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Question about selecting ribs

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    Question about selecting ribs

    I love pork ribs, but have not been100% satisfied with the ones I have made. I think I normally over smoke them so that is one adjustment I plan to work on. I am using Meatheads Last Meal Rib instructions. One big question I have is selecting the best rack of ribs. I have read a lot about selecting brisket, but not so much on ribs. Pretty much all I find is cryovac ribs and I believe are from someplace like Hillshire Farms. I am thinking of checking out a few local butchers, Sam's and maybe Costco. I want St. Louis cut. Is there anything I should look for other than not flavor enhanced and not frozen? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    #2
    I don't find a whole lot of difference out there other than thickness. Sam's doesn't do St Louis where I live, you would have to cut them yourself from spares, I love their butts and brisket but avoid them for ribs, they seem to have a tendency to hide a good rack with a bad one, especially the 3 pack of baby backs, and you can't tell until you open the pack. The butchers around here have these little puny 2 pound racks that aren't good for much.
    I'm not totally satisfied with my ribs either, I can't totally blame the meat, but until I figure it out i'm going to any way

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      #3
      I get most of my large ribs cooks from Costco and I am happy with them. When I'm doing just for the family I go to central market and select from the butcher window. Nice meaty racks.
      I stay away from regular supermarket enhanced ribs, waste of money.

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        #4
        While I haven't been doing this very long at this point I've found Costco to be pretty good in general. I think you will find better options at the actual butcher shops, but from what I've gotten in the Northern Virginia area, Costso has been better than just about every grocery store around.

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          #5
          Thanks for all the input.

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            #6
            I'm also new to this, and believe that nothing will replace a good cut of meat, but most of us are on a budget. I can tell you I used supermarket ribs, choosing the heavier weighted packages. I followed Meatheads instructions to the T. From preparing the ribs, to setup of the WSM, and the Memphis Dust. Maybe I was just lucky but they were right up there with the best I have ever had. No one wanted BBQ sauce on them. I used Applewood and only the amount he said, as they say you can't remove the smoke. Good luck

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              #7
              Had much better results with Costco ribs over Kroger, to the point I don't try the Kroger ones.

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                #8
                Most that I get are cryovac wrapped. I've tried every manner of ribs from Sam's to the local butcher to regular supermarkets to the ma & pa place down the road from me. Never even see enhanced ribs as an option around here, thankfully.

                I notice little if any difference between any of them. Some are cryovaced from a distributor, varying brands on the label, some are foam-trayed cut from the carcass in the back. I've used frozen and fresh, and I've had varying levels of success with all of them- in other words I don't notice either to continually be better or worse. I've noticed some frozen ones to be excellent, and some fresh ones to be mediocre. Once in a while I'll get a rack that's just dry and boring, most times any I buy turn out great. I trim the thick white patches of fat from the tops of my ribs, then try to fillet them (especially baby backs) to be uniform in thickness across so the racks cook uniformly. Most often St Louis don't need filleted, but sometimes they do and baby backs always do for me.

                One thing I seem to notice that is something I pay attention to is any racks 3lbs or larger take a lot longer to cook. Ribs are only so long, therefore bigger heavier racks are just thicker with meat. I prefer racks in the 2.25 to 2.5lb range for ease of cooking, but I will often cook 3 to 3.25lbers (trimmed weight, not spare rib weight) but they'll take 7-8hrs for me.

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                • Dewesq55
                  Dewesq55 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Absolutely! If there's much, or any, "white" loin meat on the top of baby backs, it cooks up dry, at least with non-heritage pork. I made that mistake the first time I smoked "a nice meaty rack" of BBR's. Never again!

                #9
                Thanks. That's good info. I feel better especially because I did wind up buying frozen ribs. I will be cooking them Saturday and we will see how it goes.

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                  #10
                  This question needs a video response. I keep thinking of the things I now look for when going through the rib pile at the store, and all of them are easier to express with pictures/video. I'll see if I can drop by the store today!

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                    #11
                    That would be great. I have been taught here on AR and a few other places how to pick a brisket, but I have no real guidelines for ribs. Here are the pictures of the ones I bought after removing membrane, trimming and salting. Still working on the trimming as well.

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                      #12
                      Ok, I went by Sams today on the way home, picking up some Flowers for the Princess-O-Mine, and other goodies while I was there. But, when I passed by the cooler and saw the racks of ribs, I thought about this thread, so...Enjoy!

                      Click to watch the lastest fun video from @BishopofBBQ, lol
                      https://youtu.be/GTpoIwpbLbM

                      Comment


                      • boftx
                        boftx commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I actually like the ones that have that big "gob" of meat at the end. I trim that off and cook it by itself for snacking on during the cook.

                      • Tony Kopacz
                        Tony Kopacz commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Good information. Thanks! I guess I'll check out Costco.

                      • Dewesq55
                        Dewesq55 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Nice video, PaulstheRibList. I agreed with pretty much all of it.

                      #13
                      I just recently realized that probably the best place to get ribs and chops and other pork products are from...A Polish deli! Here in Chicago we do have our choice. Just picked up some real BBRs from Andys last week for $3.99 picked them out too. Good quality. Had to skin them. No cryo. Fresh! Seen similar in other Polish markets.
                      Last edited by Tony Kopacz; January 11, 2016, 11:11 PM. Reason: typo

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                        #14
                        All good information, however my family finds that the SLC's are just too fatty and definitely prefers the taste of baby backs.

                        Comment


                          #15
                          Hello Smoke-rings-in-the-dark ! You may be surprised how reasonable an actual butcher shop can be. I am fortunate to have one near me. Everything is fresh and they are always helpful with advice and service. The key is consistency. If You are ever in the Green Bay area stop in at Maplewood Meats. Hopefully there is a shop like this near You!

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