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Half Rack St Louis

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  • GilaMonster
    Former Member
    • Feb 2016
    • 32
    • Gila County Arizona

    Half Rack St Louis

    Guess I should not have tacked my original post on the Last Meal Ribs thread...

    So I'll ask it here, by itself:

    My DW is out of town, and I have promised to use my new SnS in the 22" Weber to make her some perfect ribs when she comes home. She's already been very pleased with our first ribeye and spatchcocked chicken, so the pressure is on!

    So....my plan this week is to do some practice ribs. I got a slab of StLouis style spareribs, which I want to turn into LMRs.

    And here is the question: since there is only me to test them, should I make any changes to the Last Meal Ribs recipe for just half a slab? Since the thickness will be normal -- but only half as long -- should I still expect to cook 'em low and slow for 5-6 hours, as you would for a full rack?

    Awaiting your collective advice...
  • Huskee
    Administrator
    • May 2014
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    #2
    Identical to a full rack. But, if...or I should say when you taste them you just may be disappointed there's only a half rack!

    Comment

    • Baron
      Former Member
      • Nov 2015
      • 7
      • Central Florida

      #3
      What I do when it is just me eating the ribs is cut them into portions before I put them on the grill. Fix them as planned. Then when finished, wrap each portion in foil. They are ready for the fridge and then to be warmed in the oven later. Always have a side item ready too. Fries are my favorite. I did this last wknd and had a couple of left overs available. Prefer the oven to reheat. The microwave can create tough spots where the ribs are overheated. Enjoy

      Comment

      • GilaMonster
        Former Member
        • Feb 2016
        • 32
        • Gila County Arizona

        #4
        Thanks - I presumed that the length of the cook should be the same, but wanted to double check.

        I could do the whole rack, and eat it all, or have leftovers, but, then, if I wanted to try again, I'd have to buy another whole rack...

        oh, wait, I see your point! ha ha

        Comment

        • GilaMonster
          Former Member
          • Feb 2016
          • 32
          • Gila County Arizona

          #5
          OK, my first attempt at Last Meal Ribs is nothin but bone!

          Here they are as they came off the SnS-equipped Weber Performer after 6.5 hours...

          Not the best ribs I had, but definitely not the worst I have ever made!

          Don't know what you can tell from the photos, as the lighting was not too good, but I'd like anyone's observations and suggestions, from what you can see there.

          Couple questions for the Grill Gods: is the 'bark' supposed to be chewy? Or maybe I overcooked them? I tried the 'bend' test at a little more than 5 hrs; maybe it doesn't work too well with only a half-rack, but they didn't seem too flexible, so I let them go another hour. (The whole cook, grill temps ranged from 217° to 235° .) I am at 6,000' altitude, and the ambient temperature ranged from 69° down to about 48
          ° when I pulled them off the grill. Don't know if either of those had an affect on the cook. The meat inside was not dried out, and did not fall off the bone, but I thought the outside part was a bit toothy.

          Also, to my taste, the ribs were rather salty. I used the Memphis Dust for the rub, and that has no salt in it, so I wonder if it's from the dry brining? The salt went on at 0830, and they were in the 'fridge then, til I did the rub at about 1430 and put them on the grill. If they were salty from the brining, is it possible to do the cook next time without dry brining? I rarely salt my food (except fried eggs!), so maybe I notice it more.

          As I say, I'd appreciate any suggestions, at this point, before I do my second attempt, with the other half of the rack...




          Comment

          • Gooner-que
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            • Sep 2015
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            #6
            GilaMonster did you use 1/2 tsp per pound or the recomended 1/4 tsp for ribs? I like you pick up salt flavor a lot becuase I don't salt much other than french fries and eggs. I'm moving towards 1/3 tsp for dry brining.

            Comment

            • DeusDingo
              Founding Member
              • Jul 2014
              • 1141
              • Madison, WI
              • Weber Q320 grill
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              #7
              yeah the dry brine amounts are mostly for roasts, not something that is half bones so you have to be careful about that. in addition if the ribs were sitting in a salt solution in the bag and you didn't know it they might be a bit salty too.

              do you add a water pan to your cook or do you go dry?

              i've done half racks before too and there is not enough weight at the far end of a half rack to do the bend test so i've switched to the poke/probe test to check for tenderness.

              Comment

              • GilaMonster
                Former Member
                • Feb 2016
                • 32
                • Gila County Arizona

                #8
                Nathaniel Schmidt and DeusDingo - to answer both your questions: I didn't measure the amount of salt... I just sprinkled on both surfaces... here's a picture, you can see the salt on the pork. I'll agree that I may have used too much.

                The ribs were Smithfield brand... I don't have the complete wrapper any longer, so I don't know if they say there's salt in the package. When I do the 2nd half today, I'll try less salt, or none.

                I used the SnS with the water reservoir filled to recommended level. In fact, after about 5 hrs I refilled the tank, as it was down to less than half.

                The other modification I'll make is more rub. I may have gone too light...

                I used the instant-read thermometer after 5+ hours, in the thickest meat part, and had a reading of 175, so I didn't think they were overcooked, at that point...

                Comment

                • Huskee
                  Administrator
                  • May 2014
                  • 15146
                  • central MI, USA
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                    Want a free bottle of whiskey? Check out my link to Flaviar.com, you join with it, we both get a $50 bottle free.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by GilaMonster View Post
                  OK, my first attempt at Last Meal Ribs is nothin but bone!

