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Smoked Ribs - Wrapped or Unwrapped?

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  • kenrobin
    Charter Member
    • Jun 2015
    • 352
    • San Francisco Bay Area
    • Cookers
      - 18" Weber Smokey Mountain (2000)
      - Weber Genesis EP-310 (2013-2015)
      - 22.5" Weber Master Touch (2015)
      - Traeger Pro Tailgater (2015)
      - Mak 1 Star General w/ wi-fi (2016)

      Thermostats
      - ThermaQ
      - Thermapen
      - ChefAlarm
      - DOT
      - iGrill2

    Smoked Ribs - Wrapped or Unwrapped?

    Do you prefer to smoke ribs wrapped after a certain amount of time or do you leave them unwrapped for the entire cook?

    I explored both methods in the video linked below.

    https://youtu.be/Vp4G32VdTOQ
    Last edited by kenrobin; March 1, 2020, 01:25 PM.
  • Dewesq55
    Founding Member
    • Jul 2014
    • 1849
    • The Poconos, NEPA
    • Smoker:
      Landmann Smoke Master Series Heavy Duty Barrel Smoker (COS)
      Masterbuilt 40.2" 1200W Electric Smoker
      Masterbuilt ThermoTemp XL 40" Vertical Propane Smoker

      Gas Grill:
      BBQPro (cheap big box store model) Stainless steel 4 burners with aftermarket rotisserie.

      Thermometer:​​​​​​
      Fireboard with Drive cable and 20 CFM fan
      ThermoWorks Mini Instant Read
      Lavaworks Thermowand Instant Read
      2 Maverick 733
      ThermoWorks IR-GUN-S Industrial Infrared Thermometer
      ThermoWorks ThermaPen Mk4 x 2
      Govee Bluetooth Thermometer

      Miscellaneous:
      Anova Sous Vide Immersion Circulator - 1st generation
      Anova Sous Vide Immersion Circulator - wifi/bluetooth connected

      Favorite Beer:
      Anything to the dark side and malty rather than hoppy. Currently liking Yuengling Porter and Newcastle Brown Ale. In a bar or pub I will often default to Guiness

      Favorite Spirit:
      Bourbon - Eagle Rare for "every day"; Angel's Envy for special occasions, Basil Hayden's, Larceny

      Favorite Wine:
      Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Super Tuscan Sangiovese (Including Chianti Classico Riserva) Brunello di Montalcino

      Favorite Meat(s):
      Pork - especially the darker meat. I love spare ribs and anything made from shoulder/butt meat
      Chicken - Mainly the dark meat and wings
      Beef Ribeye steak

      Favorite Cuisine to Cook:
      Can't list just one: Indian, Chinese, Thai, West Indian/Carribean, Hispanic/Latin American, Ethiopian, Italian, BBQ

      Favorite Cuisine to Eat:
      Indian, followed closely by BBQ.

      Disqus ID:
      David E. Waterbury

    #2
    This is very personal and you will get lots of different responses. Personally, I never wrap pork ribs (beef ribs I do) and everybody in my feeding circle loves them. I think wrapping makes them too soft. But I like to sauce them and grill them off after they come off the smoker, so I need them to hold together when I flip them. So that may be part of my preference. Which do you prefer?

    Comment


    • kenrobin
      kenrobin commented
      Editing a comment
      I also prefer them unwrapped. I want the flavor of my ribs to be able to standout without sauce either but if I'm cooking for a large group, then I will sauce them to help make them look better.
  • mountainsmoker
    Banned Former Member
    • Jun 2019
    • 1851
    • Bryson City, NC

    #3
    Try it both ways and find your preference. I do mine at 275 unwrapped with a water pan under to catch the drippings.

    Comment


    • kenrobin
      kenrobin commented
      Editing a comment
      I tried it both ways in the video. My average temp was between 240 - 250 and I had water in the chamber. Unwrapped is my favorite but the wrapped ribs were also good.
  • HawkerXP
    Club Member
    • Jul 2016
    • 5475
    • Virginia
    • 2 Weber Performers, 1 kettle, 1 Smoky Joe and a PBC
      Thermopops
      Dot and Chef Alarm with probes
      Slo n Sear
      Cold beer

    #4
    I use the PBC for ribs (pork) and let then hang the whole way. I don't sauce so when toothpick tender between the bones we either eat or I'll put in covered foil pan to hold in oven. Wife and son like moist fall off meat.
    Beef, I wrap as well as use a drip pan during cook on Weber.

    Comment


    • kenrobin
      kenrobin commented
      Editing a comment
      HawkerXP How long does it take smoke pork ribs in your PBC?

    • HawkerXP
      HawkerXP commented
      Editing a comment
      For pork 3 hours is pretty close to being done on PBC.
      Just did some beef short ribs today. Also just over 3 hours on the Weber kettle running +250*.
  • texastweeter
    Club Member
    • Jul 2017
    • 2895
    • Republic of Texas

    #5
    Unwrapped with beans under them to catch drippings. 225° low and slow, no spritz. My wife likes sauced ribs, so I sometimes sauce them the last hour to let it tack up.
    Attached Files

    Comment

  • AmosMoses01
    Club Member
    • Jun 2018
    • 187
    • Round Rock, TX
    • New Orleans born, Mississippi raised, empty nester, living in Central Texas for 20+ years - looking to buy my first pellet smoker. Awed by the info on this site already!

    #6
    I've done both, and can now tell ya' that you've got a question to ask underneath the question about wrapped - wrapped with foil or wrapped with butcher paper - and then beneath that, is it regular butcher paper, or PINK butcher paper!?!

