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Short ribs troubleshooting.

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    Short ribs troubleshooting.

    Hi!

    Just made short ribs for the 2nd time on my Traeger. The result was so different from the 1st that I thought I`d seek some advice from you members:

    1st time - The meat was nice and evenly marbled and not very “tall” on the upper side of the bones. I didn`t take the time to dry brine it but I had a coffee dry rub with some salt (not a lot) that I applied a few hours before it went on the Traeger. I didn`t know I was supposed to trim the fat on top so then there wasn`t any bark to speak of. I followed Meathead`s guide to the right temp (spritzed it a few times). I didn`t wrap it during the cook but after it reached the right temperature I wrapped it and kept it insulated for about an hour. It turned out amazing. All in all this took about 7-ish hours. The meat was soooo tender and juicy but I thought it would have been even better if it was just a little bit more salty and with some more bark...so...

    2nd time - I bought the meat from a local butcher. This was marbled around the bone area, however it had a thick chunk of meat on top that didn`t appear to have as much marbling. First I trimmed the fat off and then I dry brined it overnight and applied a less salty rub before the cook. Same procedure as last time, low and slow and it took longer this time as the meat was thicker. As it reached 203F (95C) I wrapped it and left it for an hour. The bark was super dry and thick and there was only a little bit of tender meat around the bones. The thick part on top of the meat was probably the dryest meat I have ever had. Sooo disappointing!!!😖😡

    There are some differences here...
    • Trimming of the fat - do you think it would have kept more moisture in the meat?
    • Dry brining - I have read that it is not supposed to affect moisture but...?
    • The 2nd peice of meat that was not marbeled on top - would it have been better to wrap it after a while and kept it wrapped until it reached 95C?
    Sorry for this long post but if anyone could give me some feedback I would appreciate it☺️

    #2
    I know most people wrap their meats but I don't. I just personally like the flavor better, and like the crunchy bark more, when I don't wrap it. I absolutely love smoking short ribs. Some people cut them apart, so each rib gets smoke all the way around. The way I smoke, it tends to make it slightly dry when I separate the ribs. On my short ribs, I also do minimal trimming. I only take off any discolored fat or meat on the edges.

    I also don't brine mine, but I also haven't tried brining mine either. They are the texture and moistness I want, so I haven't messed with it.

    As far as being tough and dried out: It sounds like you may have had 2 issues. One is that it sounds like the meat just had so little marbling in it that it caused that section to heat more rapidly, drove the water out and didn't have the fat to help keep it moist and tender, while the section near the bone did, along with the bone helping out. The other issue is probably that you ended up cooking it to too high of temperature/ too long. I start checking my ribs with a temperature probe around 195 or so. I don't ever remember pulling them at 195 but I can feel it start to get probe tender and by starting to probe it early, I can see how rapidly it is starting to get tender and what sections I may have problems with. I can't do anything about the problem areas, but it helps me to decide which parts I want to be the peak texture and what sections will be acceptable.

    You may not be cooking purely by final temperature, but if you are, your smoked meats will turn out better with much better consistency if you go by temperature to get you to the point where you start using a probe to see how tender it is. And I don't mean to offend you if you are already going by tenderness with a probe and not purely by temp alone.

    Ok, I see people are talking about wrapping after. I don't want confusion. I wrap my ribs and pretty much everything else when I pull it off the smoker. I usually don't refer to wrapping after the smoke as it is pretty much always done except for little things like thighs and wings.
    Last edited by MrMeat; September 3, 2020, 06:03 AM. Reason: Didn't want confusion as to when I wrap.

    Comment


    • Bippedibopp
      Bippedibopp commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for your reply! Great advice and no, I didn't probe:-P I guess I was over confident from the first time. I will try to get the same prime rib that I got the first time with more marbling and not trim more than you recommend.

