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Thread: Rib Question

  1. #1
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    Rib Question

    I'm going to focus on spare ribs for the next couple of smokes, and I want to max out capacity on the 18.5". From what I gather (and the 3-2-1 recipe on this site), I can fit 3 slabs per grate by snaking the slabs on the rack. The thing I can't figure out is, when it comes time to foil the slabs, do I just stack the foiled slabs on top of eachother (assuming they'll shrink and will fit), and then put back into the rack for the last portion of the smoke? Or do I just skip the foiling if I want to max out capacity and keep the ribs in the racks? Searched a bunch with no luck on this one, any help would be greatly appreciated, got a party to prepare for!!

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    TVWBB Olympian ChuckO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelP View Post
    I'm going to focus on spare ribs for the next couple of smokes, and I want to max out capacity on the 18.5". From what I gather (and the 3-2-1 recipe on this site), I can fit 3 slabs per grate by snaking the slabs on the rack. The thing I can't figure out is, when it comes time to foil the slabs, do I just stack the foiled slabs on top of each other (assuming they'll shrink and will fit), and then put back into the rack for the last portion of the smoke? Or do I just skip the foiling if I want to max out capacity and keep the ribs in the racks? Searched a bunch with no luck on this one, any help would be greatly appreciated, got a party to prepare for!!
    If you get a rib rack ($5-$10 at Home Depot) you can easily have five ribs (per grate)

    I'm not a fan of foiling, I prefer to cook Ribs (Baby Backs) at low temp (225 degrees) for a long long long time (five hours is not uncommon for me) however if you really wanted to foil them, you just pick up the whole rack of ribs, lay down a large sheet of foil on your grate, put the rack of ribs back in (on the foil) and wrap them all up, you're good to go. The reason I don't foil is (imho) foiled ribs become "soggy soft" and I prefer to have "crusty soft" ribs. Ribs are done when you can stick a tooth pick in them effortlessly

    Enjoy your rib cook, post photos of your cook
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChuckO View Post
    If you get a rib rack ($5-$10 at Home Depot) you can easily have five ribs (per grate)

    I'm not a fan of foiling, I prefer to cook Ribs (Baby Backs) at low temp (225 degrees) for a long long long time (five hours is not uncommon for me) however if you really wanted to foil them, you just pick up the whole rack of ribs, lay down a large sheet of foil on your grate, put the rack of ribs back in (on the foil) and wrap them all up, you're good to go. The reason I don't foil is (imho) foiled ribs become "soggy soft" and I prefer to have "crusty soft" ribs. Ribs are done when you can stick a tooth pick in them effortlessly

    Enjoy your rib cook, post photos of your cook
    Chuck- thanks for your tips. If I were to go with a slab in each slot of the rack, would definitely have to trim a rib or two off the side as some slabs would be too long for the 18.5". It would be impossible to foil all those ribs (unless you stacked up the bundles), but I might have to try and leave them unfoiled. I smoked spare ribs one time so far (last weekend) and used foil (turned out great), but it was only 2 slabs
    Last edited by MichaelP; 06-16-2017 at 06:39 AM.

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    TVWBB Olympian ChuckO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelP View Post
    It would be impossible to foil all those ribs (unless you stacked up the bundles)
    I've done it in the past. You just get the extra wide foil (24"...?) and peal off a long sheet of it (3') lift off the ribs (in the rack) lay the foil down and, put the rack of ribs back on and wrap them up. Foiling does speed up the cook, I'll give it that much, but I prefer the long wait and the crust you get when you don't foil
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    I've done 7 racks of spares at one time using the 3-2-1 method in the WSM 18. Yes, after you foil you can stack them any which way. I returned them to the racks for a bit after removing from foil. It worked fine.

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    TVWBB Hall of Fame timothy's Avatar
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    I did 5 in a rack, but it was spares and BB.https://tvwbb.com/showthread.php?36878-Ribbage

    Tim
    Different smokes for different folks. Wish the Dollar Store sold gas!

