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Need some advice on what I could have done differntly

morganpsmithmorganpsmith Posts: 2

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I set out for my third cook this weekend—three rack of baby back ribs on my large egg. I pulled together an assortment of recipes from the forum and settled on the following:


1.       Healthy rub down with mustard, pork rib rub and saran wrap—refrigerate for four hours

2.       Plate setter in for indirect heat, with a drip pan filled half way with a combo of water and apple juice

3.       Apple wood on the four corners of the pit and wood chips sprinkled in the lump coal

4.       Dome temperature of 350 degrees for 1.5 hours, bone side down

5.       Remove from the grill and wrap in foil, adding honey and apple juice in the foil – back on the grill for 1 hour

6.       Remove the foil and baste with bbq sauce and back on the grill for 30 to 40 minutes


Everything went smoothly until the last step. The grill temp had fallen to 200 and I couldn’t get it increased. Both vents open completely with me blowing at times through the ash vent to circulate the air. The drip pan of water / apple juice had also evaporated out and I ended up pouring more water into it—possibly cooling the oven? I left the ribs on for 1 hour but had to pull them as the family was getting restless.


The result—best tasting ribs I’ve ever had, but not the “pull the bone out of the rib” that I usually get from baking them.


So my questions:


1.       Should I have not filled the pan back up with water?

2.       Would you have pulled everything out of the grill and added more coal?

3.       Had I left the ribs on the grill for another hour would they have become more tender?

4.       How do you guys “relight” the grill in these instances?



  • SmokeyPittSmokeyPitt Posts: 9,860
    I think the consensus will be to loose the water in the drip pan.  It just messes with your temps and is not needed.  Use a dry drip pan, and try to elevate it off the plate setter to create an air gap. 

    The ribs will become more tender if they cook longer.  If you extend the foil stage you will get the most bang for the buck, but IMO you can over do it.  It's a matter of personal preference, but I no longer strive to achieve "fall off the bone".  I try to get them where they are tender where you can bite them off the bone, but I don't like it when you go go to pick them up and the bone is in your hand and the meat is on the plate ;).  

    To be honest I haven't had to completely relight my egg.  I use a wiggle rod to make sure the grate holes are clear and I have always been able to "resuscitate" a dying fire.   If it was out completely I would just remove the food and relight.  In your situation, I think I would have wrapped the ribs and put them in the oven for a little while while I got the egg re-lit and stabilized.  

    Which came first the chicken or the egg?  I egged the chicken and then I ate his leg. 

  • Did you load in lump before your cook?  Hard to believe it was used up in only a few hours.  Sounds like airflow issues.  As mentioned above, a wiggle rod (a coat hangar works just fine) should have solved the problem.  I don't think the water had anything to do with it unless it leaked out and somehow extinguished the fire.

    Damascus, VA.  Friendliest town on the Appalachian Trail.

    LBGE Aug 2012, SBGE Feb 2014

  • chainsaw19chainsaw19 Posts: 257

    Lots of ways to do ribs, but I go with a lower temperature to start  240-260 and it holds steady through the entire cook.  That would be my suggestion, but you will get many different opinions when it comes to the best way to cook ribs.   

    To some of your other questions, I have added coal on long cooks, but if near the end, I sometimes just wrap in foil and finish in the oven, but just depends how close I am to desired temperature as to whether it makes sense to add more lump or not.

    I havent ever used water in the Egg, have never seen a need for it, and most people on here seem to agree.


    Large BGE Middletown, MD
  • TexanOfTheNorthTexanOfTheNorth Posts: 3,917
    I can't add anything that others have not said other than that I do my ribs in the 250-270 range and don't wrap them.

