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Thread: Baby Back Ribs Redo, Help!

  1. #1
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    Baby Back Ribs Redo, Help!

    Hey everyone! Iím new to BBQing, new to the forum. Looking for some guidance to help get me on the right track...

    My first smoke I did 4 racks of ribs on my 22Ē WSM and they came out a little tough, I smoked them for about 5 hours, and I did not foil, I did not spritz them, all I did was rotate them in the racks after about 3 hours, and sauced them when I thought I was 30 mins out. I managed the temperature with ease and kept it between 230-250 for the full 5 hours. The flavor on them was good, but the meat was a bit tough and a bit dry.

    This time around Iím going to be doing 2 racks of baby backs, and am considering foiling, Iíve seen many references to the 3-2-1 method, but Iíve also heard if you foil for 2 hours they will be so tender they will most likely fall apart on the grill. So Iím curious if anyone has suggestions on this, they are roughly 2.75# slabs each.

    Should I foil? If so how long? Iíve seen 4-1-1, 3-2-1, 2-1-1, itís all confusing.
    Does spritzing help? Iíve heard mixed reviews?
    If foiling, do you leave the packet dry? Or put in anything?

    The goal here is like everyone wants, I want them tender and juicy, but with a nice bark so they arenít falling a part and have a nice outer crispness to them. The dream ribs basically

    Thanks in advance for the advice! If there is anything else you see Iím open to any and all feedback!

  2. #2
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    Hello T Augustin,

    Welcome to the forum. First, every smoker is just a little different from others, Every cut of meat is a little different from the last one cooked. So, reading your post I'd say you are on the right track considering it is your first attempt.

    You are in effect asking how to smoke two different methods, the southern slave or restaurant style. Stick with one and get that method to your taste then tackle the other. This old man prefers the southern slave method/style.


    Using your WSM, fill the charcoal ring with enough charcoal for the entire cook. Don't worry about extra, close the vents after the cook and use remaining charcoal for the next smoke. I use the water pan, it helps to keep the meat moist. Use a rib rack to get a nice even smoke on both sides of the ribs. After three hours flip the ribs end to end. Now is the time to start watching the temperature of the meat!


    I use a stoker to control the pit temp and found something around 250 degrees suits my taste. An ET732 lets me watch pit temp and meat/food temp anywhere around the house. This makes for a more consistent result at the end of the cook. An occasional peek at how the stoker is working helps near the end of the smoke, about 4-5 hours. As the charcoal is burned the stoker has to run a little longer to add more air to the WSM. At times I've opened the door and raked the charcoal towards the air outlet of the stoker. This knocks ash off of the remaining charcoal and the stoker settles back down to its normal routine.

    Water boils at different temperatures depending on altitude above sea level. This factors into the target temp of when the meat is "done". Read......not tough, just right! Meat temperature is the deciding factor, not time in the smoker. The altitude above sea level here is over 4200 feet and water boils around 204 degrees F. My target temp is 189 degrees F.

    The result is a little bark, smokey flavor, a little chew, meat separates clean from the bone.

    Regards,
    Craig,H in La Pine
    I don't like rubbery meat 18.5"ET732: FlameBoss FB100-U

  3. #3
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    I used the 321 method and can for the first time in my life say I was happy with how I cooked the ribs but just not the ribs themselves. Temp at 275 for entire cook, three hours smoked, two hours foiled and then sauce and cook for 10 minutes. If ribs pass tear and or bend test there done, if not return to the grill for 10 minutes and check again, repeat until done. Also look for pullback on the bones.

  4. #4
    TVWBB Diamond Member Len Dennis's Avatar
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    A little less help. I try to run 250o (230-270 makes no diff).

    spare ribs 3-2-1 (3 hr straight smoke then 2 hours foiled (1/2C of apple juice or water and sealed) then 1 hr unwrapped.
    back ribs 2-2-1 (2 hr straight smoke etc)

    No spritz. Just leave the lid on and go have a beer, watch the ball game and come back 4 hr later (assumes you have some way of auto-watching the temps).

    IMO no need to foil backs (so 5 hr but CHECK after 4 hr). My back ribs are usually done in 4 to 4.5 hr. Spares take a bit longer. You can foil spares but I don't bother.

    AND Andy's bend/tear test.
    Last edited by Len Dennis; 09-08-2018 at 05:42 AM.
    So many recipes, so little time
    : Genesis gas grill 18.5" WSM Maverick ET-732 :

  5. #5
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    When you say no need to foil Baby Backs, why is that? I’ve seen varying opinions, I tried to do them unwrapped and they weren’t tender, then again it was my first run and it could have been a variety of other things too.

  6. #6
    TVWBB Diamond Member Len Dennis's Avatar
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    I guess maybe I like them firmer? Picking it up and having it literally fall off the bone is not for me. Gotta have some "bite". For me, mouth-feel is important. And yes, there are varying opinions. You can try both ways and see what you like better. I've never had a tough one (ie "not tender" ).

    Sometimes there is only 1 way to do something. In others (like this), there are two (or three or four or ..... )
    So many recipes, so little time
    : Genesis gas grill 18.5" WSM Maverick ET-732 :

  7. #7
    TVWBB Pro BFletcher's Avatar
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    Like Len, I rarely wrap baby backs. But I also change things up a bit and occasionally might wrap them. Sometimes, I smoke baby backs for the intent of making "McRib"-like sandwiches and always wrap when I make those. Having cut a ridge along both edges of each bone enables me to easily remove them when the smoke is finished. Now I'm wanting some ribs.

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