Ribs

Discussion in 'Food and nutrition' started by John Gaughan, Mar 7, 2004.

  1. John Gaughan

    John Gaughan Guest

    I need help cooking ribs. My problem is that the ribs are
    always tough. At restaurants the meat is so tender I can
    almost lick it off the bone, and I can easily gnaw the meat
    off the bone in short order. At home, I can gnaw for hours
    and the meat is so tough I just cannot get it all. The taste
    is decent, but the meat just is not tender enough.

    I cook the ribs on the grill, generally under indirect heat.
    I have a wide charcoal grill with attached smoke box. I have
    tried it with the fire in the smoke box, smoking the ribs in
    the main compartment. I use regular old Kingsford charcoal
    and hickory chips soaked for at least a half hour. I've
    tried it with the fire in the main compartment, but on
    different ends (there are two grill plates, I put the fire
    under one and the ribs over the other). I've tried it under
    direct heat, the ribs directly over the fire. This generally
    produces ribs that are slightly more tender, but more
    charred (the dripping fat causes flare-ups, and I don't
    usually have aluminum drip pans handy). I like the slightly
    charred exterior but my wife hates it ("it tastes like
    burnt!"). Generally when I use wood chips the meat is very
    tough, although even without the hickory it still is tough.

    Is smoking to blame, or (more likely) am I just doing
    something wrong? What do you guys recommend I try?

    --
    John Gaughan http://www.johngaughan.net/
    [email protected]
     
    Tags:


  2. John Gaughan wrote:
    > I need help cooking ribs. My problem is that the ribs
    > are always tough. At restaurants the meat is so tender I
    > can almost lick it off the bone, and I can easily gnaw
    > the meat off the bone in short order. At home, I can
    > gnaw for hours and the meat is so tough I just cannot
    > get it all. The taste is decent, but the meat just is
    > not tender enough.
    >
    > I cook the ribs on the grill, generally under indirect
    > heat. I have a wide charcoal grill with attached smoke
    > box. I have tried it with the fire in the smoke box,
    > smoking the ribs in the main compartment. I use regular
    > old Kingsford charcoal and hickory chips soaked for at
    > least a half hour. I've tried it with the fire in the main
    > compartment, but on different ends (there are two grill
    > plates, I put the fire under one and the ribs over the
    > other). I've tried it under direct heat, the ribs directly
    > over the fire. This generally produces ribs that are
    > slightly more tender, but more charred (the dripping fat
    > causes flare-ups, and I don't usually have aluminum drip
    > pans handy). I like the slightly charred exterior but my
    > wife hates it ("it tastes like burnt!"). Generally when I
    > use wood chips the meat is very tough, although even
    > without the hickory it still is tough.
    >
    > Is smoking to blame, or (more likely) am I just doing
    > something wrong? What do you guys recommend I try?
    >

    Try using this recipe from AB; it's more like steamed, but I
    finish them off in a Weber grill outside, smoking it with
    apple and hickory wood.

    True BBQ take hours (6 to 10 hours) of slow low temp
    cooking.

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936-
    _11125,00.html

    Enjoy,

    Rich

    --
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    ----------

    Dum spiro, spero. (Cicero) As long as I breathe, I hope.
     
  3. Steve Wertz

    Steve Wertz Guest

    On Sun, 07 Mar 2004 20:52:56 -0600, John Gaughan
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Is smoking to blame, or (more likely) am I just doing
    >something wrong? What do you guys recommend I try?

    You're not cooking them long enough. 3-4 hours for baby
    (loin) backs, 5-8 hours for spare ribs, assuming a
    smoking/indirect temp of 275-285 or so.

    When the ribs start to bunch up, exposing 10-20% of the bone
    ends, they're usually done. They should twist and break
    apart easily.

    -sw
     
  4. bobball

    bobball Guest

    On Sun, 07 Mar 2004 20:52:56 -0600, John Gaughan
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >I need help cooking ribs. My problem is that the ribs are
    >always tough.
    <snip>
    >
    >Is smoking to blame, or (more likely) am I just doing
    >something wrong? What do you guys recommend I try?
    >

    If possible John, I'd consider talking to the folks at AFB,
    or at least (and perhaps before subscribing) checking out
    the BBQ FAQ. Bill Wight posts the links to it regularly, but
    here it is:

    http://www.eaglequest.com/~bbq/

    While most of the guys and gals over there are far more
    experienced than me, a couple things strike me as possible
    problems off the top...

