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BBQ short ribs, feedback please!

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  • wssrstrm
    Club Member
    • Apr 2018
    • 21
    • Philadelphia, PA
    • --
      22" Weber Performer charcoal grill
      Slow N Sear Plus
      ThermaWorks Smoke

    BBQ short ribs, feedback please!

    Hi All,

    Cooked up a mountain of beef short ribs over the weekend (mostly) following Meathead's recipe (https://amazingribs.com/tested-recip...ef-ribs-recipe) and would love some feedback. [EDIT: pre-cook photo added!]

    THE MEAT:
    12x 2-rib sections (about 7.5lbs total) organic grassfed short ribs from local farm, delivered frozen (don't know how marbling maps to USDA grades, but this meat is always high quality and delicious)

    THE RIG:
    Was using 22" Weber Kettle Performer, with Slow 'N' Sear Plus, ThermoWorks Smoke thermometer, Javelin Pro instant read thermometer, Kingsford Original charcoal briquettes, mesquite wood chunks

    THE GOOD:
    - Beautiful black bark
    - Thick, gorgeous smoke ring
    - Perfect flavor
    - Didn't have any problem keeping indriect zone temp at around 225 for the length of the cook

    THE BAD:
    - Most were pretty dry! These are supposed to be fall-off-the-bone tender?
    - Had to really *rip* these bad boys off the bone
    - Hit a very long stall at around 180. Eventually, most of the 2-rib sections pulled thru it, but three which were not even the biggest did not and i had to finish them in the oven
    - ThermoWorks smoke meat probe was too long for the shortribs! Much of the metal probe was exposed to the ambient air, resulting in that probe chronically overreporting the temperature of the meat for the length of the cook. I had to rely on a javelin pro instant read to actually take the temp of the meat.
    - The stall was really long, and because of the thermometer issues, I was hovering and pulling everything off the grill the second it hit 203. Even so, I feel like they were overcooked.

    Click image for larger version

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    Last edited by wssrstrm; April 10, 2018, 01:03 PM. Reason: Added the single photo I took of this meat, pre-cook.
  • HorseDoctor
    Charter Member
    • Sep 2014
    • 1147
    • Central Iowa

    #2
    A few thoughts on what happened:
    Grass fed beef is very often quite lean. May taste good in some uses but often does not lend itself well to low & slow BBQ. Much similar to how venison (also very lean) does not lend itself to L&S BBQ. It just does not have the fat/marbling that keeps it from getting dry. Think brisket flat... tends to be dry.

    I cook beef short ribs at 275F. so it's a quicker cook than 225 for sure (and shorter stall). I also cook to "probe tender" rather than to a temperature, but finish temp is usually in the 200 ballpark. Not "fall off the bone" but should pull free with a gentle bite. Twelve 2 rib sections that weighed only 7.5# must have been very short pieces. Seems like the 4 rib slabs of chuck short ribs that I favor weigh 4-5 #per slab??? Shorter chunks have more surface area for bark but I would think also more surface to dry out???

    Overall, the type of beef, time, and size will all play a part in your dry result... Change something(s) and try again! Good luck!

    Comment

    • EdF
      EdF
      Club Member
      • Jul 2016
      • 3229
      • Atlantic Highlands, NJ
      • Uuni Pro (new kid in town)
        Karubeque C-60
        Large BGE since 2002 + plate setter + pizza stone + upper grid + stainless paella pan for drippings (the best!)
        TEC Cherokee FR since 2014 (portable infrared grill - does a mighty sear)
        Polyscience Sous Vide Pro since 2012 (wasn't much else available in those days)
        Thermapen
        Thermapen Air
        ThermaQ (or its predecessor)
        Thermoworks Hi temp IR
        BBQ Dragon & Chimney of Insanity
        Various other stuff

      #3
      Guess you're going to have to practice - and eat more short ribs!