    Seriously, though, I've experimented and it really depends on mood and whether I want to speed things up. I prefer slow, low, and unwrapped - just like texastweeter above. I don't always have the time to do it that way, more often than not I wrap towards the end with butcher paper. (Pink or regular, I'm color blind (literally and figuratively here. )

    Comment


    • kenrobin
      kenrobin commented
      Editing a comment
      When I do wrap, I've always used foil but I'm going to try butcher paper (I think mine is pink). Right now, my preference is unwrapped but time & the people that I'm cooking for plays a role in the decision.
  • jfmorris
    Club Member
    • Nov 2017
    • 2996
    • Huntsville, Alabama
    • Jim Morris

      Cookers
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      • Whatever I brewed and have on tap!

    #7
    I used to swear by the 3-2-1 or 2-2-1 method, but since joining AR I’ve taken to not wrapping my ribs. Just dry rub and a glaze the final 30 minutes.

    Comment

    • Red Man
      Club Member
      • May 2018
      • 1022
      • Western Washington

      #8
      I don’t like wrapping in foil. I prefer unwrapped, but two hours wrapped in butcher paper is a pretty good compromise between the two methods.

      Comment

      • CaptainMike
        Club Member
        • Nov 2015
        • 2464
        • The Great State of Jefferson
        • Weber Summit Charcoal Grill w/SnS and DnG (Spartacus)
          Old school big'ol Traeger w/Pro controller (Big Tex)
          2 W22's w/SnS, DnG (1 black, 1 copper) (Minions 1 and 2)
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          20 x 30 Santa Maria grill (Maria, duh)
          Bradley cabinet smoker (Pepper Gomez)
          36" Blackstone griddle (The Black Beauty)
          Fireboard
          Thermoworks Smoke and Thermapen.

        #9
        I prefer not to wrap, but I will occasionally rap (poorly, but I have fun doing it). My wife will request from time to time that I do baby backs in which I 2-2-1 them with a cup of apple juice, pour off and reduce the juice after the second 2, and then add steamed rice and saute' a la fried rice. She also requests that I refrain from rapping as well. Wives, sheesh, what do they know....

        Comment


        • klflowers
          klflowers commented
          Editing a comment
          She just doesn't recognize talent when she sees it.
      • EdF
        EdF
        Club Member
        • Jul 2016
        • 3206
        • Atlantic Highlands, NJ
        • Uuni Pro (new kid in town)
          Karubeque C-60
          Large BGE since 2002 + plate setter + pizza stone + upper grid + stainless paella pan for drippings (the best!)
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          Thermapen
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          Thermoworks Hi temp IR
          BBQ Dragon & Chimney of Insanity
          Various other stuff

        #10
        Unwrapped here - just like the texture better.

        Comment

        • kenrobin
          Charter Member
          • Jun 2015
          • 352
          • San Francisco Bay Area
          • Cookers
            - 18" Weber Smokey Mountain (2000)
            - Weber Genesis EP-310 (2013-2015)
            - 22.5" Weber Master Touch (2015)
            - Traeger Pro Tailgater (2015)
            - Mak 1 Star General w/ wi-fi (2016)

            Thermostats
            - ThermaQ
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            - ChefAlarm
            - DOT
            - iGrill2

          #11
          Based on feedback so far to my video, unwrapped is much more preferred which surprised me considering the popularity of the 3-2-1 & 2-2-1 methods.
          Last edited by kenrobin; March 1, 2020, 05:37 PM.

          Comment

          • tenphases
            Club Member
            • Nov 2016
            • 232
            • Jersey City NJ
            • Humphrey's Pint with Fireboard + Pit Viper
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              Weber Q gasser with stand
              Blackstone Griddle 22 with stand and lid
              Blackstone Griddle 36
              Akorn Kamado jr

            #12
            I like them wrapped but im lazy so I usually dont and they are still good!

            Comment

            • grantgallagher
              Club Member
              • Feb 2018
              • 985
              • NJ

              #13
              I still like to wrap after 2-3 hours but mostly just because it allows me to gloriously baste them in butter and sriracha

              Comment

              • Mosca
                Charter Member
                • Oct 2014
                • 3352
                • PA
                • Large Big Green Egg, Weber Performer Deluxe, Weber Smokey Joe Silver, Maverick 732, DigiQ, and too much other stuff to mention.

                #14
                They’re both really good. I mean, they’re ribs.

                I used to wrap, but now I think it’s too much fiddling. They come out just fine by letting them go until the bones show.

                Comment


                • kenrobin
                  kenrobin commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Amen
              • RonB
                Club Member
                • Apr 2016
                • 12679
                • Near Richmond VA
                • Weber Performer Deluxe
                  SNS
                  Pizza insert
                  Rotisserie
                  Smokenator 1000
                  Cookshack Smokette Elite
                  2 Thermapens
                  Chefalarm
                  Dot
                  lots of probes.
                  CyberQ

                #15
                I have never wrapped, but may start because my wife prefers ribs to fall off the bone...

                Comment


                • jfmorris
                  jfmorris commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Yep - I think that most of my family prefers the results from wrapping for that same reason as well. I've not obliged them lately, but maybe I should.

                • RonB
                  RonB commented
                  Editing a comment
                  jfmorris - you could always cut the ribs in half, (or whatever), and wrap one piece or rack.

                • jfmorris
                  jfmorris commented
                  Editing a comment
                  RonB I’ve never actually cooked less than 3 to 6 racks of ribs at once, haha. I need to learn how to do smaller cooks I suppose!

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