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ribs fit, but too tough

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    ribs fit, but too tough

    My search skills are weak. How do I find details of the toothpick test?
    My rookie attempt at St. Louis ribs was average, at best. Rendezvous rub was great. Smoke flavor was great. Color and bark were very good. Ribs were juicy and tough. Not horrible, but not right. I did not use the crutch. 5 hours at 225-250. I suppose asking how to tell when ribs are done is like asking what numbers to pick for the Powerball. Does tough ribs mean more smoking required? They were pulling away from the bones as I expected.

    Yes, more time required. Give them 7 or 8 next time. Try the bend test on a full rack, it's explained in Meathead's last meal ribs recipe, there's a link to How To Tell When Ribs Are Ready somewhere in there. Once you get that perfect doneness, THEN stick a toothpick in several spots to see how the toothpick test should feel, that's your best bet to understand it.


      LH it sounds like they needed to cook longer. I believe this is the article you're looking for: http://amazingribs.com/tips_and_tech...hey_ready.html


      • David Parrish
        David Parrish commented
        Editing a comment
        I did and I sent you a reply. Let me know if you didn't get it.

      • DWCowles
        DWCowles commented
        Editing a comment
        David Parrish didn't get it

      • David Parrish
        David Parrish commented
        Editing a comment
        I checked and for whatever reason it didn't send. You should have it now.

      I never cook ribs less than 7 our 8 hrs, sometimes with thick baby backs it's 10-12, Meathead's times of 5 hours are for tiny racks is the conclusion I've come to. Even when I cook at 240-250 five hrs is never an option.


        Just did four racks of baby backs this past Priday. Did not wrap. I had a rib rack that could hold 6 slabs. I rotated the slabs so that the same racks weren't close the whole cook. I wold say that the slabs were of average size. I cooked them on a Weber kettle with the Smokenator and the PartyQ. A constant 225. Had a water pan on the whole cook.
        They took right at five hours to pass the bend test. I sauced and put over the remnants of the charcoal to set the sauce. Turned out really well. Thought I got pics but apparently not. Did get pics of the brisket I did yesterday. Was my best brisket ever! Click image for larger version

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          Thanks Pit Boss. That's the one.


            Lunkhead Toothpick the ribs in different spots and it should slide right in with very little to no resistance. When I do ribs I always plan for 8 hours. Some are done sooner some not. Meat quality and meatiness plays a role in that.


              +1 to all the time comments here, especially with St. Louis. As for telling when they're done, the toothpick test does somewhat work but to me it's far better to get to know when they bend and crack. The toothpick will feel the same (at least to me) on a wide variance of doneness. You can go from "just right" to "fall off the bone (ugh)" and the toothpick will feel about the same. You'll learn the more you cook.


                I don't think I've ever done ribs more than 6 hours. Baby backs get 2-2-1, regular ribs get 3-2-1, at 225. Ribs are the one thing, other than burgers and dogs, that always come out right for me.

                There are variables, though. Next time do the foil wrap. I've gotten used to it, I don't think twice any more. And one thing you wrote makes me pause:

                Ribs were juicy and tough.... They were pulling away from the bones as I expected.
                Usually tough ribs from undercooking will be juicy, but not pull away from the bone. And tough ribs from overcooking will pull away from the bone, but they won't be juicy. What you might have here is just a bad rack, the meat might not be high quality. I'm just guessing, of course; even if I were there, I'm not an expert on that stuff.

                I hope this helps.



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