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Cooking LOTS of ribs

uncbbquncbbq Posts: 165
edited 9:15AM in EggHead Forum
Long story, but I need to cook 40-50 racks of ribs for a dinner. I was planning to cook them over the weeks ahead of time and freeze them in vacuum bags, heating them up for serving the night of the dinner.
My question: has anyone every just done the first three hours of 3-1-1 on the egg and then foiled and finished/sauced in the indoor oven? If I could do that successfully, I could cook two or three cookings a day and maybe get these prepared in less than a lifetime. I don't like to cook more than six racks at a time (large BGE), because I don't like them to touch each other too much during the first three hours.
If no one has any experience, I'll try this technique ahead of time and see if I can tell any difference--and keep you posted.


  • MetalheadMetalhead Posts: 668
    nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn[p]that's aloooooooooooooottttttttttttttt of ribs[p]Jan

  • uncbbq,
    what is the problem with them touching?

  • uncbbquncbbq Posts: 165
    I like for both surfaces to have as much smoke contact as possible. The extreme case would be to stack several racks on top of each other, with only the top, bottom, and edges exposed to the smoke. And the best case scenario would be for the ribs to be suspended in mid-smoke, touching nothing but smoke. So I like to separate them during the smoking phase. On the large, I can only do six racks at a time in a rib rack, and that's pushing it. I prefer to do only three racks and lay them flat, but this job requires more volume than that will allow.

  • slotmercenary,
    They don't color up or form a bark. They end up looking like pale meat. They cook fine, just look bad.

  • uncbbquncbbq Posts: 165
    You're not kidding. Rehearsal dinner with lots of OOT guests. I'm also doing some briskets for the Texas contingent, so wish me luck there. I'll probably smell like smoke for a month. There are worse things.

  • It is a lot of work cooking that many ribs. Have you ever done it?

    I would not try and duplicate your small batch method.

    Cooking early, vac packing, and reheating could cause some serious food safety issues unless you are really careful, and really know what you are doing.

    I would borrow or rent a big trailered cooker and do them on site the day of the event. Cook at 300*, no foil, your regular rub. You will be the only one who knows the difference.

    You need to be careful legally as well. Who will get sued if someone gets sick? Is cooking for this deal worth bankruptcy?
  • uncbbquncbbq Posts: 165
    I've done this several times on a smaller scale with excellent results. Just quick-freeze the vacuum sealed ribs right off the grill and reheat them by dropping the frozen vac-sealed bags in boiling water. No food safety "danger zone" time to speak of at all. They will keep well for weeks (probably months) if properly vacuum sealed. I will need several very large pots and probably a gas turkey-fryer type of arrangement to heat that many ribs at once.
    The question I need answered (which no one has done) is whether ribs finished in an indoor oven the last 2 hours of 3-1-1are comparable to those done entirely on the egg. I know the foiling stage makes no difference; heat is heat. But how about that last hour?
    If I get no one with experience in this technique I'll run a test batch and keep the forum posted.
  • tach18ktach18k Posts: 1,607
    I have 18 racks, there is a way, I'll post how later, no need to freeze!

  • tach18ktach18k Posts: 1,607
    uncbbq,[p]I have done this several times.
    I start out doing the 3,1,1 method but there are changes. I start with about 5- 6 full racks. I set up a indirect cook, the racks on their edges and use a dome temp of 250, no less no more. I let them go for 3 hours, I then remove them to a 3-4 deep alum pan, I cut the full racks in half at this point. I cover the ribs lightly with the "sauce of the day" or what ever you will use at the end. Not too much as you don’t want to over do and steam the ribs. I then put the covered alum pans in the a Direct Egg setup and rotate top to bottom every 15 minutes to keep the ribs from burning, for an hour or so. I remove the covered pans and let them rest on the counter for about an hour. Next into the refrigerator they go till the day of grilling. On that day of grilling I set the house oven to 175 and just warm the ribs up for about an hour or less, just enough so the harden fat melts. Transport these to your final grilling spot. Now the ribs are ready for the final grilling and saucing. Just grill and sauce the ribs as needed. Like I said I have done this before and days ahead, the most I did were 18 racks over 3 days.[p]

  • No one but you will ever know the difference. Good luck...
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