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Cook time of Baby Back Ribs vs St. Louis spare Ribs on Pit Barrel Cooker

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    Cook time of Baby Back Ribs vs St. Louis spare Ribs on Pit Barrel Cooker

    I have smoked many a rack of spare ribs on my PBC. It is indeed a rib machine! I have never, ever smoked any baby backs period, but that is about to change. Carol (wife) and I went to the local NY Butcher Shop a few days ago and purchased two racks of BB ribs for me to smoke for Easter dinner. Due to the horrible weather across the south yesterday, we ate left over Stuffed peppers yesterday and I plan to put the ribs on for tonight in a little while.

    These buggers are huge! I forgot to count the rib bones before starting this post, but I will definitely have to cut the racks in half to keep the bottom of the hung racks from being in the fire below! They are also thicker and meatier than spare ribs.

    I have read somewhere that BB's tend to cook in a shorter period of time than spare ribs, so my question is is that true? I will cook until probe tender, bones are pulling back and do the bend test before I call them done, but the question remains...........if my spare ribs on PBC tend to take 4 to 4.5 hrs, what are the BB's likely to take?

    #2
    I tend to do my ribs on the 3-2-1 method. While that works good for St. Louis cut, I will go 2-2-1 with BB ribs. It seems as if these kind cook faster than the larger St. Louis varieties.

    Comment


      #3
      If they are the extra meaty kind, I find the bend test doesn't really work like it does for spare ribs. I usually just probe for tenderness. My experience with spare ribs in the PBC is just like yours, around 4 1/2 hrs. The few times I've cooked the extra meat baby backs, they've been around 3-3 1/2 hrs

      Comment


        #4
        There are two sorts of babybacks that I have come across--regular BBs and those with "additional loin meat" . It sounds as though you have some with additional loin meat. Rib for rib, in my experience, there is more meat (and fat) to be had with StL ribs than with regular babybacks.

        The problem with additional loin meat babyback ribs with that additional meat is they take longer to cook and the thinner parts of the ribs tend to dry out while the extra loin part comes up to probe tender temps. Remember that smoking time is more dependent on thickness than anything else.

        I believe that you're on the right track cutting the ribs in half so that they all experience similar pit temps as opposed to having some parts of the rack very close to the fire with a higher risk of drying out. There's no shame in cutting a rack in half--I do it all the time because I prefer my ribs more evenly cooked rather than photo-perfect.

        Go to this topic to get an idea about rib cooking times. If your ribs are thicker than regular BBs, add some time. If you have an instant read thermometer, you'll have a better idea about doneness with the meatier babyback ribs, so that's a plus. Personally, I never did trust the bend test.

        Have fun with your cook!

        Kathryn
        Last edited by fzxdoc; April 13, 2020, 03:09 PM.

        Comment


        • wrgilb
          wrgilb commented
          Editing a comment
          Th reason for extra meaty baby backs is the BB's sell for $3.29 or so a lb. in our area and pork loin sells for about $1.99 per lb.. Follow the money :-)

        #5
        I definitely believe I have the extra meaty kind. Each rack weighed 3.5 lbs raw. Dry Brined both racks for approx 5.5 hrs but seeing how much meat there is, we decided to vac seal one rack and freeze. Definitely think the two of us can get two meals each with one rack including sides. These are the meatiest ribs I believe I have ever seen. I attempted to insert temp prob into meaty area between bones..difficult at best to get a good read but @ just short of two hrs in pit reads 337 and meat 167. Had hoped to cook somewhat cooler but PBC Does as it likes as you know! Pit was below 300 for first 1.3 hrs or so but had started to climb as it sometimes does. Regardless I will go by tenderness more so than temp. As far as bend test the shorted half racks will I think not respond like they would if longer and heavier. When they get to maybe 180 or so I will start looking at them more carefully and more often for pullback. I usually carry spare ribs to around 205. Would that also likely be right for these?

        Comment


        • wrgilb
          wrgilb commented
          Editing a comment
          I go 203 to 205, if I can get a decent read on the thermapen.

        #6
        Pit temp has pulled back to slightly below 320 and I am relieved. Did not like seeing it heading toward 340!