      Comment

      • jfmorris
        Club Member
        • Nov 2017
        • 3261
        • Huntsville, Alabama
        • Jim Morris

          Cookers
          • Camp Chef FTG900 Flat Top Grill (2020)
          • Weber Genesis II E-410 w/ GrillGrates (2019)
          • Weber Performer Deluxe 22.5" w/ GrillGrates & Slow 'N Sear & Drip ‘N Griddle & Party Q (2007)
          • Custom Built Offset Smoker (304SS, 22"x34" grate, circa 1985)
          • King Kooker 94/90TKD 105K/60K dual burner patio stove
          • Lodge L8D03 5 quart dutch oven
          • Lodge L10SK3 12" skillet
          • Anova
          Thermometers
          • Thermoworks Smoke w/ Wifi Gateway
          • Thermoworks Dot
          • Thermoworks Thermapen Classic
          • Thermoworks RT600C
          Beverages
          • Whatever I brewed and have on tap!

        #4
        Hmmm. Maybe these particular ribs would have benefited from being crutched a couple of hours in? That would have preserved moisture, and kept them from drying out. I followed Meathead's directions on brisket, and wrapped that at 150F or so, and it was a phenomenal piece of meat - plenty of bark, and the flat was not dried out. Maybe these needed that type of treatment.

        The Thermoworks meat probe, assuming its the 4" straight probe I have, only senses the temperature in the very tip of the probe. That skinny part where the probe narrows down, and really just the last 1/8" or so of that. Now, I can see if most of the length of the probe is sticking out, that that part would heat up and conduct temperature back towards the tip. I've never put a probe in ribs, but have had no issue with only a couple inches of the probe being in the meat. These must have been super short if you could not get much of the probe in, coming in from the end, between bones.

        Comment

        • wssrstrm
          Club Member
          • Apr 2018
          • 21
          • Philadelphia, PA
          • --
            22" Weber Performer charcoal grill
            Slow N Sear Plus
            ThermaWorks Smoke

          #5
          Thanks for your response, HorseDoctor. Definitely will try again taking these suggestions into account.

          Originally posted by HorseDoctor View Post
          Grass fed beef is very often quite lean. May taste good in some uses but often does not lend itself well to low & slow BBQ. Much similar to how venison (also very lean) does not lend itself to L&S BBQ. It just does not have the fat/marbling that keeps it from getting dry.
          This makes a lot of sense. Wondering if you or others here on the forum have any tips/suggestions about sourcing Prime and Wagyu beef from animals raised humanely and without additives and hormones? Are there go-to vendors out there with a good reputation for their farming practices?

          Comment

          • MeatMonster
            Former Member
            • Mar 2017
            • 606
            • Ellon, Aberdeenshire

            #6
            Hi definitely keep an eye on probe tenderness as well as temp. Did you salt, if so for how long before smoking?

            The thing with short ribs is that there can be a relatively narrow window of success cooking wise. So honestly I have had a few casualties especially in the early days.

            Although many folks don't crutch I usually do as I would rather risk softer than dryer.

            So make sure and salt at least 12hrs beforehand, make sure and probe occasionally from internal 185F onwards and if in doubt crutch!

            Here's a few shots of some of my keepers!



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            Comment

            • wssrstrm
              Club Member
              • Apr 2018
              • 21
              • Philadelphia, PA
              • --
                22" Weber Performer charcoal grill
                Slow N Sear Plus
                ThermaWorks Smoke

              #7
              Originally posted by jfmorris View Post
              Hmmm. Maybe these particular ribs would have benefited from being crutched a couple of hours in? That would have preserved moisture, and kept them from drying out. I followed Meathead's directions on brisket, and wrapped that at 150F or so, and it was a phenomenal piece of meat - plenty of bark, and the flat was not dried out. Maybe these needed that type of treatment.
              I always crutch my brisket too! But Meathead specifically says not crutch the short ribs or they turn into pot roast.

