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Pork Ribs--To Cut or Not To Cut

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    Pork Ribs--To Cut or Not To Cut

    A little background: I am doing a cook for a charity event next weekend. Did it last year, but to a much smaller scale on a single PBC (one brisket, one pork butt, and 9 racks of ribs). People liked it so much I am upping the game this year. Moving the cook to the site of the event, and bringing not only my PBC, but three others.

    I plan on making 4 packers, two or three pork butts, and 15 racks of ribs. I figure the brisket and pork butt will be done "early" enough for me to wrap and Cambro them, leaving me at least two (if not all four) PBCs to make the ribs.

    So, to make 15 racks, I'll use two PBCs. I've done nine at a time before so this should not be a problem. However, even though ribs always come out great, there is always that last one that gets a little overdone. Would I be better off cutting the racks in half, and hanging thirty half racks using all four PBCs?

    The plus is that none of the ribs will be touching the coals--maybe leading to no burning? On the other hand, I think one of the things that makes the PBC so wonderful is that all that meat juice drips down, basting not only the meat, but also the coals. I will literally have half the load of that wonderful juice in each barrel. Is that a tradeoff to be concerned about?

    What do the experts say? Should I cook half racks or full racks?

    I did 4 packers in 1 PBC last weekend, and it took 5-6 hours to get them to 200. (foil wrapped at 160 or so, PBC ran at a very steady 290 with the lid slightly cracked (1/4 inch?)). They were very moist, but needed a crisping up in a hot weber after they had been in the cambro for a few hours for a good bark, as the cook was SO wet - there was a lot of steam coming out of the PBC. I would imagine that the butts will take a similar length of time. Perhaps rather than 4 of each in 2 PBC's, go for 2 in 4 PBCs - that would be a less moist environment and you might get a better bark from the initial cook.

    For the ribs, I would just pull them as they look ready, and throw them wrapped in the cambro with the briskets. With so much brisket and butts, the cambro is going to stay warm.

    Halving them might help as they are closer to the hotter top end of the PBC, but an alternative might be to just to move the hook to the other end once the top end reaches temp. (I've found its the end closest to the coals that often requires a little more time to get to temp). Halving them will just give you twice as many sets of ribs to watch!



      Thanks. Yes, I was planning on using two PBCs to cook four briskets--two in each--to prevent "overload". I know it can be done--Jerrod has shown us--but I have the PBCs to use and just think it will be easier.

      I'll use one or both of the other PBCs to make the pork butts. If I get two large ones, they will fit easily in one, but if I have to get three smaller ones, it might get tight to hand them.

      Either way, they should be done and in the Cambro a few hours (at least) before eating time--perfect time to get the ribs going. My general experience with ribs is that they cook wonderfully as a full rack (rather than halving), so I'm inclined to cook 15 racks in two PBCs.


      • mtford72
        mtford72 commented
        Editing a comment
        Sound plan.

      • mtford72
        mtford72 commented
        Editing a comment
        Sound plan.

      Half racks are not bad.

      I have had great success simply lowering the charcoal level since you really don't need a full basket worth of coals to cook ribs. That has eliminated any darkening of the ends.


        Ditto to what Jerod said. I also find that I get less darkening if I use straight Kingsford and avoid throwing in chunks of wood. I've also hung longer slabs at the third rib bone and have let a little bit of the rib "flop" over at the top by the meat hook.


          I cooked full racks once, now I just cut them in half.
          Get extra hooks and do half racks.
          I got an additional 8 hooks from the PBC site
          Last edited by Ernest; November 3, 2014, 12:32 PM.



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