Slow cooking ribs on a gas grill question


 

JohanetteMeakin

New member
I'm hoping for any advice on how to improve my setup so that I can be more confidence in my slow-cooked ribs. I've done this a few times now and have gotten similar results:

My propane barbecue has three burners. I can get 225 degrees on the grill's temperature thing if I turn the leftmost burner on low (I know, that's not a good read - maybe that's the problem).

I use a big disposable aluminum casserole dish with a rack at the bottom and pour a thin coating of orange/apple juice on top. Place the rib rack on top of the rack. Wrap the entire item with aluminum foil.
I positioned it as far away from the "on" burner as possible, despite the fact that it is so large that it partially overhang the burner. The
grill maintains a consistent temperature of 225 degrees throughout the cooking process. I'm attempting to raise the internal temperature of the ribs to 200 degrees.

What's occurred a few of times is that after about 4 hours, I'll take the ribs' temperature and see if they've reached 190 degrees. Okay, I think I'm getting there. Allow them to stay on for a bit longer. The temperature will then drop the following several times I check it. I just retrieved them after 7 hours and they were still in the 180 degree range.

Do you have any clue what's going on?
 
Last edited:

Brett-EDH

TVWBB Pro
Sounds like you’re not putting enough heat into your cook box (grill).

Once you wrap them, some people will increase the heat a little to ensure you’ve got enough heat to penetrate the wrapped ribs.

Question, are you using any chips to smoke the ribs in your gasser?

If all you’re doing is slow cooking in the grill, once you wrap the ribs you can place the ribs in your home oven set at 225° and finish them there. The smaller box/oven will hold temp better and finish your ribs to your desired doneness.
 
Last edited:

TimA

TVWBB Fan
If they’re on consistent temp from the grill, it’s impossible for them to drop in temp. Literally cannot happen. Either you’re temping in a different spot, say hitting a picket of fat, or the grill is not actually at 225 consistently.
 

Bob Bailey

TVWBB Super Fan
If you can't get the internal temperature of a slab of ribs up to 200 degrees using 1 burner, that's the problem.

Put a drip pan under the ribs (you can make one out of heavy duty aluminum foil), use a digital remote thermometer or an oven thermometer to monitor the temperature at grate level and within a couple inches of the ribs. Use multiple burners as needed to maintain a grate level temperature of 225 to 275 degrees. The drip pan will protect the meat from direct heat and catch drippings to prevent flareups. If you use liquid, be sure to heat it to near boiling before adding to the drip pan.

Problem solved.
 

Matthew Turner

New member
There's a lot going on here.

First, gas grill lids are designed to allow for exhaust. In a low-heat setting, you will have drastically varying temperature zones. If you have a thermometer on the grill, it is only measuring the heat in a very tiny area. Even if you have a secondary probe, you'll still have great variation inch-to-inch.

Second, temperature is not the most ideal way to measure doneness of ribs. Probing is difficult between the bones. 200° doesn't guarantee tender since each hog varies in the amounts of fat, connective tissue, etc. Tenderness is the best way to determine if the ribs are done. Some twist bones, some use tongs to pick up the rack, some do other things.

Third, I think you have the right idea with the apple juice (orange juice, idk) and the foil but maybe in the wrong order. There is a lot written on the 3-2-1 (spares) or 2-2-1 (loin back) method. I won't rehash it but it may help push you through the stall.

Finally, a gasser for low-and-slow doesn't add much, if any, flavor. You can do a smoker box or the foil method with wood chips but your main fuel source is still just propane or natural gas. Essentially you're using your grill as an oven. But grills are pretty bad ovens in comparison to an actual oven. There are some really good recipes for oven ribs. Alton Brown's are probably my favorite. They are not BBQ but they are still delicious. You could still "finish" oven ribs on the gasser instead of under the broiler. Alternatively, if your living situation allows, cheap Weber kettles are plentiful on all of the buying/selling sites.
 

JSaus

TVWBB Fan
IMO, just use the oven. I stopped doing ribs on the gas grill years ago. You really can not get smoke flavor on it. It really amounts to an outside oven. I used to move them to the grill to glaze them but now just turn up the oven temp or use the broiler.
 
Here's a good recipe for doing ribs on a gasser.

As noted above, you are mostly using the gasser as an outdoor oven. So you can do much the same thing in your kitchen oven (in whole or just the last part).

The tricky thing about using the gasser is to get the smoke to work via pellet tube, smoker box, foil pouch or chunks on the flav bars. The grill has to be hot enough to get the wood smoking but not so hot that the wood fully bursts into flame. And the right temp and set up for the wood smoke may not be the same setup and temp you want for cooking the ribs.

 

Rich Dahl

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
I agree with the oven method. We use our NG Gen E320 for an outside oven in the summer to keep the heat out of the house. I've never done ribs on it but have done just about everything else that we use the inside oven for. I do agree that on low and slow a gas grill isn't really great at consistent temperatures. I've used my grill for a keep warm oven and it kept some things warm but not everything depending on how close the items were to the lit burner.
 

J Hasselberger

TVWBB Pro
I had some rib success with my old Genesis. The three left-to-right burners were a good setup for ribs — front burner on low with a smoke pouch, ribs near the back so that the heat/smoke flows over the ribs on its way to the vent. Usually nicely done in about 90 minutes.
 

Chuck-roaniecowpony

TVWBB Member
My first reaction to the OP's post was that his technique of using a thermometer is what I feel is unnecessary and is consuming his attention, and preventing him from paying attention to more important indicators.

