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First Baby Back Cook Good But Not Great--Pls Help, Help Me Rhonda

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    First Baby Back Cook Good But Not Great--Pls Help, Help Me Rhonda

    Weber 22, family birthday party, smoked three racks and used SnS elevated grate, both for the first time. Followed Meathead's Famous Last Meal method. Family enjoyed; I thought good but not great. Started all racks together; rotated them every hour or so; racks finished separately between 4hrs10 mins and 5hrs07 mins. Was able to maintain 225-240 easily with KBB in practice run (no food), but these temps were all over the place, I'm thinking because dome was off frequently for 2-3 minutes to mop and rotate thereby energizing the fire. An exhausting cook; no beer and crossed ankles for me. Any suggestions for doing better next time? Should I have staggered the start? Shot one rack's worth of family members to avoid the elevated grate? Dumped fewer than Click image for larger version

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ID:	888054 a full chimney of KBB after the initial 12? Pic is about halfway through the cook. Thanks.

    #2
    Looks real good to me.

    Comment


    • HawkerXP
      HawkerXP commented
      Editing a comment
      What thermometer you using?

    • fkrall
      fkrall commented
      Editing a comment
      Smoke 2-channel on main grate; SnS advised separately that the elevated grate ran 40º hotter.
      Last edited by fkrall; July 29, 2020, 12:47 PM.

    #3
    The ribs look good, but I will start with the most obvious things:

    1. DON'T mop your ribs. Put on the rub, and leave them alone please! The mop extends the cooking time, washes off rub, and reduces bark formation.

    2. DON'T take the lid off frequenty. The longer you leave it alone, the closer the temperatures of the top and bottom grates stabilize and converge. On long low and slow cooks, over a period of hours, I find that the temp at the grate and the temp at the top of the dome start to converge and equalize.

    3. DO rotate the ribs from the main grate to the upper grate at least once. I use the upper grate, and just rotate top to bottom half way through the cook, for whatever I am cooking up there. I usually try to split things 50/50 top to bottom because of that. The upper grate runs about 50 degrees hotter on average for a shorter cook like chicken wings or ribs.

    I will say this - the only time I use the elevated grate for ribs is if doing "blasphemy style" ribs (search the forum or go to blasphemyribs.com). If cooking more than 2 slabs of ribs, I use a Weber rib rack (about $15 at Home Depot) to stand them on edge, and I can do 5 racks of baby backs easily on my 22" kettle. Usually I am doing 3, and leave an empty slot between them for air flow. All I do is halfway though the cook, flip them so that the bottom and top edges are swapped, since the top edge does cook faster, being higher in the dome. That is the ONLY time I open the kettle when cooking ribs, and then again about 30 minutes before the end of the cook to sauce the ribs, if using BBQ sauce.

    Ribs should be one of the most RELAXING cooks, and are for me - probably my favorite thing to smoke, as I don't need to monitor temps too closely, and don't need to worry about refueling the SNS either. I can put them on at noon and let them for the most part do their thing until dinner time on a Saturday.
    Last edited by jfmorris; July 29, 2020, 08:24 AM.

    Comment


    • smokin fool
      smokin fool commented
      Editing a comment
      Not much I can add to what @fjmorris has said
      Smoking is a relaxing past time not a contact sport sometimes doing less gets better results

    • Sweaty Paul
      Sweaty Paul commented
      Editing a comment
      Concur with jfmorris.

    • jfmorris
      jfmorris commented
      Editing a comment
      fkrall with blasphemy I can only fit two slabs of ribs, using an elevated grate, if it’s 3 or more you need to use the Weber rack.

    #4
    jfmorris is spot on.

    Comment


    • fkrall
      fkrall commented
      Editing a comment
      Agree!

    #5
    First - good job making some tasty ribs that your family enjoyed!!

    Second, in general, if shooting is an option, it's the one I'm going to encourage.


    How "all over the place" were the temps? 10 or 20 degree swings won't kill you.
    How different were the temps on the bottom at top racks? I'm guessing the biggest difference, temp wise is between the bottom rack that's close to the charcoal, and the rack on top. Maybe just swap those 2 half way through the cook.

    When you say they were "good, but not great", what part needs to be improved?

    It looks like you got a good bark. Was the flavor and smoke profile there that you wanted?
    Were they tender? Did the meat pull off the bone? Was the meat TOO soft?
    Were they moist?

    Can probably give better suggestions if we know what you're trying to improve.

    If one rack finishes early, or my ribs finish before what else I'm cooking, they can go hold in the oven at the lowest setting for at least a couple/few hours. So I wouldn't worry about one rack finishing sooner.