              I think you're on to something here, tho:

              Originally posted by jfmorris View Post
              The Thermoworks meat probe, assuming its the 4" straight probe I have, only senses the temperature in the very tip of the probe. That skinny part where the probe narrows down, and really just the last 1/8" or so of that. Now, I can see if most of the length of the probe is sticking out, that that part would heat up and conduct temperature back towards the tip. I've never put a probe in ribs, but have had no issue with only a couple inches of the probe being in the meat. These must have been super short if you could not get much of the probe in, coming in from the end, between bones.
              My instant read and my probe were giving me very different readings. I didn't assume either one was broken. Instead I assumed that the probe was giving the wrong reading because so much of it was exposed to the ambient air inside the grill because the ribs were so short.

              Maybe my instant read is broken tho! and the probe was giving me the correct reading because only the tip takes the temperature! If that's the case, I would definitely have overcooked the bajeezes out of these ribs. That would explain quite a bit.

              Need to figure out how to test my instant read, I guess!


              Comment


              • texastweeter
                texastweeter commented
                Editing a comment
                boiling water... (212) and a yeti cup full of ice water that has been sitting out an hour (32.5-33 degrees)
            • wssrstrm
              Club Member
              • Apr 2018
              • 21
              • Philadelphia, PA
              • --
                22" Weber Performer charcoal grill
                Slow N Sear Plus
                ThermaWorks Smoke

              #8
              Originally posted by MeatMonster View Post
              Hi definitely keep an eye on probe tenderness as well as temp. Did you salt, if so for how long before smoking?

              The thing with short ribs is that there can be a relatively narrow window of success cooking wise. So honestly I have had a few casualties especially in the early days.

              Although many folks don't crutch I usually do as I would rather risk softer than dryer.

              So make sure and salt at least 12hrs beforehand, make sure and probe occasionally from internal 185F onwards and if in doubt crutch!
              Wow! Those are some beautiful keepers for sure. Are these *only* salted? The one place where I diverged from the meathead recipe is that I used the same rub I use for brisket, resulting in a super black bark. Is it better to do ribs w/o bark?

              I did indeed dry brine these. Half of them got a full 24 hours and the other half got about 18 hours because I had to run some errands in the middle of my prep. I used 1/2 teaspoon of salt per trimmed pound of kosher salt, as Meathead specifies in the recipe.

              Comment


              • MeatMonster
                MeatMonster commented
                Editing a comment
                Hi rubbed and salted (and spritzd). It's really fun working out all these details, I try and out do myself every time, I love the challenge! Good luck next time you do a batch.
            • jfmorris
              Club Member
              • Nov 2017
              • 3261
              • Huntsville, Alabama
              • Jim Morris

                Cookers
                • Camp Chef FTG900 Flat Top Grill (2020)
                • Weber Genesis II E-410 w/ GrillGrates (2019)
                • Weber Performer Deluxe 22.5" w/ GrillGrates & Slow 'N Sear & Drip ‘N Griddle & Party Q (2007)
                • Custom Built Offset Smoker (304SS, 22"x34" grate, circa 1985)
                • King Kooker 94/90TKD 105K/60K dual burner patio stove
                • Lodge L8D03 5 quart dutch oven
                • Lodge L10SK3 12" skillet
                • Anova
                Thermometers
                • Thermoworks Smoke w/ Wifi Gateway
                • Thermoworks Dot
                • Thermoworks Thermapen Classic
                • Thermoworks RT600C
                Beverages
                • Whatever I brewed and have on tap!

              #9
              Test your thermometer calibration by making an ice bath, the way Thermoworks describes it here:

              https://www.thermoworks.com/thermape...ing_an_icebath

              Test both your smoke probe and your instant read this way. Just remember to NOT fully immerse the probe for the Smoke, as it is not water tight where the wire enters, and getting it wet will mess the probe up. The ice bath is a better test than boiling water, since the boiling point varies with elevation, although that is another test you can do - stick the tip of each probe in a pot of boiling water. It will read close to 212, depending on elevation.

