of YOUR unit. let's be clear. you don't know enough (nor do i) to make an across the board declaration
  • That's possible, but what sample size do you think is required? Based on what? What statistical test are you intending to use? What confidence level?

    If we're going to use statistics, then let's.
  • Units, plural. Two of them failed in what I considered a low number of cooks that never saw temperatures near what it has been said is needed to distort the bimetal elements.

    I take back the assertion I made about no one ever having had a failed Tel-Tru here. I found a post from The Whiz where he said he popped one...after 31, >800* sessions. Don't try that with a BGE.
  • Oh, and since you invoked The Whiz, maybe it would be instructive to read what he says about the subject:

    What other brands of dome thermometers can be used?
    You may find that the thermometer which comes with your cooker isn't the highest quality. It may not stay in calibration or it may just start giving false readings. You may wish to consider thermometers from Tel-Tru Manufacturing. These cost a little more, but they are more accurate and seem to be much more reliable and long lasting. Read our web page, Which Tel-Tru Thermometer Should I Buy? to make sure you buy the right model.


    I mean, what does he know?
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