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St. Louis Rib Failure

Smoker317Smoker317 Posts: 198
edited February 7 in EggHead Forum
So Sunday we had lots of unhealthy football food, one being this rack of ribs that took up quite a bit of space on my XL.  I didn't get a picture of the ribs completed but they had a yummy bark consisting of (after lathering in mustard) brown sugar, and a combo of two different rubs.  I hit them with apple juice  after a couple hours, the dome temp settled around 300.  I haven't cooked vary many ribs like this, normally baby back ribs.  These ribs were juicy but contained so much fat that they were basically not edible.  The small pieces of actual meat was juicy and had a pleasant smoke flavor.  The ribs were Tyson brand from Walmart.

So are these kinds of ribs consistently fatty or did I not cook them long enough?

At about the 5 and half hour mark I took tongs and grabbed about 4 ribs in and bent them, the ribs effortlessly separated at where the tongs pinched them so I pulled them.  Again, too soon or just an unusual fatty rack?  They didn't appear to be excessively fatty when I was applying the mustard and rubs, but as said we usually cook more baby backs.

Egghead since November 2014, XL-BGE & ET-732 living near Indy.
36" Blackstone.


  • TheophanTheophan Posts: 2,127
    I've almost exclusively cooked spares or St. Louis cut, only baby backs once or twice, and, though I'm no expert, I'd say if the rack bent easily to 90° angle, and even separated there, they were plenty done, and if the meat was juicy, they weren't overdone, so you must have done them right.  I think it must have been the ribs themselves, though I don't know why.  I just buy ribs in the normal grocery store, nothing fancy, and if that's ever happened to me, it was long enough ago that I don't remember it.  Weird.

    I'll hope someone more knowledgeable chimes in.
  • Hans61Hans61 Posts: 3,405
    Trim big fat chunks off before cooking is my two cents
    “There are three rules that I live by: never get less than twelve hours sleep; never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city; and never get involved with a woman with a tattoo of a dagger on her body.”
    Coach Finstock Teen Wolf
  • pgprescottpgprescott Posts: 10,522
    Fat is good. Sounds like you got the best rack they had. 
  • WeberWhoWeberWho Posts: 6,332
    I hardly ever return anything but I have returned ribs on two different occasions. Even the lady working at the grocery counter said she would have done the same after looking at the ribs. All fat and no meat. 
  • JohnInCarolinaJohnInCarolina Posts: 11,563
    You probably just got a rack that was extra fatty. It happens.

    I buy my spares from Costco, as they seem to be fairly consistent.  Might be worth checking out if you have a membership, or even if you don’t.
    "If the world is something you accept rather than interpret, then you're susceptible to the influence of charismatic idiots." - NdGT

    "The truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand." - DT

  • saluki2007saluki2007 Posts: 3,785
    I would say that spares tend to be more fatty than baby backs.  Sounds like maybe you just got an "extra" fatty rack.
    Large and Small BGE
    Morton, IL

  • DobieDobie Posts: 2,366
     I stopped buying those ribs from Walmart for just that reason a couple years ago. It’s not the cook it’s the product. 
    Not playing well with others in Jacksonville FL
  • dmouratidmourati Posts: 363
    We'd need to see a pre dry rub photo to tell what was going on with the rack.
    Mountain View, CA
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,937
    I would say that spares tend to be more fatty than baby backs.  Sounds like maybe you just got an "extra" fatty rack.
    I'm inclined to think the same. Typically, if there is still a lot of fat, and one has the time, they can go somewhat longer. Some of my best results have 80%+ of the fat crisped, and the meat was still tender, tho I usually cook at a slightly lower temp.
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 16,770
    As noted above, the bend test defined the finish-line so in that regard you were there.  That said, I am partial to the tooth-pick test for the win.  Insert into the between bone meat and get no resistance means you are there.  
    That pic looks like a rack of spares not trimmed up into St louis cut.  If so, then you had all the flap meat on one side contributing to the fat content.
    Sometimes its the pig as it sure sounds like from a cook stand-point you were there.  FWIW-
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
  • Smoker317Smoker317 Posts: 198
    I trimmed off the flap of meat and extra fat on the rest of the ribs to as close as I could get.  Unfortunately I didn't take a pre-photo, but note taken for my next smoke of St. Louis ribs, that is if I try and smoke them again (maybe a test rack next to the baby backs.) 

    I grabbed these because they were huge and the price was right, completely impulsive buy while at Walmart because we had plenty of other food for Sunday.  Guess that goes back to getting what you pay for saying.  

    #lousubcap I will try the toothpick test next time, thanks for the idea.  

    The fat in the picture towards the left bottom was probably less than an 1/8" difference than the rest of the ribs surface.

    Thanks to all for the advice and comments.
    Egghead since November 2014, XL-BGE & ET-732 living near Indy.
    36" Blackstone.
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