    #3
    Many on this site would disagree with me based on great articles written by Meathead but IMO it’s the dry brining. I’ve had the same thing happen. When I‘ve dry brined in the past, I’ve had steaks come out drier than usual and I even did some plate ribs that came out just as you described. Plus, I personally can’t taste any salt when I dry brine and have to add some at the table. My wife had to as well. I get that there’s science behind it, but I don’t argue with outcomes. I’d recommended trying again minus the dry brine and I’d be willing to bet you get a closer outcome to the first one. Good luck! 😊

    Comment


    • Bippedibopp
      Bippedibopp commented
      Editing a comment
      Will do and thanks for sharing!:-)

    #4
    Did you have a second stall? Ive done short rib that had a traditional stall at 155/160 (sorry for using Farenheit!) and then got stuck again reaching 185. it was adding so much time that i ended up poke testing when it slowly got to 190/195 and it was going through like butter. i think if i let it go to 203 it would have been over cooked.

    also, i did not wrap until i pulled it off the smoker.

    Comment


    • Bippedibopp
      Bippedibopp commented
      Editing a comment
      I have read about stall but I didn't think to look for it. The first time everything went sooo smooth so I was very very confident when I started out:-) Beginners luck apparently!

    • Schwyy
      Schwyy commented
      Editing a comment
      My first time using short rib wasn't smoking it, it it was in a braise. I totally messed up and they were as hard as rubber. The worst part is that it was for company!

    #5
    Your ribs had the outer layer of the tapa de asado not sure of the name in English that is lean and super hard to get tender. Most BBQ joints trim that off along with the silverskin and fat in between them. Dry brining hellps to keep the moisture in but at the end of the day it is the fat content in the meat that lubricates it. Don't get discouraged.

    Comment


    • Bippedibopp
      Bippedibopp commented
      Editing a comment
      So stick with the marbled one next time:-) Thanks!

    #6
    Do you know what grades the ribs were? If you forst cook was prime ribs, or well marbled choice and the second ribs were lower quality with less marbling, (as you mentioned), that could be the problem. And grass fed beef normally has less marbling than grain finished beef. The intramuscular fat and connective tissue add to the feeling of moisture as they render during the cook. That's where I'd put my money as to where the problem was.

    Comment


    • Bippedibopp
      Bippedibopp commented
      Editing a comment
      You and Mr. DavidNorcross below are right. The 2nd piece was grass fed. Didn't know there was any difference. Also the first one was prime rib. So there is one that I will definitely take note of. Thanks both!

    #7
    I was also going to ask if the ribs were grass fed. There is less fat, flavor is great but could be the problem. If so you may want to wrap and add some stock to braise and bring back some moisture. Just some thoughts.

    Comment


      #8
      Lots of great advice here.
      Your problem has probably happened to everyone on this site, as much as we think we have smoking nailed its not an exact science.
      Personally I don't dry brine, dry rub and on the grill.
      I have stopped wrapping for better or worse.
      RonB comment about the meat is spot on, no two cuts of ribs are ever the same or will cook the same
      I've stopped paying attention to temps when smoking ribs, I go for look and the probe test.
      Test with a toothpick thru the meat, when it goes thru like soft butter....done .
      Don't give up kid, we're pulling for you.

      Comment


      • Bippedibopp
        Bippedibopp commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks! I'll let you all know how it goes, however, this wind and horizontal rain does not seem to end in the near future...:-)

      #9
      Lot's of good advice already given here. Not much I can add. I do mine much like smokin fool above. One difference is I use a mop sauce to add flavor and moisture. It does extend the cook time a little bit though. But I have nothing but time so it works for me. The key is using the probe test rather than temp to determine when done.

      Comment


      • smokin fool
        smokin fool commented
        Editing a comment
        10-4 I always forget something, mopping or spritzing does help
        Problem is I usually for get that till its to late also

      • Bippedibopp
        Bippedibopp commented
        Editing a comment
        Good advice! I will definitely try it out. Mob sauce, tooth pick and all the rest of it. I will be guarding my future ribs:-D

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