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Pictures from my first try at "Last Meal Ribs"

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    Pictures from my first try at "Last Meal Ribs"

    Well I just joined "the club" and figured I'd utilize the forum to help improve my next batch of ribs. I'll try to lay this out as logically as possible.

    Background
    I attempted to follow the "Last Meal Ribs" recipe from this site. Started with 6 lbs. of ribs from Costco. Removed the membrane and trimmed off the majority of remaining fat. I was short on time so applied my rub (see photos) about 30 minutes prior to cooking. The rub had a lot of salt so I didn't do a separate dry brine.
    My grill is a Weber Genesis 330. From my previous efforts I knew I'd have a hard time getting down to 225 but I did the best I could with the "Sear Station" burner set on low. I added 4 oz. of Mesquite chips to my smoker box, threw on the ribs and started watching the thermometer (a Maverick dual remote - based on the reco. here)

    Cooking
    I struggled to keep the temp low, and ended up propping open the grill cover a bit to help. Throughout the cook I averaged about 240 degrees.

    At 2-hrs in I decided to switch slabs on the grill (see photos). At this point I also realized that I didn't lightly coat the ribs with vegetable oil prior to adding the rub. The recipe said this would help with the bark, so at this point I brushed on some oil and shook on a little more rub. I also added the rest of the wood chips at this point for additional smoke.

    At 5-hrs in I picked up a slab with my tongs and didn't see any cracking, so I left them on for another 30 minutes.

    At 5.5 hrs. I tried the bend test again and saw cracks so at that point I cranked up the heat in preparation for the sauce.

    Finishing
    I used Sweet Baby Rays sauce and brushed it on the ribs with a silicone brush. I think the grill was still coming up to temperature because I didn't see any sizzling until about 5 minutes later. Finally I could see some nice caramelization so I watched carefully and took them off when it looked good. (see attached photos)

    Results
    I was excited because the ribs looked good, and they seemed to be quite juicy. A first quick taste as we were cutting them told me that either I had used too much rub or that particular rub (which I had never used before) was a lot spicier than advertised! I'm leaning toward "too much rub".

    I cut sections of 3 or 4 ribs for each family member and as I did so I noticed they didn't seem terribly tender. As you can see from the photo, they weren't at all pink and also didn't have a "smoke ring". Finally I was able to taste them and while pretty flavorful (if not quite spicy!) they were a bit disappointing in terms of tenderness. After a day of cooking my wife was expecting "fall off the bone" tender (yes, I've read the opinions on that subject here on the website ) and I was expecting a little firm, but these were "quite firm" (not tough...). They were certainly edible but the spiciness and the "less than tenderness" aspects took some of the luster off of the afternoon's efforts.

    Thoughts
    I've gone through the various deviations from the recipe, and my best guess is that I overcooked them. The temp range was about 230-248 during the entire cook, so that would make sense. If this was the case then where I failed was in the "checking for done" department. Hopefully with more experience this will become more obvious to me.

    So this was my amateur opinion. What do you all think? Any suggestions for better results next time? I think there is a pellet smoker in my future, but in the near term I'd like to learn as much as I can with my gas grill.

    Thanks for reading all of this... I appreciate any/all thoughts, comments, suggestions and critiques.

    -CinciJeff

    #2
    No, you didn't overcook. 240 is a beautiful temp, never fear! I cook more in the 235-240 myself. Sounds like they needed another 30-60 minsm minimum. When they juuuust start to crack, they're not ready in most cases, but close. You want a good solid crack. Not quite break in half, but a good crack. It is not uncommon for thicker 3lb racks to take in the neighborhood of 6-7 hrs. I did some big ones a couple days ago that took 9-10.

    Keep up the good work. You can read all the directions you want but it still takes practice to get the feel of it on your own equipment. You're off to a great start!
    Last edited by Huskee; June 6, 2015, 09:55 PM.

    Comment


      #3
      Pretty good to have the gasser downto 240!!! I'd follow anything Huskee has to say!

      Good Job!

      --Ed

      Comment


        #4
        Yeah, let 'em go longer. And, we all try for 225*, but the recommendation is 225-250*.

        A popular rib recipe is 3-2-1: 3 hours bare, 2 hours wrapped in foil, and the last hour bare again. 3-2-1 for regular and St Louis racks, 2-2-1 for baby backs. You might want to give that a try.

        Comment


          #5
          Mosca brings up a good point. If your family/guests are expecting "fall apart" ribs as is popular with some, foiling will get you there.

          Comment


          • Mosca
            Mosca commented
            Editing a comment
            You can avoid the "fall apart" of foiling by not adding liquid, I've been wrapping for years. I'll add that the reason I do it is because "it's the way I do it", I know what happens, it's predictable for me and the ribs come out great every time. They probably come out great without wrapping too, but like they say, if you do what you've always done you'll get what you've always gotten! Since they come out neither tough to mushy, but with that little tug, I'm happy!

          #6
          CinciJeff , I've used my Weber Summit S670 for ribs and brisket back in the day (before I got my Pit Barrel Cooker for smoking), and find that it holds a nice steady 240--also the lowest temp I could get on it--once you get the burners set just right. I still smoke salmon on that grill, and it turns out great.

