Rib quandary


 

Tom Fisher

New member
Hello TVWBB,

I'm making some spare ribs this weekend but I have some time constraints that make it tricky. Here's the situation.

My in-laws - 3 adults and 2 kids - are coming to see my kids' soccer game tomorrow. They're going to come to my house, we will all go to the game together, and then we will retire to my house for food and refreshments. They said they want to eat ribs and I'm happy to oblige. Presumably we would all eat the ribs - plus some sausages and hot dogs for the kids - around noon. Trouble is, the soccer game is from 9:00-10:00 AM, right when I'd be working on the ribs. I'm using a kettle with SnS so I can't just leave it unattended while I go to the game, nor do I have one of those digital temp controllers for set-and-forget.

So it's a matter of timing. I want the ribs to be the best they can be, which is right after they finish cooking. The only way to make sure of that would be to start after the soccer game, but then we wouldn't eat until almost dinner. So that's a no-go.

If I were making pulled pork I'd be comfortable with starting early, leaving the kettle alone while we go to the game, and finishing up when we get back with no concern about temperature fluctuation, but ribs demand a bit more attention. So that leaves me with one option: Start and finish the ribs before we leave for the kids' game at 9:00 AM.

The question is what to do next. I don't think ribs benefit much from resting in a cooler - in fact, I'm afraid they would get mushy. I see two options: 1) Leave the ribs in the oven at 170 the whole time after they finish, or 2) put them in the refrigerator when done, then warm them back up in the oven at 170 after we return from the soccer game.

Surely someone has had to serve ribs after a 3-4 hour break while keeping them tender and juicy yet not mushy. What is the way?
 
Do the ribs 3/4 today, wrap em and finish them off tomorrow. No one will know. They’ll taste like you just made them.
 
What time do you want to serve the ribs?

I've done babybacks in 3hrs at higher temps. Have your rig loaded up and ready to go, prep the ribs today and let setup overnight, then when you get back from the game light and go.
 
Agree with Brett. Leave them wrapped in foil and refrigerate. I would put them in the oven while it is preheating. I would put the wrapped ribs on a sheet pan to catch any leaks.

Then light some coal for the final stage and finish on the kettle.
 
So let's see if I'm following:

1. Prep and start the ribs the night before, like normal. Smoke for 4 hours.
2. Remove from kettle, wrap with foil and put in refrigerator.
3. Wake up, go to soccer game.
4. After game, fire smoker back up. At the same time, place ribs unwrapped in oven and preheat to same temp as the kettle.
5. When kettle has reached cooking temp, put ribs back in kettle and resume smoking.
6. Serve approx. 2 hours later/whenever they are done.
7. No one the wiser.

Is that right? It's a new paradigm for me. Not to be pedantic, but has anyone done this before? I'm serving these ribs so I want them to be done right.

Thanks.
 
So let's see if I'm following:

1. Prep and start the ribs the night before, like normal. Smoke for 4 hours.
2. Remove from kettle, wrap with foil and put in refrigerator.
3. Wake up, go to soccer game.
4. After game, fire smoker back up. At the same time, place ribs unwrapped in oven and preheat to same temp as the kettle.
5. When kettle has reached cooking temp, put ribs back in kettle and resume smoking.
6. Serve approx. 2 hours later/whenever they are done.
7. No one the wiser.

Is that right? It's a new paradigm for me. Not to be pedantic, but has anyone done this before? I'm serving these ribs so I want them to be done right.

Thanks.
1. what's your smoke temp for the 4 hours? if 225, 4 hours is fine. if you're 275, i'd probably only go 2-2.5 hours smoking, then remove them, let them settle down on temp, then wrap, then fridge overnight. i'd recco a stop cooking them temp of 160F-170F.
4. concurrently place foiled ribs in warming oven as your grill comes to temp. then remove from oven and place on grill. you can be in the foil or out of the foil depending on if you're saucing your ribs or serving dry ribs to be dunked into sauce as eaten. if saucing before serving, cook ribs till done (with a bite texture or do you prefer FOTB texture?) i prefer a bite texture so i'd cook that rib to 190F and then sauce and firm up the bark/sauce for 15-30 mins depending all on your grill's temp and how long till your sauce sets to your liking (all nuances and preferences here to what YOU like).
6. done. done is what YOU like. FOTB or with bite? you have to advise or share more. time is not the answer. how you like your ribs is the time answer.
7. drink and enjoy your masterpiece. you'll be just fine with a cook 75% method and finish the 25% day of method. your ribs will render on the second cook, the 25%, and that's where the magic happens. just don't overcook your ribs on the first 75% of the cook and you won't have mushy ribs.

you got this. think confident thoughts. you're just cooking over two sessions versus 1, that's all.
 
So let's see if I'm following:

1. Prep and start the ribs the night before, like normal. Smoke for 4 hours.
2. Remove from kettle, wrap with foil and put in refrigerator.
3. Wake up, go to soccer game.
4. After game, fire smoker back up. At the same time, place ribs unwrapped in oven and preheat to same temp as the kettle.
5. When kettle has reached cooking temp, put ribs back in kettle and resume smoking.
6. Serve approx. 2 hours later/whenever they are done.
7. No one the wiser.