    I do empathize with your having a "restless crew"... always adds some extra pressure 
    Well, "spa-Peggy" is kind of like spaghetti. I'm not sure what Peggy does different, if anything. But it's the one dish she's kind of made her own.
    Aurora, Ontario, Canada
  • not to say don't use it (I don't but it really does not hurt) but water is more important in the big cavernous steel smokers. They are so inefficient that you have to have a significant draft of hot air moving through at all times to heat the smoker. This is like having a giant hair dryer blowing on your meat the entire cook so steam helps offset that. The egg is so efficient that the heated ceramics provide much of the heat and the cooking area is a fraction of the size of most smokers. You only need a tiny bit of warm air to warm the cooker compared to the big steel cookers so you don't get the drying affect you get in the larger uninsulated steel cookers. 
    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • yellowdogbbqyellowdogbbq Posts: 384
    Great advice above, I like to keep it simple -pull membrane on bone side then use a good dry rub (mustard doesn't seem to add anything and the rub coats well by itself) then stabilize the egg at 260-280 dome and place the ribs in a rib rack bone side down.  I cook them for 4.5 hours then lay them flat on the grill and sauce.  After an additional 1/2 hour of cooking pull and eat.  This is a modified Car Wash Mike method and works well for me.  Water in the drip pan will keep the drippings from burning but it will evaporate quickly at a temp of 350 and most don't think it is needed.  Good luck and the best thing to do is plan another rib cook soon.  
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,935
    Again, no need for the water. I only put water in the pan if the drippings begin to burn.

    The dome temp will always drop around 50 degrees after being opened for more than a few moments. It often takes 10 - 15 min for the temp to come back up. Adding the water just gave the heat something else to cook away. The condensing vapor was below 212, so the ambient temperature went down and stayed.

    I haven't done BBs at 350F, but at that temperature, the meat shouldn't "stall" until around 190F. At that point it should be quite tender, and close to done. Doesn't really need the foil step except to bathe the meat in the flavors. For me, simpler is better. Rub, drop on the grill (I like 250 - 275, raised, indirect not using a platesetter. Take a peek after 3 hours. Another at 4. Expect them to pass the bend test at 5. Remove, and coat w. heated sace, if using sauce.
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 28,817
    gdenby said:
    Remove, and coat w. heated sace, if using sauce.
    Yes. I like the flavor of ribs too.


    Caledon, ON


  • SkiddymarkerSkiddymarker Posts: 8,347
    SWMBO likes ribs the way you cooked them, not my favorite, but that does not matter, at our house it is smoked, foiled, sauced. The High-Q grate helped with air flow, the BGE grate required a wiggle every now and then on low temp cooks to keep the heat. 
    +1 on the lose the water pan, keep the drip pan to keep the setter clean, but lose the water pan. 
    Delta B.C. - Move over coffee, this is job for alcohol!
  • JRWhiteeJRWhitee Posts: 4,493
    I do my ribs at 260-270 as well for about 3 hours indirect then you can foil for an hour to loosen the meat from the bone after the foil hour I put the ribs back on the egg for an hour without foil it seems to help keep the meat from completely falling off the bone you can also sauce them the last hour, I prefer dry myself. I never use water in the drip pan not needed in my opinion. I agree with everything above as said there are a number of ways to do ribs, this is the way my family likes them. 

    Large BGE 2006, Mini Max 2014, 36" Blackstone, Anova Sous Vide
    Green Man Group 
    Johns Creek, Georgia
  • texbaggertexbagger Posts: 90
    edited May 2013
    225 for 5 hours works for me.  I'm only thinking you pulled them off too soon if they were tough to eat however fall off the bone is not the best case scenario.  I always tell my wife they are done when they are done.  Use the toothpick/fork method. When you feel no resistance they are done. You can also pick them up with tongs about 1/3 to half way under the ribs and look for the meat to crack open at the bend (my fav method). I also agree other comments with the no water and finish in the oven when required to speed them up.  I will  add one more comment, don't rush your food.  Biggest mistake I ever made was raising the temp in the egg because I was impatient. Well, thinking about it, the other mistake I made was listening to my wife when it comes to the egg.  You will learn more here than anywhere! I quit listening to my wife about her opinion on Q a long time ago.  Bless her heart, she means well.
  • bbqlearnerbbqlearner Posts: 760
    Never had issues with lump in my experience as long as I filled it up properly in the beginning so most likely, airflow issue. Also, agree with all comments above - no need for water. Other than that, sounds like a good cook. Congratulations! =D>

    Houston, TX - Buddy LBGE, Don SBGE, Tiny Mini & Shiny Momma Pitts n Spitts

  • cookinfuncookinfun Posts: 129
    My input is to go indirect, no water pan, but use pan to catch dripping, "spaced" from indirect divider.  IMHO water does not add much, and may even hinder the cook.

    As far as lump, I load the firebox up, ( and use the Hi-Que grate ), and don't look back.  But occasionally the coals soot up and I use a wiggle rod ( a modified coat hanger, oh well..)
    (2) LBGEs,  WSM, Vidalia Grill (gasser), Tailgater Grill (gasser)
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