          For ribs and brisket, I used the gas grill setup for smoking that Meathead recommends, with the water pan set on the flavorizer bars, like Meathead shows in Method 1 in his "The Best Setups for Gas Grills" tutorial.





          and for salmon, I use his Method 2 setup:



          As Huskee says, just hang in there and keep working on your technique. The learning curve is just as much about the smoker itself as it is about the meat.

          I found those aluminum smoker packets that Meathead shows on that tutorial worked pretty good--much better than the smoker box on the grill because the smoker box is placed too close to the side and the smoke just goes out all of the grill's openings, not wafting over the meat much at all. I find the smoker box worthless, actually. Instead, I put a couple of packets right on the flavorizer bars. I've bought an A-Maze-In tube for use in my gas grill when I smoke salmon, but have yet to use it. Also, now I use a couple of Mo's pouches (see the ads on this site about them or scroll down on Meathead's BBQ Accessory page) instead of the homemade aluminum packets.

          Using the additional smoker packets instead of the built-in Weber smoke box, I could get a pretty decent smoke ring on my ribs and briskets.

          HTH,
          Kathryn
          Last edited by fzxdoc; June 7, 2015, 06:02 AM.

          Comment


            #7
            Hey buddy! The joke is, I wrote a post on the temp with my genesis 330 two weeks ago!

            I got it to stabilise at 226-235 by using two water filled pans that took up all the space except for the gap between the left burner and the BBQ wall. There I had my smoke box with two chunks of hickory. The left burner on low and the propane tank turned down a bit.

            It took some time to stabilise. As some of the folks said, your temps are fine. I like you didn't know any better. So rest easy.

            Happy ribbing!

            Comment


              #8
              Here's my setup...

              Comment


                #9
                Looks great, i've heard good things about that rub, and you didn't use 1/4 of the amount I normally use.

                Comment


                  #10
                  Wow! Thank you all so much for the feedback! I can't wait to give my ribs a second try... especially with the tips and setups shared here in this thread.

                  I have to say that my triangular smoker box did pretty well with my pork loin, just not with the ribs. It may be because I had cracked the lid open a bit to modulate the temperature. Regardless, I ordered one of the stainless steel bags and will try that next time. I also like the idea of the 3-2-1 "recipe" so I'll try that as well. Maybe on just a single half slab. Heck, I could do one that way and another half slab without wrapping and do a side-by-side comparison!

                  I'll definitely cook longer next time, and I'll try the "bend test" at half-hour intervals to see if I can find that perfect "doneness".

                  Again, thanks to all who replied, especially Huskee and Kathryn. I can't wait to try my next recipe!

                  You guys are awesome.

                  CinciJeff

                  Comment


                    #11
                    Originally posted by CinciJeff View Post
                    Heck, I could do one that way and another half slab without wrapping and do a side-by-side comparison!

                    Perfect plan if you ask me! Then you'll get a good idea how you prefer them (or your family). Like Mosca says though, wrapping doesn't have to mean fall apart. You can get any happy medium you it want just takes practice and trial & error.

                    I've tried all manners of smoking ribs. I used to do the 3-2-1 because I read it on the interwebs one time. Then I tried 2-2-1, then I tried 3-3. Other times I would place my done ribs, whether 1, 2 or 6 racks, in an aluminum lasagna pan with a little liquid, and tightly cover the top of the pan w/ foil and braise them for 1-2hrs afterward in my oven. For a year or two I was quite convinced I just had to wrap them in some fashion.

                    Then I went back to not wrapping and using the bend test. This remains my personal favorite way. I average 6-7hrs for typical 2.75 - 3lb racks available in my area. I have a buddy who will argue with me all day that fall apart ribs are better. "Better for you", I tell him. He shakes his head. Then I shake mine. Hard for some people to realize there's more than one way to skin a cat. Lol.
                    Last edited by Huskee; June 7, 2015, 11:03 PM.

                    Comment


                      #12
                      CinciJeff just remember that Qing is about what YOU like! I like the taste of the rib, so I season sparingly. Others like heavier seasoning. I like mine fall off the bone, what many would consider overdone. I frequently wrap (the sometimes maligned 3-2-1 method) with a touch of apple juice (I use Apple wood chunks). Your side by side test is a winner to help you decide what YOU like. I also watch for the meat to start pulling back for doneness.

                      Looks like you had a GREAT start, but will only get better as you smoke more. Keep at it!

                      Comment


                        #13
                        Good read, you're well on your way. I've done the same as Huskee, I used to wrap, but don't do it any longer. Just wait them out, so to speak. They will get to right where you want them. And the A/B comparison cook is THE best way to learn for your self, as well as learn how your grill works, which is half the job.

                        I guess I just have one minor comment about the lid being slightly open to keep temp down: I would worry less about temp, and more about keeping moisture in (i.e. close the lid fully).

                        Comment


                          #14
                          I used my Webber gasser and got great ribs. As fzxdoc said the water pan really helps temps.



                          They came out great. I usually use my thermometer and measure the temp between the last two bones on the meaty end and when the temp is at least 196*f and the bark breaks crisply I remove them. I personally don't do well with the bark test only

                          Comment


                            #15
                            I prefer nonwrapped ribs, my family like the fall apart. Best compromise that I've found is wrapped tightly without added liquid. Sometimes I start mine earlier so they finish around the same time.

                            Done test I prefer the toothpick poke. Should slide in and out with zero resistance.

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