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Again... w/ the Short Ribs

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    Again... w/ the Short Ribs

    Clearly these are my new favorite cut!!! Was looking for Chuck Ribs today, but all I could find were plate ...and Perry's had some Plates that are about twice the thickness/weight of other racks I've done, at just under $6/lb. Couldn't pass them up. So I am about to start the dry brine of 4 racks of Plate Short Ribs, weighing in at just over 18 lbs., before trimming the fat. I am guessing I'll lose 20% in fat trimming, based on past slab cooks. These will be for a Mother's Day family get together, Sunday afternoon.

    The dry brine will be 1/2 tsp. per pound, and no less than 24 hours, as I am guessing they will go on the smoker about 12am Sunday morning. The rub will consist of black pepper, garlic powder, & cumin. Since the family typically likes a bit of variety with rubs, at our get togethers, and I want to experience for myself the differences ...one rack will be brushed with oil, one will have a yellow mustard coating, the third will have a jalapeño mustard (that I love on sandwiches), and I am undecided as how to do the fourth. Maybe just the rub on that one?

    The plan is 225°, with a bit of White Oak at the start, and a water pan on the heat deflector. No wrapping is planned, as usual.

    My question/s... how much longer should I expect these to take, seeing as they are so much thicker. They will be cooked in slab form. Being thicker, is a higher temp recommended, or will that cause them to shrink more/be tougher? What, if any other changes should I consider incorporating, due to the thicker beef/larger bones? Is it common to raise pit temp at the end, to push past a second stall, or is there a noticeable difference in just letting her 'ride thru'?

    Past cooks have shot for 225, and have done a fairly well job of staying close, however not calibrating the probes till last weekend probably had the pit's temp closer to 230+, with variances maybe as high as 255° for short periods, due to operator error (not the stoker's). Also, the food probes were reading low before calibration, so I am thinking I pushed internal temp too high and held it there too long (in a perceived second stall), trying to achieve what I thought was 203° (but probably closer 209 in actuality).

    Anyway, all past cooks have most definitely been edible, so I'm not too concerned with really screwing them up. Just want to make them as good as possible, with my skill set, and to make sure I leave enough time for them to complete cooking. That's my biggest concern really. Other advice/suggestions are welcomed.
    Last edited by TheCountofQ; May 8, 2015, 06:07 PM.

    I would expect them to take an hour to hour and a half longer than usual. I would not shoot for a higher temp because, it my get to dry on the outside before the inside has reached your desired internal temp. Keep that temp right where you always cook at. When I'm using my PBC I always ramp up the heat to form more bark at the end of the cook. But this is only for brisket and pork butts. With the bones being in there you may see a faster rise in temp because of the bones transmitting heat to the inside on the chuck. Honestly, I would just let them ride through. If it takes too long, you can always wrap if need be. I too, avoid wrapping butts and brisket till the very end. (180 F -190 F) And I have never wrapped my ribs. As for your temp variances, I don't think that 25F really makes that big of a difference in the long run. That is just my opinion however. Others here may disagree with me on this one. I find that if I try to get the temp just at 225F I over think something and I watch the thing yo-yo for hours, not fun. I have learned to let things ride as long as they are in acceptable deviations from my target temp.

    I hope this helps. There are plenty of folks in The Pit that can also shed light on this.

    Good luck my friend. I look forward to seeing pics of this feast.



    • TheCountofQ
      TheCountofQ commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for all your input and advice!!!

    Short ribs have never stalled on me. I normally do 220-250 range, 5-7 hours.


    • TheCountofQ
      TheCountofQ commented
      Editing a comment
      I always get a little one, and I do mean little. Raises to 160ish and holds for an hour or three before creeping on up to target. My charts also show a second one in 'just under 200' zone, but as explained in the original post, that is probably due to a calibration error.
      Last edited by TheCountofQ; May 9, 2015, 08:12 AM.

    • JeffJ
      JeffJ commented
      Editing a comment
      Same here, Count. When I cooked them they stalled at 160 but the stall didn't last long. Took about 6 hours to hit the desired temp. I am going to cook them again Memorial Day weekend in the 14.5 WSM.

    • Ernest
      Ernest commented
      Editing a comment
      I stopped probing mine. I've cooked too many of them I can pretty much guess how long they'll take. LOL!
      I get them from the same butcher shop so quality is consistent.

    Click image for larger version

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ID:	82372 They went on a little after 1am, shooting for a 3pm meal. Have started adding them below 225, so as I don't need to choke the fire back right after, due to excess oxygen from the lid opening. It was about a 2 hour warm up, and the 6oz of white oak was thinned and blue.

    The rub was adjusted from the original plan to the following:

    4 TBSP freshly ground Black Pepper (a bit more next time, if I can get the flavor not heat)
    3 TBSP Garlic Powder (a bit less next time, maybe 1 1\2-2 TBSP)
    3 TBSP Cumin
    3 TBSP Brown Sugar (weigh next time)
    1 tsp New Mexico Chili Powder (has a sweetness to at first, followed by a slight heat)

    Dry brine was about 27 hours. Pre-cook slab weights... 1) 3lb 12oz... 2)3lb 6oz... 3) 4lb 10oz... 4) 4lb 9oz.

