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Thread: Smoking ribs......Bark not setting up??

  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Smoking ribs......Bark not setting up??

    Hey Guys,

    Looking for some ideas. Smoked some Baby Back ribs today and as after 3 hours at 225F - 250F the Bark was still not set. Usually I wrap for 30 minutes at this point but the rub still seems grainy/soft and comes off pretty easily with the fingernail. What am I doing wrong?? Not mopping enough?? I mopped once at the 2 hour mark but I was concerned mopping too much would was off the rub/bark that was starting to form. I only used 2 TBSP of rub for each side of a full rack. Any ideas?? Rub content have something to do with it??

    WSM 22"

  2. #2
    TVWBB Hall of Fame Dwain Pannell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Huntsville AL
    I believe just the opposite: you may be mopping too much. It wont set if wet.

    IMO, I believe you rub em, leave em for 3 hrs without doing anything to get them to dry (aka set), then either a) mop, b) wrap, or c) leave em alone (dry ribs).

    Of course, theres more than one way to skin a cat. Thats my way. YMMV.
    Last edited by Dwain Pannell; 05-28-2018 at 03:31 PM.

  3. #3
    TVWBB Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    SW Ohio
    Early on, I just flat followed Harry Soo’s directions from this web site. I had immediate excellent results:

    The only thing I do different, is I cut the rack of ribs in half and use a rib rack on both grates whether I am using my WSM 18” or 14”. That way, I can smoke up to 8 half racks of ribs at once. I do NOT mop, and I cook at 275-300 degrees and wrap when the bark is set with a bit of apple juice, etc. I, my family and guests prefer ribs a bit more tender than competition, so that’s what I give them.

    Harry Soo will probably go down in history as the best BBQ teacher in history. I do admit to following this web site almost daily and I have picked up many tips that I have incorporated into my toolbag. Chris’ directions on many, many BBQ foods has been MORE than helpful.

    Here ‘s a thumbs up to the many posts on here that have been very helpful to me over the years and have been directly responsible for my personal BBQ improvements.

    thanks to you all!

    Keep on smokin’,
    Last edited by Robert McGee; 05-28-2018 at 03:55 PM.
    Mini-Joe Gold, 14.5 WSM, 18.5 WSM, 2 Performers with Vortex, gasser (taking up space), SJS, JJ

  4. #4
    TVWBB Pro
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    East of the Quad Cities, IL
    By your description it sounds like you're making "mud" when you mop. It happens when you use too much rub.
    Bill: WSM 22.5 BBQ Guru DigiQ DX2 : Maverick ET-733 : BHG Gas Grill: His & Hers John Deere Lawn Tractors

  5. #5
    TVWBB Fan Donna Fong's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Alameda, CA
    I agree with Dwain. I don't mop my ribs. But if I did mop (nothing wrong with that), I'd wait until the rub looked like it was set into the meat. That is, the rub won't come off when you touch it. The rub will set on the perimeter of the meat and slowly set towards the middle. The middle of the rack is the last to set. So if you were itching to mop, I'd mop the ends but definitely not the middle. Also, did you stack the racks closely together? If they are too close, there won't be enough ventilation between them which slows down bark formation.

  6. #6
    TVWBB Super Fan
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Oklahoma City
    I quit mopping and just spritz or use a basting brush.

  7. #7
    TVWBB Fan
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Not enuf rub and no mopping spritz a little if any at all

  8. #8
    TVWBB Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Mt Kisco NY
    Reducing the liquid in the water chamber worked for me. Had same issue even though I wasn’t mopping at all.

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