When I used a gas grill for ribs, my technique was to: apply a rub, sear the ribs over high heat until nicely carmelized, wrap (later I found a fullsize restaurant disposible tray was more reliable and easier) in foil, add a bit of liquid (beer, water, juice, etc), lower the heat to something close to 300 F ish (your target of 225F in a drafty gasser is too low, IMO), Cook until the ribs are as tender as you like them by using a tug test and observing the meat pull-back from the bones (probably short of an hour, maybe as little as 30-40 mins) Then, I'd unwrap, place back on the grill and use medium heat to tighten up the bark and then sauce them and tighten the sauce.

Even now that I've had smokers for many years, I still use color, meat pull-back and physical tug tests to tell when they are done. JMO.

Thermometers (and timers) are great bbq tools, especially for big cuts like pork butt, brisket, etc, and when grilling chicken and steaks. I just don't think they are important for ribs. As you've found out, they don't tell the whole story.

A little insight about bbq, many champion competition bbq teams cook bbq well above 225F. I've cooked as high as 400F brisket and I've done ribs at 350F. I recently did some ribs at 275F for the smoke phase and 300F for the wrapped phase and they were some of the best I've had.
 
Last edited:

LMichaels

TVWBB Olympian
I get perfectly fine and VERY tasty/tender results on my gas grills. Consistently good ribs every time. I don't resort to "crutches" like wrapping and juices and so on. I get full smoky flavor, nice bark, and perfect smoke ring every time.
All a gas grill is a source of heat, just as wood or coal is in another type of cooker. The faster that is learned and USED rather than made to be an excuse the faster you will get good results as I do
 

Joe Anshien

TVWBB Wizard
I get perfectly fine and VERY tasty/tender results on my gas grills. Consistently good ribs every time. I don't resort to "crutches" like wrapping and juices and so on. I get full smoky flavor, nice bark, and perfect smoke ring every time.
All a gas grill is a source of heat, just as wood or coal is in another type of cooker. The faster that is learned and USED rather than made to be an excuse the faster you will get good results as I do
Want to explain how, or post a link to how it is done? I have not tried ribs on a gasser.
 
I had some rib success with my old Genesis. The three left-to-right burners were a good setup for ribs — front burner on low with a smoke pouch, ribs near the back so that the heat/smoke flows over the ribs on its way to the vent. Usually nicely done in about 90 minutes.

This is the method I use on my old Silver B with east/west burners. Works fairly well.

For smoke, I put big wood chunks on the front/hot flav bar. I turn the front burner up or down as needed to keep the smoke rolling. I don't really care what the cooking temp/time is -- I just want the smoke wood to keep smoking. Some folks will use a wad of alum foil to partially block the gasser's back vent to enhance the smoke effect.

I've found it difficult to keep the smoke consistent using pouch/pellet tube/smoker box. And it is a pain if you have to adjust or replace the smoke source. Since you have to move the ribs and the grates to get access.

By putting the ribs east/west at the back of the grill top, I can do two St. Louis slabs or three BB slabs (with one slab cut in half).

Would love to hear more details on Larry's or others method for gasser ribs.
 

LMichaels

TVWBB Olympian
If I am using my Genesis, I get the grill fully hot and stabilized, I then get my smoke packet(s) ready. I put my first one in nestled on the left front (so it catches the XOver burner and heat from the front burner. I close the lid, wait until temps stabilize leaving only the front burner on. Depending on what type of ribs determines next step(s). If BB my slab goes across the back (seasoned as you like them), I then use front burner to maintain about 300 on the lid thermo to 350. If smoke subsides, I replace the smoke packet with a fresh one. Repeat until ribs are done to desired texture
If I am doing spares same process BUT I run the temps lower and longer.
I always get wonderful ribs, unless I mess them up.
If I need to cook a lot of ribs I use a similar process but on the Wolf, and again I use left and right burners as needed to maintain my temps for the desired times and temps depending on the ribs.
Both grills give me pretty flawless ribs. I know if I had an actual smoker (or a good pellet grill like a Smokefire) I could do even better. But I don't. But I go on the assumption that heat is heat and results depend on how you use that heat not what the heat comes from or how it's produced. And SKILLS don't forget skills
 

Joe Anshien

TVWBB Wizard
These idea sound pretty good. I like the left front over the xover tube, chunk of wood and foil in the rear vent also sounds like something to try. Thanks that sounds like some fun stuff to try.
 

Brett-EDH

TVWBB Pro
Want to explain how, or post a link to how it is done? I have not tried ribs on a gasser.
i used to use this on my old Summit 620 prior to it's death,


perfect way to add smoke in a gasser. and i made sure the vbox top was accessible to add more chips over time just by sliding the cook grate atop its neighboring grate. smoke was good enough, but not the same level of smoke as my E6, but that's a total different story.

if you want to add smoke to a gasser, i recommend this simple contraption.
 

LMichaels

TVWBB Olympian
Larry -- so how many smoke pouches do you go through for a rib cook?

Do you put the pouch down on the flav bars or up on the cooking grate?

Pouch is chips or pellets?
How many is determined by the type and amount of ribs also the grill I am using. I go through more on the Wolf than the Genesis. I use simple foil pouches with my desired wood in chips form. Nothing special is done. No soaking no magic. I put them on the flavo bars. On the Wolf if I am doing spares I can go through 4 or 6 pouches if BB ribs half that. If on the Genesis half on both counts. The Genesis is a little more "efficient"
 

Chuck-roaniecowpony

TVWBB Member
There was a time when I started wanting smoked bbq that I employed the same techniques LMichaels uses. I went on to buy an offset stickburner then a couple komados, and finally a RecTeq pellet smoker. When I did my job, all these cookers produced great ribs or other meats. But I still think the OP should leave his meat thermometer in the drawer for ribs. BBQ is not "cooking by the numbers", IMO.
 

 

Top