        Comment


        • N227GB
          N227GB commented
          Editing a comment
          As long as everything is set up correctly on the PBC (lid seal, proper vent opening), I wouldn't worry too much about the internal temp. I don't even put a probe anymore in the barrel when doing BBs. I keep an eye on the pull back on the bones to know when to pull them.

        #7
        Well big surprise at least for me but these are my first baby backs [email protected] I decided to look at them and do a probe test. They were beautiful with dark reddish bark. Good pull back on bones. Probed with temp probe and it was like soft butter! So I pulled them and took them in for Carol to give her opinion..she was a prof chef for 25 years. She pronounced them done. We sauced and wrapped in foil and put into 150 degree oven to keep warm. Cook time was indeed shorter than spare ribs. 10 minutes short of three hrs on PBC! I thought it would take longer so sides are cooking and ribs are holding. Will report back with eating quality and try to remember to take a pic or two.

        Comment


        • Mr. Bones
          Mr. Bones commented
          Editing a comment
          Great Job, lookin forward to pics!
          Way to rock it, Bama!!!!
          Last edited by Mr. Bones; April 13, 2020, 06:40 PM.

        #8
        When the back ribs are burnt, the spares are done.

        Comment


          #9
          Wibs were delicious. Was so busy getting them inside the house I forgot the pics sorry but Carol thought they were my best ribs ever. Her southern fried okra and potato salad were the bomb! A great meal. Could not believe they cooked so quickly! Thanks to all for the comments and help.

          Comment


            #10
            Sounds like you had a great meal with those ribs, and a few good meals ahead with the leftovers. Congrats on a good cook!

            How lucky to be married to a professional chef. There are days when I wish my guy would cook for me for a change. But my husband has other talents, so it balances out, as with all good marriages.

            Those thick babybacks seem to have liked your PBC's higher temps.

            Kathryn

            Comment


            • Alabama Smoke
              Alabama Smoke commented
              Editing a comment
              As suspected, we had a hard time eating a quarter rack each they were so meaty. Between us we had one bone left over we foiled up with the other cooked half rack, which we will likely eat in a day or two. We wisely froze the other rack for another cook.

            #11
            Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_0474[1].JPG Views:	0 Size:	2.27 MB ID:	831657
            Last edited by Alabama Smoke; April 14, 2020, 07:02 AM. Reason: My first attempt to upload pics to this site. Not a smooth deal for me yet, but I did find 3 pics I took of the cook. A before, a ready to cook and finally a cooked half rack.

            Comment


              #12
              Looks like I need to go read how to upload pics and write comments with them, but I did find three pics from my phone. One final thought, they did dry out a little while holding in oven at 150 for around half hr. Perhaps I should have wrapped more tightly, wrapped in towel and put in ice chest like I normally do. Sure wish we could get to the point where all sides and meat come off at the same time!!

              Comment


                #13
                These were so good we decided to eat the remainder of the rack last night. They were actually better, juicer at least to me too, than they were the night before! Can anyone tell me why? All we did was to put them into a warm oven and slowly bring them up to eating temp and yes they were heavily wrapped in foil, but why or how for that matter could they be even juicer than the night I cooked them? That I do not understand.

                Comment


                • drobinson003
                  drobinson003 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Condensation?

                #14
                Different rack ? Not as lean as the other one maybe ?

                Comment


                • Alabama Smoke
                  Alabama Smoke commented
                  Editing a comment
                  This was the other half of the same rack. After brining both racks we decided they were too large to warrant cooking both racks at the same time for just two people. We have found that for our tastes anyway, smoked ribs do not freeze that well. Dry brined pork or beef we feel is fine to freeze, but we don't smoke it until we plan to eat it. Now in all fairness, we have not frozen a cooked rack since we purchased a vac sealer, so now using it, it might be fine.

                #15
                If I am early with the wibs I’ll put in a foil pan with a splash of some apple juice or apple cider vinegar, cover and put in oven at 150*. Family like fall off the bone. We don’t sauce.

                My last bb cook was 3 Costco bb’s done in just over 3 hours. I didn’t monitor pit temp.

                PBC, PBC..............
                Last edited by HawkerXP; April 16, 2020, 06:29 AM. Reason: 3 hours is the correct time.

                Comment


                • Alabama Smoke
                  Alabama Smoke commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Perhaps we should have added some pork stock with the sauce.....? We do not care for apple cider vinegar, but stock would I think have accomplished the same end.

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