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First ribs a disaster! Help please!

SwoopSwoop Posts: 5
edited 4:12PM in EggHead Forum
Hi everyone. I'm new to the egg, and I'm looking forward to future cooks on the egg.

I just smoked my first rack of ribs. This was my first time using the egg, and they turned out chewey. They did have a nice smoke flavor, but too overwhelming. I don't know what went wrong. I even made sure to boil them before I put them on the egg because I heard it makes them more tender. That's how I always did them on the old gasser. Could the smoking wood be to blame? I used some fresh chunks from my neighbor's grapefruit tree, so I know the wood was nice and fresh, and it gave off plenty of smoke.


  • On this forum, you're going to read a thousand different ways to do it. Just depends on how much time and trouble you want to invest. I get my coals good and hot, smoke with hickory or mesquite. I know there are exceptions to the rule, but here in the South, boiling the ribs first is taboo(with all due respect, this is a Northern trait that has migrated south). Remove the membrane from the ribs, apply your favorite rub. Put in the plate setter legs up and put the grid on the legs. Use a pan under your rack and pour in water or your favorite juice drink(a lot of folks use apple juice). I use water,and I add more as needed. Set your temp. on 250 to 275 degrees. Maintain this temp. for 3 to 4 hrs. turning the ribs once. Some cooks wrap them in foil toward the end but I don't. Last hour, slather on your sauce and continue until ribs are tender and done. This has always worked for me and my ribs have been hard to beat. Good luck, Pilcher Man ;)
  • SwoopSwoop Posts: 5
    Thanks for the help, can't wait to give it another try.

    But what's the membrane?
  • Yeah, the clear, tough membrane on backside of the ribrack. Use a knife and slide it under the membrane next to the bone and peel it off. Be careful! Your ribs will be more tender.
  • JLOCKHART29JLOCKHART29 Posts: 5,897
    Also you can just take a piece of paper towel and grab the membrain with it and it will pull right off. The paper lets you get a grip on the slippery sheeth. Remember low and slow. 250-275 (don't get to caught up in exact temps at all times) pit temp indirect. The more you do the ribs the more you will be able to judge cook times. 3 hours normaly uncovered then about 30ish foiled with a whiskey/Coke mix in bottom of foil, then another 30ish back indirect unfoiled to finnish.
  • You will get different opinions on the process but here are how a couple real good cooks do it.

    Watch this

    Read this

    Read this

    My preference
    Neaux boil, neaux foil zone here
    Remove membrane
    Slather with yellow mustard
    Plenty rub - DP Dizzy Dust or John Henry's Pecan
    Pecan for smoke
    On the Egg indirect with neaux liquid in a drip pan
    240-250 dome
    Spritz with 50/50 apple juice apple cider vinegar after a couple hours every 30-45 minutes
    After 5 hours check to see if they are done with bend test
    Once done, sauce with Sweet Baby Rays or Blues Hog and let the sauce set for 15-20
    If you are doing dry ribs - pullem and eatum
    Plan on 6 hours in the smoke but may be done in 5 or 7. Don't cook to time, cook till done.

    Good luck with it

    They are done when they do this

    Foil if you like but never boil.
  • BMFDBMFD Posts: 25
    Less wood equals less smoke. Ditto on membrane removal.Sounds also like they were severely undercooked. Spares need to cook for five or more hours at 235 F. Think LOW AND SLOW. Longer cooks generally produce more tender ribs.

    Google and read the website, lots of good info.

    Another tip, after boiling ribs throw them away and start with a new rack directly on the smoker :P
  • Car Wash MikeCar Wash Mike Posts: 11,244
    I'm not for sure where to start. First you don't boil ribs. Fresh wood? The wood was green, it should be dried. Did you cook them indirect? What temp? Did you have a clean burning fire?

  • In addition to the good info already posted, I would add the following:

    You must let your fire burn until the smoke is clear/nonexistent before you put your meat on.(+/- 20 minutes)

    Your smoking wood may have been green so it may have produced too much smoke. Although I've used apple that was relatively green and it was fine.

    I cook BB ribs a minimum of 5 hours at 250, Spares longer.

    I use a rib rack and never have to turn them

    you can also cook for 3 hours, wrap in foil and cook for another hour, then unwrap and finish cooking for another hour. The foil cook softens them up while the final unwrapped cook will firm them up so they're not soggy.
  • Great post....

    I think you should double boil them next time.

  • Car Wash MikeCar Wash Mike Posts: 11,244
    LOL Maybe just longer.

  • BMFD wrote:
    Another tip, after boiling ribs throw them away and start with a new rack directly on the smoker :P

    :laugh: B) :laugh:
  • BacchusBacchus Posts: 6,019
    Try doing them without any wood, other than the harwood charcoal. Forget the boiling, and the water/juice in your drip pan. 5-6hrs at 250deg
  • BobSBobS Posts: 2,485
    I googled citrus wood and found that people use it (or at least sell it), but I was surprised, because I don't think I have never heard anyone mention using it.