    Two slabs had an oil base before the rub (one was rubbed a bit lighter than the rest, for the child). Two slabs were mustard slathered, one plain & one jalapeño mustard.

    Had some "weirdness" with the ATC, several times during the cook, but mostly acceptable. They were on about 13 hours, at 225, but the two larger slabs really didn't want to hit that 203, so I raised the pit temp near the end. Wrapping may have been a better choice, but I really didn't wanna go that route. The chart will tell the tale. Wish I would have known the parents were going to be an hour late.... dinner was scheduled for 3pm.

    Pulled the last slab off at 2:30ish, wrapped and rushed over to the brothers house. Let them rest that way till 4pm, when the parents arrived. Sorry, no pics of the finished product, as each slab was being picked at heavily as I cut. I liked the color of these much better though. Had a reddish tint to the brown, instead of just brown or black. Maybe a deep, dirty, burgundy.

    The jalapeño was the first to disappear, with only the smallest rib left BEFORE grace was said and we were at the table. I was really concerned with this slab, as I tasted a crumb of the bark, fresh off the grill, and the jalapeño's heat really stayed with me, but she really mellowed during the rest, and provided a pleasant, not too intense, afterheat. I would actually like to impart even more jalapeño flavor, without stepping up the heat.

    These fed 5 adults, and a 5 year old. She couldn't shut up between bites, about how good it was, working her way around, eating all the bark first, then everything except the membrane. Adults might say "it's good" to be polite. 5 year olds.... I think not.

    So... oil or mustard? Even though the jalapeño mustard went first, the comments leaned towards the oil based having more deepness & complexity in flavor. Bark was comparable. I'll just have to get the jalapeño in there "old school", I am thinking. (No Powder). Maybe add some diced onion to the mix too (I can't stand onion powder....reminds me of chefboy-r-dee canned pastas). Possibly move back to fresh garlic, and maybe pan roasting Comino seeds and grinding instead of store bought cumin (a friend of mine does this). Also, I think the mustard added salt to the surface, and I don't think it needed any more there.

    The small dog, consumed all but about an inch of one of the smaller bones, very quickly. Had to take that away for fear of choking, but replaced it with one of the larger Fred Flintstone bones, which she worked another couple of inches off of in short time. She has a good supply in the freezer.

    While it was good, I don't consider it a complete success though. Some of the meat just below the bark was a little tough/chewy, in my opinion. I'm guessing due to raising the temp rush them at the end. I'm thinking a little mop could help with that too. The leathery backside membrane, which I like to chew on like jerky, didn't dry out as much as it has for me in the past.

    I also noticed with these large slabs, temps were much higher near the bone, than out near the edges. Am wondering how close to the bone I should be probing these. 1/4 inch away on top of, or maybe the meat between?

    My final thoughts, while the slabs can be impressive, I'm going to go with Meathead on this, and say maybe just 2 or 1 bone cuts. Will get done quicker, I am thinking, and allow more surface area for rub. I am curious how the use of a Jaccard will affect these also, and will give that a try if should I tackle these large slabs again. Shoot, I'll probably try one out on the small ones too. Also, I would consider just using the two first (larger) bones when cut from a slab, for the smoking, and using the 3rd (my experience is this one is mostly shiner after trimming fat anyway), and possibly the fourth (usually a decent piece of meat, in a triangle type shape on the corner of the slab) in either a bone broth, or maybe added to some course ground brisket for Steakhouse type burgers.

    Sorry for the long winded post, as well as lack of finished product pictures. Comments, critiques, and suggestions are more than welcomed!! Click image for larger version

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    Last edited by TheCountofQ; May 10, 2015, 09:44 PM.


      I just found some chuck ribs at BJs. Do these cook up much different from the plate ribs?


      • TheCountofQ
        TheCountofQ commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm still a bit confused on the difference. Speaking with a butcher, as he had some in the case that were labeled chuck, he brought out a cryovac pack that was exactly what I have been buying as plate. He said they take the best ribs, cut them, and put them in the case. The rest is used for other things. He said they were the same thing, but if one really wanted to get picky, those chuck ribs in his case were really just those two ribs before the big strip of fat that I always trim out.

        Then again, visiting four butchers, looking for plate rib slabs (and an education) another one told me all they had in slab was chuck ribs and they don't carry plate ribs. Ha, I call BS on that, as those pictured above are from that very store, and they are most definitely plate.

        Only one I think actually had chuck rib slabs, and he brought one out. This one was different. It did not appear to have that strip of fat in it, was much thicker on one side, tapering from thickest across one bone, to thinner across the bone on the other end. Too bad I was specifically looking for plates that weekend. I went back last weekend to get slabs of those, so I could compare them, but they had no short ribs whatsoever.

        I hope this helps to answer your question. Simply put, those two nice ribs from the plate are often sold as Chuck, I think. I have yet to actually purchase a true rack of Chuck short ribs.
        Last edited by TheCountofQ; May 11, 2015, 09:52 AM.


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