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Part rant, part cry for help - all tough ribs

Hi eggheads. Sorry in advance, appreciate any help with this one. 

I can't get pork ribs, any pork ribs, to be tender and pleasant to eat. I've cooked loin, spare, belly. I've followed recipe after recipe - going for temps, not necessarily time. But every single time, they are tough. 

Today, I cooked lovely meaty belly ribs for ~6hrs at ~220F (105C) until at an internal temp of ~187F (86C) as per the recipe. And they were tough and boring. 

Having read some posts about tough ribs on here, some pretty old, I'm thinking of cooking some racks into oblivion just to see if I can get this so called collagen to transform into this supposed gelatin and make some ribs 'soft' as is reportedly possible. 

Should I?
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Comments

  • Pork Ribs are my kryptonite .  Either tough or dry.  I will be interested to follow this.

    I am thinking about hiding a Traeger in my garage to do ribs on.
    Clinton, Iowa
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 27,032
    at 190 start probing til it probes like butter. 187 its not usually there yet. i stick with small spares over babybacks. 220 is a little low in an egg, i shoot for 250 plus a few degrees. there are foil methods that braise the ribs in liquid but i stopped with that method along time ago
    fukahwee maine

    you can lead a fish to water but you can not make him drink it
  • I like my ribs fall off the bone. For me the only way to get that outcome is to foil at some point.  Prior to getting a bge, I would steam them
    in the oven for 3 hours around 275-300 in a disposable roasting pan with some liquid and wrapped in foil. I’ve found on the egg to smoke them first for a couple of hours and then wrap. 
  • I agree with @lkapigian, they are most likely undercooked. For meaty spares, six hours at 220 doesn't seem like long enough. Also, I never take temperature of ribs. Toothpick test (or bend test) will tell you when they're done. Good luck.
    Stillwater, MN
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 27,032
    if you do go with a foil option remember to braise meatsidedown or the meats not braising
    fukahwee maine

    you can lead a fish to water but you can not make him drink it
  • I would just add that there are variations with foiling as well. Some people add liquid and others just foil with brown sugar or nothing at all. I have done it both ways and each will give your ribs a different texture. I foil (without adding liquid) for an hour and that provides the desired results for us.
    Stillwater, MN
  • JRWhiteeJRWhitee Posts: 5,651
    I agree they are under cooked, dont go by temperature! Follow the guidance from the posts above, great information.
                                                                
    _________________________________________________
    Don't let the truth get in the way of a good story!
    Large BGE 2006, Mini Max 2014, 36" Blackstone, Anova Sous Vide
    Green Man Group 
    Johns Creek, Georgia
  • jtcBoyntonjtcBoynton Posts: 2,752
    Do not cook ribs by time. Do not cook ribs by temperature. Cook ribs to tenderness. Use time and temp as rough guides as to when to start checking for tenderness (rough guide only).  I would use your 187° as a good temp to start to check for tenderness but wouldn’t expect them to be ready until substantially higher. 
    Southeast Florida - LBGE
    In cooking, often we implement steps for which we have no explanations other than ‘that’s what everybody else does’ or ‘that’s what I have been told.’  Dare to think for yourself.
     
  • CornholioCornholio Posts: 1,003
    dmchicago said:
    Ribs are what I have cooked more of than any other protien on my BGE. Hundreds of Babybacks or Spares. I've never put a thermo near them.

    Toothpick/bendtest is the checkered flag.

    My ribs are always a variation of pretty good to excellent.

    I'm usually a turbo dude. 350 for 100 to 120 minutes depending on type and meatiness.

    Foiling is not my thing but to each his own.
    This^

    I used to do Carwash Mike’s method and they turned out great but took too long for how often I do ribs. Now I turbo my ribs ~350 for 100-120 minutes just like the above. If saucing I lather it on for the last 15 minutes. 

    I’ve never taken temps of my ribs, just bend and toothpick. Turbo is so quick and easy I make a rack or two for appetizers when we are having friends over to swim before we get into the smash burgers. 
  • 3-2-1
    South of Columbus, Ohio.
  • dmchicagodmchicago Posts: 2,862
    dmchicago said:
    These ribs are done:


    LOL...who da fuk "disagreed" with my post?


    Philly - Kansas City - Houston - Cincinnati - Dallas - Houston - Memphis - Austin - Chicago - Austin

    Large BGE.

    "If I wanted my balls washed, I'd go to the golf course!"
    Dennis - Austin,TX
  • CornholioCornholio Posts: 1,003
    dmchicago said:
    dmchicago said:
    These ribs are done:


    LOL...who da fuk "disagreed" with my post?


