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No-foil ribs - nice texture, good bark

edalyedaly Posts: 13
edited 8:20PM in EggHead Forum
All the top rib recipes seem to recommend foiling, and I myself had good results with foiling on my second try at ribs on the BGE. But I wanted to see if I could get pull-apart tenderness and a nice bark with just smoking.

Here's what I did:

- Applied dry rub to baby backs the night before:


(Recipe is from a fave BBQ restaurant in my hometown - Memphis Blues in Vancouver. This dry rub has a lot of parsley and some oregano too - link:

- Tried to get the BGE stable at 250 but it didn't seem to want to go that low after I had just had it cranked high for searing some tuna. In the end it was around 350 when I put on some water-soaked apple wood chunks and tightened up the vents even more, finally getting it down to around 275F

- Put ribs on grill grate above upturned plate-setter with a pan of water/juice underneath. More sacrilege, I know, but the whole idea of foiling is that the ribs steam inside the foil so I was trying to keep it moist enough inside the egg to get the same tenderness. I also cut the rack in half so I wouldn't have some ribs hanging over the open areas around the plate-setter where the heat is higher.


- Smoked at ~250F for about 8 hours. I was away at work the entire time, and my wife later confessed that she opened up the vents a bit too much when she saw the temp drop to around 220, so the BGE got up to around 300F for about an hour.

And the final result:


Overall I'm fairly happy with they turned out. Critically, the texture was right on - **for the meaty part of the rack**. These ribs were moist, falling off the bone, and with a nice crisp, thick bark.

However the other half of the rack, which had a lot less meat were a bit too tough - they probably should have come off quite a bit earlier.

Looking forward, I'd like to try this approach again and improve on it, but I'm guessing I'll have to either buy ribs that have a very even meat distribution (hard to find), or start the thinner ribs later in the smoke.


  • I think these are the #1 "Go To" method here...

    No foil, no muss, no fuss.

    I think your biggest challenge was bringing a VERY hot Egg down to rib temp. Car Wash Mikes recipe/method seems to always be a success. You'll do even better next time!
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,940
    The "3-2-1" foled method was very popular among forum members a few years ago. I was still learning to use the Egg, and found it to be a pretty much fool-proof method for good ribs. However, I prefer dry ribs, and the method tended to make gooier than I like.

    So I have done my ribs unfoiled for the past few years. It might be my imagination, but a steady temperature seems to help. After the meat has drawn back from the bone ends, usually around 3.5 hours, I baste very lightly with a neutral oil. Once the meat begins to bend easily, maybe another 1.5 hours, I baste lightly with water, and add another light dusting of rub.

    Thickness does have an impact. I did 2 slabs last weekend where one was maybe a half pound heavier than the other. Being a little late for dinner, I boosted the temperature to 275 in the last half hour for it, but it was still a little tougher.
  • chrisnjennchrisnjenn Posts: 534
    I have done it both ways a lot of times, but foiling the ribs is my go to method now (Babybacks 2-1-1 or St Louis 3-2-1).

    There is a reason the top BBQ competition guys like Myron Mixon and Johnny Trigg foil their ribs. It works and they have won countless national/world competitions doing it this way. Most of the teams foil (most meaning over 75%). The BGE forum is the only forum I have seen that makes it sound like someone is being lazy by foiling their ribs. Kind of strange. Anyway, I know what works and I know what the big boys do, and I will stick to that.
  • NC-CDNNC-CDN Posts: 703
    I foil my ribs for the most part. I've done it without as well, but foiling is my "go to" method. I have no shame in that. They turn out fantastic!

    I also use a drip pan with juice or water. I also do this with my butts. I find no shame in that either. LOL. Nice looking ribs. AS long as you like them and you have fun making them, who cares how it's done.
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 16,771
    Thanks for the validation-I'm a Memphis style fan and have been wrestling with the no foil program as I didn't foil in my old water/gasser life. It does take longer and more patience but I'm for letting the BGE do the work and the less I have to intervene in a cook, the better.
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
  • BasscatBasscat Posts: 802
    Looks good! I hate foil, it tastes icky to me. I put my ribs on and leave the lid closed for 5 or 6 hours. The Egg takes care of the moisture, don't need liquid in the drip pan. Smoke, rub, sometimes a little sauce at the end. Works for me.
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