    When I used to do ribs on the gasser, 3 racks was my limit, and I rotated them once an hour. I've never mopped a rib.

    I don't have a weber kettle /SnS yet. Lots more qualified people to give you help with those tools, but a couple suggestions.
    1) Always have a beer! That's probably why the ribs weren't perfect.
    2) skip the mopping and leave the lid on.
    3) Use this as an excuse to buy a PBC.

    Comment


    • fkrall
      fkrall commented
      Editing a comment
      Not gibberish at all--many thanks! Temps rarely stabilized because of frequent dome removal to rotate racks. Range was 225-260/70 per my Smoke. Biggest issue was they weren't consistent in any one range, so I had to keep making frequent microscopic adjustments each time they settled. Waited 10 minutes per adjustment ("10-minute rule") but then would have to readjust. Improvements would be less spotty dryness, but overall had good bark, good flavor, and good "feel" of the meat when eating.

    • BFlynn
      BFlynn commented
      Editing a comment
      I'm assuming that you dry brined the ribs, since that's part of the last meal ribs directions. If not, you should.

      How big were your baby backs? I'm seeing a lot of racks now in store at 3-3.5 sometimes even 4 lbs! What they're doing is leaving extra loin meat on the rack. That's gonna get dry. I try to get baby backs around the 2 1/2 lb mark.

    • fkrall
      fkrall commented
      Editing a comment
      Good point and very interesting, BFlynn! My 3 racks were 8.5#, total, significantly larger than those I saw elsewhere. I prefer my guy, but I was thinking of trying the smaller ones next. After your post--that's what I'll do! And yes, I dry brined, as I normally do.

    #6
    I'm sure they were better than you thought, most people are their own worst critics when it involves their own cooking. a suggestion might be to use rib racks when smoking a large amount of ribs for a long cook. This would even out the spacing better and the heat distribution would not be towards the top rack. Each rib rack can hold 5 to 6 half racks which would allow the ribs to be evenly timed. I like using rib racks because it allows for a variety of style and seasonings for ribs to be enjoyed, you're not tied down to one style. Great choice using Meatheads recipe you can't lose there. To control the temp spikes allow the grill to lower the temp using the air intake slightly just before opening the lid, this will allow the rise in temp when closing the lid to not be as high then it will settle in to where you want it.The fun part of grilling and smoking is all about what can I do next time, the Pitmaster Club is great because you can get help and information before , during and after your cook and even for next time.

    Comment


      #7
      There were no replies when I started, not saying much for my 2 finger typing so I have probably repeated some other replies, anyway the most important part is have the beer and enjoy the slow cook as a time to relax, breath in the smells of meat and coals and have good family time.

      Comment


      • bardsleyque
        bardsleyque commented
        Editing a comment
        you use two fingers? (I'm jealous)!

      • Ahumadora
        Ahumadora commented
        Editing a comment
        Was going to say that as well. Problem I see is you didn't start drinking before the cook.

      • Whiskeyman53
        Whiskeyman53 commented
        Editing a comment
        Don't be jealous, it's one finger on 2 different hands.

      #8
      Specific comments in-line, but overall what rapid, supportive, detailed, and helpful responses to my post. Thank you all. Was also wondering if I could add less than a full chimney of KBB after the 12-15 pilot group is underway. I did as instructed but that seemed to be overkill for a 5-6 hour cook.

      Comment


      • barelfly
        barelfly commented
        Editing a comment
        You could add a bit less, I think the last few 5-6 hour cooks I’ve done, I’m using 3/4 full but still have a decent amount left. But I close the top and bottom vents and it shuts down pretty quick so that you can use the remaining briquettes for the next cook.

      #9
      I'll defer to the experts but no one mentioned a water pan under the ribs. Not sure if that works for a Kettle and S&S but it might help stabilize temps and prevent dryness.

      Comment


        #10
        My ribs are never great all the time, I am not that consistent. Ribs are not all the same, hard to be consistently great. The smoker, the charcoal/wood, rubs and sauce, the weather all make a difference. We here are all probably too critical on how they turn out, the average person is probably real happy with what we consider just good.

        Comment


        • fkrall
          fkrall commented
          Editing a comment
          Well said!

        #11
        You can also try wrapping in butcher paper. That will help keep them moist without killing the bark.

        Last set I smoked for 3 hrs.
        Wrapped in paper and put back on for 1 hr.
        Unwrapped and sauced for 15 mins.

        Your timing may vary.

        Read Troutmans Rib Primer, if you haven't already
        Last edited by BFlynn; July 31, 2020, 07:29 AM.

        Comment


        • fkrall
          fkrall commented
          Editing a comment
          Noted; thanks. I've saved Troutman's Primer!

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