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    Did some smoking over the weekend and things make more sense now. I noticed the slabs definitely shrink enough to lay down on the smoker if I wanted to foil. I started with 2 shoulders the night before. In the morning, I moved the shoulders to the bottom grate (questionable move) and threw on 4 slabs of spare ribs. 3 snaked onto the rack and one next to it rolled up. Didn't use foil. Ran into issues as we were running late (plan was to bring to parents house for Father's Day). Pulled the ribs off at about 5.5 hours. The shoulders got up to 186 and stayed there, super frustrating. Wife yelling at me, kids all cranky wanting to go, it was rough. So I pulled and foiled the shoulders. This was my first time with a shoulder (last week's was a Boston butt), but really wanted to get to 195, where I pulled the butt last week. It definitely seemed a tiny tiny bit dry to me, wasn't sure if it was from pulling off too soon or just the cut of meat. Ribs were good, but to me not as good as when I foiled them. Next time will definitely start earlier (especially with more meat), maybe put the ribs on the lower grate, and will be foiling for sure. Brought a leftover slab of ribs to the office and they tasted better than I remembered. And I'm also all of a sudden the most popular person in the office
    Last edited by MichaelP; 06-19-2017 at 10:54 AM.

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    TVWBB Olympian ChuckO's Avatar
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    Remember, BBQ is suppose to be fun. Don't take on big jobs until you're ready. Read the forum as much as possible, you'll look the tricks of the trade and then the only thing the wife will be yelling at you is for more BBQ
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelP View Post
    Ran into issues as we were running late (plan was to bring to parents house for Father's Day). Pulled the ribs off at about 5.5 hours. The shoulders got up to 186 and stayed there, super frustrating. Wife yelling at me, kids all cranky wanting to go, it was rough. So I pulled and foiled the shoulders. This was my first time with a shoulder (last week's was a Boston butt), but really wanted to get to 195, where I pulled the butt last week.
    Welcome to the joy and frustration that is BBQ. It's taken me a long time to learn this lesson but it has finally sunk in -- NEVER count on BBQ to be done at a specific time. It just doesn't work that way. Each piece of meat is different. Each cooking session has different conditions that impact the process. If you need to be done for a particular time, plan to have the food coming off the smoker at least a couple hours before that time. The larger the hunk of meat, the longer the leeway time you should plan. For something like pulled pork I'd plan for taking it off the smoker 5-6 hours before dinner time. This will allow you to get through a long, unplanned plateau and still have time for the meat to properly rest. Unpulled pork shoulder will stay warm wrapped in foil in a cooler for a very long time. In fact, after removing it from the smoker you should let it stand at room temp until the internal temp has dropped to about 160F before wrapping and placing in cooler. One time I made the mistake of wrapping and putting in the cooler too soon and I ended up with mush. The meat continued cooking in the cooler until virtually all of the collagen had rendered. This may sound like a good thing but, trust me, it's not. Let it cool until it's no longer "cooking" and then wrap it to hold until ready to eat.

    The names of cuts of meat vary around the country, but in my experience "Boston butt" and "pork shoulder" are different names for the same cut.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JayHeyl View Post
    Welcome to the joy and frustration that is BBQ. It's taken me a long time to learn this lesson but it has finally sunk in -- NEVER count on BBQ to be done at a specific time. It just doesn't work that way. Each piece of meat is different. Each cooking session has different conditions that impact the process. If you need to be done for a particular time, plan to have the food coming off the smoker at least a couple hours before that time. The larger the hunk of meat, the longer the leeway time you should plan. ....

    The names of cuts of meat vary around the country, but in my experience "Boston butt" and "pork shoulder" are different names for the same cut.
    ^^Agree with all of this. Pork butts (aka shoulders) are pretty consistent in my experience, the sizes I typically cook, and how I cook them, I can plan on 2hrs per pound and it's about right, might cook a bit faster. But I've done enough to learn what works, for me, and how I cook. I plan for it to be done early, and wrap it up good in foil, and put it in a cooler with some towels until it's time to pull and eat. It'll hold just fine, I've held butts for as long as ~6hrs and they were still warm. And that's using a cheap Igloo cooler, not so trendy Yeti haha.

    Brisket I'm still trying to figure out hahaha. Only cooked one full packer so far, and one tiny piece of flat. Both were okay, but I wasn't super happy with them. Both needed to cook longer, but I ran out of time.

    It's a learning process.

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