                  Here they are as they came off the SnS-equipped Weber Performer after 6.5 hours...

                  Not the best ribs I had, but definitely not the worst I have ever made!

                  Don't know what you can tell from the photos, as the lighting was not too good, but I'd like anyone's observations and suggestions, from what you can see there.

                  Couple questions for the Grill Gods: is the 'bark' supposed to be chewy? Or maybe I overcooked them? I tried the 'bend' test at a little more than 5 hrs; maybe it doesn't work too well with only a half-rack, but they didn't seem too flexible, so I let them go another hour. (The whole cook, grill temps ranged from 217° to 235° .) I am at 6,000' altitude, and the ambient temperature ranged from 69° down to about 48
                  ° when I pulled them off the grill. Don't know if either of those had an affect on the cook. The meat inside was not dried out, and did not fall off the bone, but I thought the outside part was a bit toothy.

                  Also, to my taste, the ribs were rather salty. I used the Memphis Dust for the rub, and that has no salt in it, so I wonder if it's from the dry brining? The salt went on at 0830, and they were in the 'fridge then, til I did the rub at about 1430 and put them on the grill. If they were salty from the brining, is it possible to do the cook next time without dry brining? I rarely salt my food (except fried eggs!), so maybe I notice it more.

                  As I say, I'd appreciate any suggestions, at this point, before I do my second attempt, with the other half of the rack...



                  They look great to me. Yes the bark should be chewy, or toothy, to an extent. That's what bark is, compared to wrapped ribs with little bark. If you're used to restaurant ribs or wrapped ribs, the bark may seem too chewy, but more than likely you'll get used to it and appreciate it.

                  No, the bend test won't work on a half rack, it needs the weight of a full rack to work properly. But, you can use two tongs and give it an actual bend and see how it cracks. If it bends a lot and very little cracking, give it 30 more mins and repeat. With a few rounds of practice you're learn exactly how the crack should behave to be done just right, so never fear! I like mine when they almost break in half but not quite. I'd rather mine be slightly overcooked than under. When you bite the meat, it should all pull off the bone cleanly. If there are little shreds of meat all over the bone after eating the meat off then they're undercooked by typical standards.

                  As far as salt, I always tell people to just add what seems instinctive, as if you were to eat the meat right then. And I liek to add another little shake of salt after adding the saltless rub, since I personally think the bark does better with a little salt "sparkle" in it too than without.

                  Comment

                  • Fine Swine
                    Former Member
                    • Apr 2015
                    • 192
                    • Davidsonville, MD

                    #10
                    6.5 hours seems a little too long but what were your cooking temps at meat level and how stable was it?

                    Comment

                    • CurlingDog
                      Charter Member
                      • Sep 2014
                      • 550
                      • Port Washington, WI
                      • Traeger Jr Elite, Modern Home Products TJK gasser,Char-Broil 26" Round Charcoal Grill CBRMH-2600/S, Weber Smokey Joe, small portable POS charcoal grill, 13.25" GrillGrates, Thermopen, Maverick ET-732, Etekcity Lasergrip 1080 Non-contact Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer
                        gorilla gloves, bear paws

                      #11
                      GilaMonster , its also quite possible that you got a tough old sow. (the ribs, i mean) I have encountered that once and a while with Smithfield, but more often than not they have been pretty steady with a decent quality product.

                      Other recommendations would be... 1) don't refill the water reservoir as an option. let it run on the dry side towards the end of the cook. 2) cook multiple slabs to reduce the odds of a TOS (tough old sow) and 3) upgrade your cocktail to something stronger (I suggest you start drinking heavily)

                      whatever you do, don't boil the ribs! Keep the terrorists on the run!

                      Comment

                      • GilaMonster
                        Former Member
                        • Feb 2016
                        • 32
                        • Gila County Arizona

                        #12
                        FineSwine The cooking temperatures, at the grill level, ranged between 217° and 235° throughout the whole cook, with very little fiddling with the vents. It seems the variations may be due to how the fire progresses thru the charcoal...and the placement of smoking wood.

                        Comment

                        • GilaMonster
                          Former Member
                          • Feb 2016
                          • 32
                          • Gila County Arizona

                          #13
                          OK, did the second half of my St Louis rib rack test today, and it was much better than the first attempt!

                          Went much lighter with the dry-brining, using a smaller amount of just table salt this time. Four hours later, slathered them with olive oil and sprinkled on the Memphis Dust.

                          Went on the Weber/SnS at noon, and at a little after 5, were ready for the bend test. They looked good to me, so I plated them up, and dug in.

                          Probably could have used another half hour or so... but the meat pulled cleanly off the bones, the bark was just right, and they were not salty like the first half-rack.

                          I think I'm gonna have to do this another half-dozen times, trying to get it right! Practice is good, right?

                          Thanks to all of you for your suggestions... it's good to have a group of experienced advisers!

                          Til next time, a few pictures of today's cook:



                          Comment


                          • Huskee
                            Huskee commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Congrats on the success!
                        • Yno
                          Yno
                          Former Member
                          • May 2015
                          • 406
                          • Do you know the way to San Jose?

                          #14
                          Practice is not only good, it is delicious! My only advice is to cook whole racks, and more of them!

                          Comment

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