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Question about selecting ribs

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  • Smoke-rings-in-the-dark
    Former Member
    • Oct 2015
    • 15
    • Lubbock, Tx.

    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.
  • _John_
    Former Member
    • Jul 2014
    • 2447

    #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

    Comment

    • Ernest
      Founding Member
      • Jul 2014
      • 3217
      • Dallas, Texas
      • Pit Barrel Cooker AKA The Chicken Whisperer, WSM 14.5 AKA Smokey, WSM 22.5 AKA Big Worm, Weber Performer Platinum. KARUBECUE

      #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.

      Comment

      • Butterman
        Club Member
        • Aug 2015
        • 112
        • REC TEC Mini WeberGenesis Silver B Maverick ET-732 ThermoPop (Red) Thermapen Mk4 (Green) Grill Grates (for my Weber) .

        #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.

        Comment

        • Smoke-rings-in-the-dark
          Former Member
          • Oct 2015
          • 15
          • Lubbock, Tx.

          #5
          Thanks for all the input.

          Comment

          • Flash
            Club Member
            • Oct 2015
            • 5
            • Wisconsin
            • Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5, multiple Weber charcoal grills, gas grill
              Favorite drink - Captain and Coke
              Smoking, Grilling and retirement-Life is good

            #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

            Comment

            • learning pellets
              Charter Member
              • Feb 2015
              • 53

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

              Comment

              • Huskee
                Pit Boss
                • May 2014
                • 15042
                • central MI, USA
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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.

                Comment


                • 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!
              • Smoke-rings-in-the-dark
                Former Member
                • Oct 2015
                • 15
                • Lubbock, Tx.

                #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.

                Comment

                • PaulstheRibList
                  Founding Member
                  • Jul 2014
                  • 1585
                  • Lake Charles, LA
                  • Started Low-N-Slow BBQ in 2012. Obviously, it's taken hold (in chronological order:
                    1.) A pair of Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5's
                    2.) #LilTex, a 22" Expensive Offset Smoker (looks like a Yoder Witicha)
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                    I'm loving using BBQ to make friends and build connections.
                    I have #theRibList where I keep a list of new and old friends and whenever I'm cooking, I make 1 to 20 extra and share the joy.

                  #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!

                  Comment

                  • Smoke-rings-in-the-dark
                    Former Member
                    • Oct 2015
                    • 15
                    • Lubbock, Tx.

                    #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.

                    Comment

                    • PaulstheRibList
                      Founding Member
                      • Jul 2014
                      • 1585
                      • Lake Charles, LA
                      • Started Low-N-Slow BBQ in 2012. Obviously, it's taken hold (in chronological order:
                        1.) A pair of Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5's
                        2.) #LilTex, a 22" Expensive Offset Smoker (looks like a Yoder Witicha)
                        3.) #WhoDat1, a HUGE Gravity Fed Insulated Cabinet Smoker (cooking chamber 3'x2'x6')
                        4.) A Full Size Commercial Dryer/converted to Vertical Smoker.
                        5.) Jambo Backyard stickburner (my FAVORITE Pit so far)
                        6.) GrillMeister, a huge 24"x48" Adjustable, Charcoal Grill from Pitmaker.com
                        7.) 22" Weber Kettle with Slow-N-Sear
                        8.) Vault insulated reverse-flow cabinet smoker from Pitmaker
                        9.) BarbecueFiretruck...under development
                        10.) 26 foot BBQ Vending Trailer equipped with HUGE Myron Mixon 72xc smoker is HERE, Oct 2016!
                        11.) Opened www.PaulsRibShackBarbecue.com Food Trailer officially in March 2017
                        12.) Austin Smoke Works 500 Gallon Propane Tank Offset Smoker, named "Lucille" as travel pit for PaulsRibShack, Oct 2018.
                        12.) Opening Brick & Mortar location at 4800 Nelson Rd, Spring 2019. Had a pair of 1,000 Gallon Austin Smoke Works pits, both in RibShackRed for our new place!

                        Fabulous Backlit Thermapens, several Maverick Remote Thermometers (don't use any remotes anymore), Thermoworks Smoke, Other Thermoworks toys, Vacuum sealer, lots and lots of equipment...

                        I'm loving using BBQ to make friends and build connections.
                        I have #theRibList where I keep a list of new and old friends and whenever I'm cooking, I make 1 to 20 extra and share the joy.

                      #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.
                    • Tony Kopacz
                      Club Member
                      • Jan 2016
                      • 30

                      #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

                      Comment

                      • BigBear
                        Former Member
                        • Sep 2015
                        • 657
                        • Dallas-Ft. Worth

                        #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

                        • SaturdayShoppe
                          Former Member
                          • Nov 2015
                          • 98
                          • Just North of Green Bay, Wisconsin

                          #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!

                          Comment

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