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Easter Ribs Post Mortem - no photos

So...I got my large BGE for Christmas and have had a combination of misses, in betweens and a few hits.  I have been reading this forum regurlary and have learned so learned so much from all of you and so grateful for all of the advice on this forum.  With that said, I insisted on doing baby backs ribs for Easter dinner (for 8) despite my husband's hesitation.  Here's a list of how it went down...

3 pack Costco 
Thermometer -checked and spot on
Cleaned out out egg - all fresh lump with Royal Oak which is pretty much all that I can get in VT (besides Cowboy - never again) until my delivery of Ozark Oak arrives
Rub was homemade Carwash Mike's to the recipe.  Put on 2 hours in advance with layer of mustard, generous application, plastic wrapped then refrigerated.
I didn't have enough time for low and slow and did not want to do turbo as I would be making the rest of the meal during the last couple of hours.  I decided to do a 4 - 4 1/2 hour cook at 275.  
I had an hour in advance to start the coals, do the burn off and get a good stable 275 before I put the ribs on
Set up was inverted with legs up (ha, just realized how that could be taken) drip pan on fire brick without liquids, two racks on bottom grate and one rack on middle shelf of my new adjustable rig.  
I decided not to mop or do anything more than to control the temp... "you're not cooking if you looking"
Okay, long story short here's what happened.  I didn't realize it but the lid did not get a tight seal when I closed it.  I still have to figure out what to do but the sliding bars from the adjustable rig prevented a tight seal.  The dome temp was burning hot the entire time (300) with the vents almost closed on the wheel and the bottom.  I thought that it might have been due to the new lump and clean egg so just kept trying to keep the temp down.
After 4 hours I opened the lid and had (from what I could tell) undercooked ribs.  I put on bbq sauce and jacked up the heat.  I took them off at 4 1/2 hours because it was time for dinner and really didn't have a choice
The rids were hot to the touch yet didn't have any bend, were way too salty, tough and very fatty.
I'm assuming that the undercooking was a result in the lid not having a tight seal and all of the heat was going to the top.
I guess my questions are:

1.  Does anyone (or everyone) agree that having a lid without a tight seal caused the high dome temp yet undercooked meat?
2.  Why would the ribs be SO salty?  I love salt and it was more than I could swallow.  It was my first attempt at making a rub but it seemed liked I couldn't lose.  I bought the best sugar, kosher salt and fresh paprika - along with the other spices. 

Everyone at the table had a good sense of humor but I have to say that I was pretty disappointed and frustrated.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  


  • I have had the same problem with the AR keeping the dome from closing. Any extra O2 can cause the heat to go up. I always make sure to turn the crossbars of the AT in towards the center of the egg. That seems to help.

    The saltiness could be using Kosher salt instead of table salt. Sometimes you can get too much of it. Not really sure on that though. I only use kosher salt in my cooks.

  • ScottborasjrScottborasjr Posts: 3,494
    I have had the problem with the AR being in the way of shutting the lid completely but have always noticed it when I try to close the lid.  Perhaps this is because my gasket is almost completely gone. As far as the ribs not being cooked, I have no idea. I'd think 300* for that long should cook ribs completely.
    I raise my kids, cook and golf.  When work gets in the way I'm pissed, I'm pissed off 48 weeks a year.
    Inbetween Iowa and Colorado, not close to anything remotely entertaining outside of football season. 
  • I have made ribs twice so far with great results, they were low and slow.  I guess you have sussed out the problem already as a loose seal of the egg top and bottom.  Dunno about the salt though,  Best wishes for your future cooks,
    no, not -that- one!
  • johnkitchensjohnkitchens Posts: 5,079
    I haven't tried ribs yet, but will soon. With that being said I like your sense of humor. At least you can laugh about it. 

    You will nail it soon enough! 

    Louisville, GA - 2 Large BGE's
  • gerhardkgerhardk Posts: 938
    I always foil the ribs part way through the cook and that definitely helps them cook quicker.  I am low slow guy so I do three hours on the grill, 1 hour in foil with a little added liquid and one more hour on the grill and usually sauce them for the last half hour.
  • calracefancalracefan Posts: 602

    A/R and the platesetter are not compatible, the platesetter causes it to set to high, thus it interferes with the dome. Use the spider with a stone with A/R. At least that is what I have found with my large.

    The salty flavor someone else already mentioned it was probably the kosher salt versus table salt.

    Good Luck on future cooks !

    Ova B.
    Fulton MO
  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 14,013
    What rub recipe did you use? I know CWM used dizzy dust for his recipe. I don't think it was the kosher salt. You need at least 1.5 times the amount of table salt needed to get the equivalent amount of flavor from kosher salt. Normally, the mistake is the other way around when people use table in place of kosher salt.
  • jn_austinjn_austin Posts: 29
    I  did 2 racks of ribs this past weekend and they turned out the best I have ever done. I used the 3, 1.5, 1 method. 3 hours at 250 dome temp (230 grid temp - I used an Auber Instruments controller) in a rib rack, then a covered pan with apple juice or beer (I used beer and apple slices) for 1.5 hours, finally an hour directly on the grill without any pan or covering. Many sauce the ribs the last hour but it's up to you.

    As for controlling the heat.  A laky gasket will make it difficult to control the temp. I run a gasket that one of the members here offers. Can't recall the name of it but it's been doing great for the last year without any issues. I used a cooking controller but it's not really needed on a cook for ribs. Really five hours is manageable manually adjusting the egg. I primarily use it for overnight cooks of pork shoulders. Anyway I did use one this time around and it was spot on the entire cook. Ribs were excellent.

    Oh I did use a bit of foil under by drip pan. I use the plate setter with the legs up and place a large metal pan with water inside down in there. This time I put a piece of foil to extend out past the pan edges. It provided a bit more protection for the racks of ribs as they were cooking.
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 11,117
    @pwalsten: no worries! Just pick yourself up, dust the dirt off, and live to egg another day.

    I like untrimmed spares myself, maybe because I think they are easier to cook. I rub them and smoke at 350 dome. Usually take 3 -3. 5 hrs.

    About the salt: could it be that you misread the recipe a little? Tbsp vs. tsp? Kosher salt is more coarse than table salt, so usually food ends up less salty if you used kosher instead of table salt in the recipe. Could you post a pic of the salt you used?

    Sounds like the folks at your table still appreciated your efforts, because they know about the great things to come off your egg in the future.

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • pwalstenpwalsten Posts: 5
    Thanks so much for the advice and the encouragement.  
    My bad, I did not use a recipe from CWM, instead I used the following from the the GBE website for "Championship Ribs"  
    1/2 cup salt,1/2 cup turbinado sugar, 1/4 cup granulated brown sugar, 1 tbsp granulated garlic, 1 tbsp granulated onion, 2 tbsp paprika, 2 tbsp chili powder, 2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper, 2 tsp cayenne, 1 tbsp thyme leaves, 1 tbsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground nutmeg
    I think in the future I'm going to cut back on the salt and add a little extra sugar.  I'll probably put less on too.  In addition I'll always make sure that I have a tight seal as well.  I think it's time to do a pork butt for positive reinforcement.
    Thanks again!

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