    I would go with cooking directly, as already suggested, and use a more traditional wood, to get a traditional flavor and then start experimenting.
  • Swoop,

    Welcome. Too bad about the failed ribs, but sounds like you're taking it as a learning experience.

    I'm not going to repeat what might have gone wrong, as I think the others have already given you some good advice and ribbing ... pun intended... ;)

    One general bit of advice... when you post here looking for help on a cook, the more detail you can provide, the better people can guide you. So for example, on this cook, you didn't tell us:

    1) Whether you cooked direct or indirect
    2) What temperature you cooked at
    3) How long you left them in
    4) What method you used to determine when they were done
    5) What you did to prep them (e.g. any marinade, rub, etc., removing membrane, trimming fat, etc.)
    6 What you did during the cook (e.g. basted, foiled, changed temperatures, sauced, etc.)

    Good luck,

  • chronochrono Posts: 177
    I can attest that my bge is a rib machine ..

  • EggSportEggSport Posts: 33
    Good stuff ! Please add any comment re. Dizzy Dust and John Henry's Pecan. J Henry's is available locally (St George, UT) but hesitated since his OLE Stockyard Steak Rub was really spicy hot (and we like hot stuff for many things). Is the Pecan a bit milder ? Searching hard for a top notch rib rub. Ribs here are done with Royal Oak lump charcoal and pieces of pecan (and/or cherry) scattered throughout. Back to rib rack for next cook as well.

    Tom B
  • tach18ktach18k Posts: 1,607
    I guess you heard, dont boil ribs, Ok, I dont use a pan with water, makes no sense to me, Egg maintains moisture so really not needed. I use a 14" alum disposable pizza pan to catch the dripping, no fluids, at least 4-5 hours indirect, I dont foil too much any more. Need the dome temp at 250 for 20 minutes before putting the ribs on. Oh yes whole or half rack, dont cut them into pieces first.
  • BigABigA Posts: 1,157
    Chrono - Looks good, how do you do it??
  • BananaChipzBananaChipz Posts: 207
    Here's my method.. hope this helps:

    [ul]I tend to boil my ribs for 2 hours in a mixture of water and diet Fresca.
    Then I fire up my egg to 400 degree dome temp.
    I don't use a platesetter. I've been told that too much ceramic causes ribs to taste like play-doh
    For smoking wood, I use some old oak furniture. Some have told me to make sure there is no finish, but I used some the other day that had Spar Varnish on it, and it worked great.
    I smoke the ribs for about 15 minutes, then take them off and put them into another pot of Diet Fresca until my guests arrive.

    I'm not here to brag, but I have one 2 grand championships with this recipe.
  • BacchusBacchus Posts: 6,019
    AWESOME BananaChipz, I'm gonna try that the next time I do ribs. Sounds Delish. Isnt all Fresca Diet?
  • BigABigA Posts: 1,157
    YES LISTEN TO ALL OF THEM! Don't ever boil ribs no matter what! Even if you drop them in the dirt, the dirt will taste better than boiled meat! Nothing else to say, everyone has said what needs to be said.
  • BananaChipzBananaChipz Posts: 207
    LOL.. I think at one point there was a non-diet Fresca.. I heard the chemicals in the diet help breakdown the meat better :)
  • chronochrono Posts: 177
    Just like everyone else -->

    - remove membrane from spares
    - slather on mustard
    - heavy coating of KC style rub
    - let sit overnight
    - indirect 250 for 5 hours, bones down
    - wrap in foil 45 minutes, bones up

    That's it .. yum yum
  • Misippi EggerMisippi Egger Posts: 5,095
    Forget the boiling - I think you got that message ! ;)

    Most experienced Eggers on here do not put liquid in their drip pans. It is not necessary with a ceramic smoker. Some think they add a flavor, but I've never been able to tell a significant difference from a flavored liquid compared to a dry pan with fruit wood chips.

    Also - do not soak any chips or chunks - again not necessary with a ceramic cooker.

    You have to drop many of the 'old gasser ways' when you move up to the world of BGE cooking! :woohoo:

    Good luck on your next, fantastic cook ! :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
  • JH Pecan or Dizzy Dust are milder - not spicy and just rite for wibs IMHO

    Bad Byron's has a little more kick to it if you want to kick it up a notch
  • EggSportEggSport Posts: 33
    Thanks for quick Reply. Dizzy's is always a great choice, but I'll grab some John Henry's Pecan today and enjoy some tasty ribs! Back to the mustard slather too !

    Tom B (EggSport)
  • schmeetexschmeetex Posts: 69
    If you use Diet Tab instead of Fresca, will that give the ribs a sweeter taste?
  • BacchusBacchus Posts: 6,019
    I may add the Valspar directly to the Fresca water and boil the ribs in that.
  • It would help if you mentioned how long and at what temp. you cooked the ribs.

    It sounds like you were too anxious to eat them.

    Never, never, never, never boil your ribs, unless you want average restaurant-type ribs.

    You can do much better, stick with it.
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 28,817

    That sounds like an awesome method. Do they still sell Fresca here. Haven't seen it in years. Can I substitute another pop?



    Caledon, ON


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