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Rib Cookoff Tomorrow - Cant't Lose - Input, Tips, and Suggestions Appreciated!!

I've been challenged to a rib cookoff this Sunday.  My LBGE against his offset smoker, each doing 2 racks of St. Louis cut spares.  Very high stakes - bragging rights and a 6-pack of the winner's choice :-).  I've done St. Louis on my cabinet smoker before, but this is the first go on the egg.  Looking for suggestions and tips based on all of you fine people's experience!! Would like input on stuff like egg setup, to crutch or not to crutch, glaze or sauce, etc...

Thanks everyone!!


  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,940
    Here's a couple of things that I've learned.

    I paint the ribs w. oil to help hold the rub. I started w. neutral flavored oils, like safflower or canola. I found an Asian peanut oil, "Oriental mascot," that has a very faint roasted peanut oil flavor, unlike Planter's. For me, that is a plus.

    What rub you is is up to you. I tend to go w. one that is a little hotter than sweet, and use enough that the meat is almost all hidden.

    When possible, I cook the slabs flat.

    I prefer hickory or oak wood for their strong flavor. Again, its a matter of taste. I put a heap of chips in the center of the lump, or 2 -3 chunks. That seems to be enough for a medium length cook like ribs.

    I have experimented with higher temp "turbo" cooking methods w. some success, but most of my experience is w. 250 - 275 dome. I cook my ribs indirect, raised, but just use an empty pan to catch the drippings. I only add fluid to the pan if the drippings are burning. At 4 hours, and no sooner, I peak at the ribs to see if the meat is drawing back (good) and/or the meat looks dry (bad.)

    If not drawing back, check to see if the rack is getting bendy. Not all slabs draw back much. If becoming tender, expect at least another hour till done. If not bendy, expect 2 hours or consider increasing the temp to 300.

    If looking dry, brush on a tiny amount of water.

    Once the rack starts bending nicely, but not folding over, I do a last oiling and spicing. Another thin coat of oil across the top, and then some extra black pepper, paprika, maybe a touch of ginger, and a final sprinkle of flaky turbinado sugar.

    I've also had good results by heating some butter, and adding black pepper and a touch of cayenne and brushing that on before the last sprinkle of sugar. I'm still iffy on that method. Don't much like maple syrup in the mix, but raw honey seems OK.

    Good luck. Pay attention, or at least be sure your foe is under the influence as much as you. :)
  • Coat with grapeseed oil or olive oil, put rub of your choice ( I like oakridge secret weapon rub ). Go with the turbo method @325 for 1.75 hrs, pick up with tongs at one end, if they bend almost to 90 degrees without breaking there perfect..should have a nice bark and still juicy ...
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,986
    325...1 hr
    Wrapped, rub with honey or b sugar and butter.. About 30-45 minutes
    Uncover and sauce... Or not. I'd say most comp ribs are.

    Be sure to keep a watcg when foiled... Dont ket them overcook. I watch the pull back and bend.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • TackmanTackman Posts: 230
    Make sure you don't have the ribs 'hanging over' the plate setter. Keep them indirect and you will be fine.
    Cleveland, Ohio
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,986
    If you have to hang over the ps.... Places a little hdaf under that part.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • I've always used mustard to hold the rub on.  For some reason when cooked you don't taste it.
    Near San Francisco in California
  • CookinbobCookinbob Posts: 1,690
    I did 2 St. Louis racks today - very meaty ribs. Rubbed last night. 4 hrs @ 250 grate per maverick. Dome was much higher. Setup was plate setter, legs up, drip pan, ribs in a rack at normal cooking grate height. Hickory for smoke.  Setup can be seen below.  I sauced for the last 15 min, (removed from rack and cooked flat at that point). Not falling off the bone tender, but a bit of bite which is my preference.  Meat pulled clean from the bones.

    Conventional wisdom here seems to be that the dome is 25 deg higher than the cooking grate temp.  I am finding on indirect cooks without a raised grate, the dome can be as much as 80 degrees higher than the grate temp, at least for the first hour.  Since buying the Maverick, I go by the grate temp rather than the dome.  If a recipe says cook at 275, I am targeting a grate temp of 250 regardless of what the dome says.

    Bottom line, I think if you keep an eye on things you will be fine.  If the cook is going a little slow, crank up the temp.
    XLBGE, Small BGE, Homebrew and Guitars
    Rochester, NY
  • bicktravbicktrav Posts: 498
    Adam Perry Lang's rib recipe is the best I've ever made and the best I've ever tasted (not by a slim margin either).  The thrust is as follows: Use mustard as a base for whatever seasoning blend you throw on.  Cook for 2 hours or so at 250-75 with some hickory.  Foil each rack.  Put liquid in the foil with each rack.  Make sure the liquid is sweet and rich: honey, butter, brown sugar.  Let it cook in the foil with the liquid for another hour or so.  Throw it directly on the grill for thirty minutes to finish.  During that final thirty minute stretch, pain a sweet, honey-based BBQ sauce on every 5 minutes. You'll end up with ribs that have a ridiculously thick, flavorful bark with melting meat inside.
    Southern California
  • Here's what I ended up doing.  2 racks rubbed with canola oil and rub.  Wrapped them in plastic wrap then foil and in the fridge overnight.  Set up the egg with a full load of new lump and a few hickory chunks mixed throughout. Plate setter in legs up with drip pan slightly raised, rack on top of that, then inverted V rack to hold the ribs.  Ended up cutting racks in half so they wouldn't hang over edges of plate setter.

    Have had the egg consistently at 230-250 grate temp (maverick measured) and is reading about the same at the dome.  On at 10:30 this morning and I'll check them here in about 15 minutes.
  • CookinbobCookinbob Posts: 1,690
    I am sure the ribs will be great.  As for the contest, it will depend on who is judging and their taste in ribs.  Good luck and tell us the outcome.  Pics would be good ;)
    XLBGE, Small BGE, Homebrew and Guitars
    Rochester, NY
  • Cookinbob said:

    I am sure the ribs will be great.  As for the contest, it will depend on who is judging and their taste in ribs.  Good luck and tell us the outcome.  Pics would be good ;)

    Aint this the truth? Somebody was on here a while back talking about losing a cookoff to crockpot ribs! Its all a matter of taste (or poor taste), i guess.

    Little Rock, AR

  • Here's my advice...make sure he isn't a better cook. :)
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 11,122
    Here's my advice...make sure he isn't a better cook. :)
    correction - next time make sure your opponent is not a more SOBER cook than you.

    So how did it turn out?

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • Howd you do in the cook off this weekend?
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,986
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • CookinbobCookinbob Posts: 1,690
    One more time. How did it end?? Lots of us have a stake in your cook!
    Also, pics or it didn't happen!
    XLBGE, Small BGE, Homebrew and Guitars
    Rochester, NY
  • BigWaderBigWader Posts: 670
    Yeah - this and the Girl Paleo Fish date guy who wanted to wow her with mad eggin skills!  How'd it turn out

    Toronto, Canada

    Large BGE, Small BGE


  • Sorry for the delay in response!  The cookoff went great and according to our "judges" there was no winner or loser...go figure.  Mine were cooked perfectly but my fellow competitor's had a little better flavor.  With the spread we had and after a few beers you could definitely say no one lost!!

  • KennyLeeKennyLee Posts: 782

    So everyone got a trophy?    Sounds like my son's little league

    Kidding, of course.  Looks great!


    Cedar table w/granite top

    Ceramic Grillworks two-tier swing rack

    Perpetual cooler of ice-cold beer

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