Is that right? It's a new paradigm for me. Not to be pedantic, but has anyone done this before? I'm serving these ribs so I want them to be done right.

Thanks.
a little reference thread to give you some additional perspective: https://tvwbb.com/threads/go-niners-st-lou-game-day-ribs.93868/

hope this helps for the visual ques you're seeking.

and this is the bible to learn from: https://amazingribs.com/best-barbecue-ribs-recipe/
 
Hello TVWBB,

I'm making some spare ribs this weekend but I have some time constraints that make it tricky. Here's the situation.

My in-laws - 3 adults and 2 kids - are coming to see my kids' soccer game tomorrow. They're going to come to my house, we will all go to the game together, and then we will retire to my house for food and refreshments. They said they want to eat ribs and I'm happy to oblige. Presumably we would all eat the ribs - plus some sausages and hot dogs for the kids - around noon. Trouble is, the soccer game is from 9:00-10:00 AM, right when I'd be working on the ribs. I'm using a kettle with SnS so I can't just leave it unattended while I go to the game, nor do I have one of those digital temp controllers for set-and-forget.

So it's a matter of timing. I want the ribs to be the best they can be, which is right after they finish cooking. The only way to make sure of that would be to start after the soccer game, but then we wouldn't eat until almost dinner. So that's a no-go.

If I were making pulled pork I'd be comfortable with starting early, leaving the kettle alone while we go to the game, and finishing up when we get back with no concern about temperature fluctuation, but ribs demand a bit more attention. So that leaves me with one option: Start and finish the ribs before we leave for the kids' game at 9:00 AM.

The question is what to do next. I don't think ribs benefit much from resting in a cooler - in fact, I'm afraid they would get mushy. I see two options: 1) Leave the ribs in the oven at 170 the whole time after they finish, or 2) put them in the refrigerator when done, then warm them back up in the oven at 170 after we return from the soccer game.

Surely someone has had to serve ribs after a 3-4 hour break while keeping them tender and juicy yet not mushy. What is the way?
I've been using this recipe for several years and will never go back to longer rib cooks. https://tvwbb.com/threads/what-was-your-favorite-recipe-or-cook-of-summer-2021.88336/#post-989689

SHould work just fine with reasonably trimmed spares.
 
1. what's your smoke temp for the 4 hours? if 225, 4 hours is fine. if you're 275, i'd probably only go 2-2.5 hours smoking, then remove them, let them settle down on temp, then wrap, then fridge overnight. i'd recco a stop cooking them temp of 160F-170F.
4. concurrently place foiled ribs in warming oven as your grill comes to temp. then remove from oven and place on grill. you can be in the foil or out of the foil depending on if you're saucing your ribs or serving dry ribs to be dunked into sauce as eaten. if saucing before serving, cook ribs till done (with a bite texture or do you prefer FOTB texture?) i prefer a bite texture so i'd cook that rib to 190F and then sauce and firm up the bark/sauce for 15-30 mins depending all on your grill's temp and how long till your sauce sets to your liking (all nuances and preferences here to what YOU like).
6. done. done is what YOU like. FOTB or with bite? you have to advise or share more. time is not the answer. how you like your ribs is the time answer.
7. drink and enjoy your masterpiece. you'll be just fine with a cook 75% method and finish the 25% day of method. your ribs will render on the second cook, the 25%, and that's where the magic happens. just don't overcook your ribs on the first 75% of the cook and you won't have mushy ribs.

you got this. think confident thoughts. you're just cooking over two sessions versus 1, that's all.
1. Smoke temp for the 4 hours is 225.
6. Done is not fall off the bone, but pull off the bone. Should come off neatly but not be mushy.

As for that recipe you linked . . . I have the book. :) Learned most of what I know from Meathead and from experience.
 
I like the idea of finishing the last hour or so next day. Just don't discount the time to heat up back up from 37 F... Is going to take a while...

It is possible to cook ribs in 3 hours flat or maybe slightly less.... But you have to be careful not to make the outside too hard with the higher heat. It's a lot less forgiving. If it was me, given the constraints I probably wouldn't bother with ribs. Or I would cook them all earlier... Then just reheat them.

We went to a bbq brunch last year, where they served brisket and ribs for about 30 people . The brisket was okay. The ribs.....were absolutely horrible. They tried to cook all the food on one big green egg.. then hold it, reheat etc..... It didn't work out so well
 
Well folks, it worked. I smoked the ribs (and rib tips) 4 hours the night before and 1.5 hours after the game. Was quite tired after it was all over but the ribs were a hit. Just the level of doneness I wanted. So were the brats I made and the hot dogs for the kids.

Thanks for the inspiration.
 
Well folks, it worked. I smoked the ribs (and rib tips) 4 hours the night before and 1.5 hours after the game. Was quite tired after it was all over but the ribs were a hit. Just the level of doneness I wanted. So were the brats I made and the hot dogs for the kids.

Thanks for the inspiration.
Good on you. Post some pics next time if you remember. The described method is used by restaurants to ensure they always have food ready on hand for service. It doesn’t degrade the quality from my own experience. Glad you got the success you sought.
 

 

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