              Comment

              • wssrstrm
                Club Member
                • Apr 2018
                • 21
                • Philadelphia, PA
                • --
                  22" Weber Performer charcoal grill
                  Slow N Sear Plus
                  ThermaWorks Smoke

                #10
                Originally posted by MeatMonster View Post
                Here's a few shots of some of my keepers!
                One other question for you! Would you say the ribs in your photos are like 2" thick?

                Comment


                • MeatMonster
                  MeatMonster commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Yep 2inch
              • wssrstrm
                Club Member
                • Apr 2018
                • 21
                • Philadelphia, PA
                • --
                  22" Weber Performer charcoal grill
                  Slow N Sear Plus
                  ThermaWorks Smoke

                #11
                Originally posted by jfmorris View Post
                Test your thermometer calibration by making an ice bath, the way Thermoworks describes it here
                Thank you!

                Comment

                • HorseDoctor
                  Charter Member
                  • Sep 2014
                  • 1147
                  • Central Iowa

                  #12
                  Really good primer on beef ribs by Aaron Franklin at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFVu_XwLrew&t=103s He's using plate short ribs. If you get chuck short ribs, they are usually a little thicker and take a little longer to cook.

                  Comment

                  • DWCowles
                    Founding Member
                    • Jul 2014
                    • 9703
                    • Smiths Grove, Ky
                    • Hi, my name is Darrell. I'm an OTR truck driver for over 25 years. During my off time I love doing backyard cooks. I have a 48" Lang Deluxe smoker, Rec-Tec pellet smoker,1 Weber Genesis 330, 1 Weber Performer (blue), 2 Weber kettles (1 black and 1 Copper), 1 26" Weber kettle, a WSM, 8 Maverick Redi Chek thermometers, a PartyQ, 2 SnS, Grill Grates, Cast Iron grates, 1 ThermoPop (orange) and 2 ThermoPens (pink and orange) and planning on adding more cooking accessories. Now I have an Anova sous vide, the Dragon blower and 2 Chef alarms from Thermoworks.

                    #13
                    #1) beef short ribs need to go higher than 203. I let mine go until probe tender which is usually at 210.
                    #2) I always wrapped them around 175
                    #3) When they are done wrap in a towel and place in a cooler or a cambro if you have one. You can also leave them wrapped in the foil and placed in the oven with the oven temp at its lowest temp.

                    Comment


                    • Polarbear777
                      Polarbear777 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Exactly. Let them stall long enough to get bark then wrap. The cambro hold at the end makes a huge difference. I won’t do beef ribs without the hold.
                  • Polarbear777
                    Club Member
                    • Sep 2016
                    • 1796

                    #14
                    Click image for larger version

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ID:	480599 Beef ribs are my favorite thing to cook.

                    Comment

                    • Ozzie
                      Club Member
                      • Mar 2017
                      • 28
                      • Lindstrom, MN
                      • REC TEC RT-300 Mini
                        GrillGrates
                        ThermoWorks Smoke
                        ThermoWorks ThermoPop
                        Weber gasser circa 2002ish
                        - 3 burners going the wrong way
                        - rusty sear bars & guaranteed sticky grates
                        - Why oh why won't it just get off my porch?

                        BOC: Summit Winter Ale (the only reason to have winter)
                        - otherwise gimme a cold Coors Banquet

                      #15
                      The standard probe does have an inherent problem of collecting and conducting heat into the meat end and affecting the reading. This will be especially true if a large portion of the probe is exposed. It is basically a heat (energy) antennae. I have switched over to these Thermoworks probes to use with my Smoke-

                      https://www.thermoworks.com/TX-1002X-NP

                      They are much smaller in length and diameter. Great for burgers, ribs, steaks, chicken compared to the big standard probe. The probes have a lower temperature range but still plenty good for low&slow cooking.

                      Comment


                      • texastweeter
                        texastweeter commented
                        Editing a comment
                        and they are waterproof ta boot!

                      • wssrstrm
                        wssrstrm commented
                        Editing a comment
                        What about sticking the ambient probe into the meat?

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