    Someone who prefers underdone ribs that are on the tough side.  =)
  • LegumeLegume Posts: 11,370
    Check the Travis brisket thread, that method is the shjt for ribs.
  • Legume said:
    Check the Travis brisket thread, that method is the shjt for ribs.
    I'm not saying this deserves an abuse flag, but I can't say it doesn't deserve one, either.
    Stillwater, MN
  • ColtsFanColtsFan Posts: 5,080
    These ribs are done too. Bend test for the win


    ~ John - https://www.instagram.com/hoosier_egger
    XL BGE, LG BGE, KJ Jr, Ardore Pizza Oven, King Disc 
    Bloomington, IN - Hoo Hoo Hoo Hoosiers!

  • Turbo ribs for the win.   Honestly,  i like a pull to my ribs, and most competitions are won with that particular style.  Throw them in the crock pot for stewed ribs. Lol
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 23,130
    Try the bend test on a 9 lb (3 bone) plate rib slab.  Toothpick for the win across the spectrum and a whole lot quicker and easier.  FWIW-
    Louisville; "indeterminate Jim" here.  Rolling smoke in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer!
  • If you do decide to foil, I wouldn’t leave it foiled for more than an hour - they can get too tender, to the point of mushy imo.

    Also, combo of butter and honey is popular with the foil crown.  
    Memphis, TN 

    LBGE, 2 SBGE, Hasty-Bake Gourmet
  • 220 is a little low in an egg, i shoot for 250 plus a few degrees.
    I'm interested in this - why do you say 220 is low for an egg? Is that to account for the different between dome and grill? My temps usually refer to grill temps, thanks to my two probe therm. But still, i tend to find that everything takes longer than 'it should' on my medium egg.
  • Thanks for your comments everyone - encouraging and helpful. Following up with a few of you.
  • Langner91 said:
    Pork Ribs are my kryptonite .  Either tough or dry.  I will be interested to follow this.

    I am thinking about hiding a Traeger in my garage to do ribs on.
    This.

    I really hope I can get them right. I can't do butts or brisket when its just us eating, but the family are going off ribs by me.
  • YukonRonYukonRon Posts: 16,195
    Ribs are one of our favorite meals, due to the versatility they offer.

    As @Lousubcap mentioned above, do what you will, however you will, it still comes down to the toothpick test. That is the only verification I have found that has worked without fail. (Thank you Frank!)

    When the toothpick has met with no resistance, you are ready to plate those slabs.

    I have done literally hundreds (I know this because I use a 500 count box of toothpicks for this specific exercise and I have about 20-30 left) of rib cooks and the toothpick method has yet to fail the first time.

    My IT for pulling ribs has never been below 195⁰F and have been as high as 202⁰F. Juicy and tender everytime, without fail.
    "Knowledge is Good" - Emil Faber

    XL and MM
    Louisville, Kentucky
  • buzd504buzd504 Posts: 3,401
    grin_phi said:
    220 is a little low in an egg, i shoot for 250 plus a few degrees.
    I'm interested in this - why do you say 220 is low for an egg? Is that to account for the different between dome and grill? My temps usually refer to grill temps, thanks to my two probe therm. But still, i tend to find that everything takes longer than 'it should' on my medium egg.

    Very few here will use grill temp (and will usually say so if they are).  Every egg has a dome therm, so that is the consistent measurement across the board.

    If you are using smoke wood, it's going to smolder at really low temps, and you're probably not going to get a really clean smoke profile.  The egg does fine (and better, IMO) at temps over 250.  I usually do ribs at 280 or so (give or take 20 degrees - wherever the egg settles) - better smoke profile and a faster cook.
    NOLA
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 27,032
    grin_phi said:
    220 is a little low in an egg, i shoot for 250 plus a few degrees.
    I'm interested in this - why do you say 220 is low for an egg? Is that to account for the different between dome and grill? My temps usually refer to grill temps, thanks to my two probe therm. But still, i tend to find that everything takes longer than 'it should' on my medium egg.

    better smoke at the higher temps.  i used to cook at 220 but had the same problems with the cooks taking longer than the recipe and it has something to do with the slow airflow at 220 in a ceramic. some metal smokers 220 is just fine and its not taking 20 plus hours to cook a butt in those cookers at 220. seems i can cook most things hotter in an egg so i bump up the temps
    fukahwee maine

    you can lead a fish to water but you can not make him drink it
  • RyanStlRyanStl Posts: 182
    I recently did turbo for the first time and they were the juicest ribs I've ever done. Try that.
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