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What happened to my ribs???

CrazyHarryCrazyHarry Posts: 112
edited June 2012 in EggHead Forum
I've had great success cooking baby back ribs on my Green Egg... until last weekend.  There were a number of variables that were different and perhaps it was a combination of all of them that contributed to the problem.  Just curious if anyone has any input...

1.  I was using hardwood briquets (bought them on accident) for the first time.  They produce a lot more ash and my fire wasn't quite as hot as normal.

2.  I applied BBQ sauce pretty early as I really wanted it to carmelize on the ribs.

3.  I bought ribs from a new source and they were really meaty and thick.

4.  I cooked 3 racks on my medium by curling them into a circle and standing them on end.  (I've done this before and it worked great.)

5.  I sprayed the ribs every 20 to 30 minutes with a mixture of 50% apple cider vinegar and 50% apple juice.

Normally, I use a 2-1-1 method for Baby Backs (at about 250 dome temp), but as the ribs were in a circle I couldn't foil them so I skipped this part.

After four hours I checked the ribs and they looked pretty good, but they had hardly pulled back from the bone and I couldn't pull two of them apart (doing the pull test). 

They were a little better after 5 hours, but I still couldn't pull them apart.

After six hours I STILL couldn't pull them apart easily, and they had only pulled back from the bone by a very small amount.  But when I poked between the ribs with a toothpick they seemed pretty tender.

The tenderness was pretty good but they were covered in fat.  It left our lips and mouth feeling "coated".  Not pleasant.

What happened?  Were my temps too low?  Did the BBQ sauce prevent the fat from properly rendering out of the meat?  Maybe I didn't have baby back ribs and they needed a little longer.  (They were definitely not spares, though.)

Any thoughts? 

Comments

  • ShadowNickShadowNick Posts: 520
    I think it is probably had more to do with spraying every 20-30 minutes than anything.   When i do ribs, once they go on the egg, the lid doesn't open again for 5 hours @ 250 dome, and they come out perfectly tender every time, so I will use 5 hours as a benchmark here (knowing that every piece of pork is different.)   I have heard every time you open the lid and spray on a cold liquid, you extend your cooking time by 15 - 30 minutes, so by that logic, by 5 hours in, you have opened the lid atleast 10 times, more if you were on a 20 minute cycle, extending cooking time 150-300 minutes before they are done and pull away well from the bone.  This and putting the sauce on early probably contributed to the external fat not rendering as early as it should.

    My suggestion would be to do away with the spraying, as I don't feel it adds anything, or at the very least limit it to opening the dome once an hour.  Also, if you are gonna sauce, I'd wait for the last hour for the bark to set.

    These are suggestions based on my own experience, as always, your mileage may vary.

    Also, do you have a pic of them set up on the egg?   would love to see the set up for 3 racks on the Med.
    Pentwater, MI
  • JWBurnsJWBurns Posts: 341
    I've read that applying BBQ sauce too early causes the sugars in the sauce to burn, producing an unwanted flavor. Next time I'd sauce them up right before you pull.
  • CrazyHarryCrazyHarry Posts: 112
    I've always heard that about the bbq sauce burning, too.  But that sauce was on for the last three hours of my cook and it wasn't burned at all.  In fact, I wish the ribs had carmelized a bit more.  It was a commercial sauce, with sugar, but maybe it didn't burn because my ribs were standing on end. (They were more protected that way.)

    Can temps get too low for ribs?  Maybe I need to recalibrate my thermometer again.
  • DuganboyDuganboy Posts: 1,118
    I'm a sprayer, but once an hour after the first two hours is enough in my opinion.  I like the bark on the ribs to get set before I spray.
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