    1) If possible, it's time to dump the briquettes and switch
    to natural lump charcoal. Burns cleaner, allows you to
    restock unlit during the burn if necessary on long cooks
    without all the nasty black smoke that'll come up from
    trying that with briquettes (which contain not only
    charcoal, but coal dust, vegetable starch, and other non-
    charcoal ingredients).

    2) Soaking chips just makes creosote. Instead of chips,
    toss in a fist-sized chunk or two of hickory. It'll burn
    as well as smoke, and do you better than chips for an
    offset rig.

    3) Stay with indirect heat. Cooking over direct will usually
    burn the outside before the inside is at the tender
    stage. Ideally about 250 or so on the temp (so fire
    control is important to learn), as well as patience...say
    about 4-6 hours.

    Those are the biggies I saw off the top. Like I said,
    the BBQ FAQ and AFB would be able to answer those
    questions easily.

    Bob
     
  5. Dave Smith

    Dave Smith Guest

    John Gaughan wrote:

    > I need help cooking ribs. My problem is that the ribs
    > are always tough. At restaurants the meat is so tender I
    > can almost lick it off the bone, and I can easily gnaw
    > the meat off the bone in short order. At home, I can
    > gnaw for hours and the meat is so tough I just cannot
    > get it all. The taste is decent, but the meat just is
    > not tender enough.

    I know the die hard rib grillers may disagree, but I find
    that ribs turn out better if they are precooked. I rub mine
    with salt, pepper and garlic powder and lay them in a
    shallow pan, cover and seal with aluminum foil and cook them
    for 1 1/2 - 2 hours at low temperature. Then apply you
    favourite sauce and finish them on a grill. Be careful not
    to pre cook them too long or the meat will be so tender that
    it will fall right off the bone.
     
  6. Louis Cohen

    Louis Cohen Guest

    Slow cook at 220-250°. Spare ribs will take 4 - 5 hrs; they
    will be done when you can pull them apart easily.

    Let them rest 10-20 minutes wrapped in foil after taking
    them off the heat.

    Since this is rfc and not afb, you can also braise ribs -
    brown them and then simmer in liquid until tender. This is
    more common with short ribs than spares, though.

    --
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    ----------------
    ----
    Louis Cohen Living la vida loca at N37° 43' 7.9" W122° 8'
    42.8"

    "John Gaughan" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I need help cooking ribs. My problem is that the ribs
    > are always tough. At restaurants the meat is so tender I
    > can almost lick it off the bone, and I can easily gnaw
    > the meat off the bone in short order. At home, I can
    > gnaw for hours and the meat is so tough I just cannot
    > get it all. The taste is decent, but the meat just is
    > not tender enough.
    >
    > I cook the ribs on the grill, generally under indirect
    > heat. I have a wide charcoal grill with attached smoke
    > box. I have tried it with the fire in the smoke box,
    > smoking the ribs in the main compartment. I use regular
    > old Kingsford charcoal and hickory chips soaked for at
    > least a half hour. I've tried it with the fire in the main
    > compartment, but on different ends (there are two grill
    > plates, I put the fire under one and the ribs over the
    > other). I've tried it under direct heat, the ribs directly
    > over the fire. This generally produces ribs that are
    > slightly more tender, but more charred (the dripping fat
    > causes flare-ups, and I don't usually have aluminum drip
    > pans handy). I like the slightly charred exterior but my
    > wife hates it ("it tastes like burnt!"). Generally when I
    > use wood chips the meat is very tough, although even
    > without the hickory it still is tough.
    >
    > Is smoking to blame, or (more likely) am I just doing
    > something wrong? What do you guys recommend I try?
    >
    > --
    > John Gaughan http://www.johngaughan.net/
    > [email protected]
     
  7. EskWIRED

    EskWIRED Guest

    In rec.food.cooking, John Gaughan <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Is smoking to blame, or (more likely) am I just doing
    > something wrong? What do you guys recommend I try?

    Cook them at a low temp (200 to 250 or so, maybe 300 if you
    are impatient) for around 4-5 hours. You would be better off
    ditching the Kingsford, and using a pure wood product,
    commonly known as "lump" or "natural" charcoal. The ribs are
    done when they start to break apart when the rack is bent
    sharply back on itself. If the meat is falling off the bone,
    the ribs are overdone.

    --
    ...I'm an air-conditioned gypsy...

    - The Who
     
  8. EskWIRED

    EskWIRED Guest

    In rec.food.cooking, John Gaughan <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Is smoking to blame, or (more likely) am I just doing
    > something wrong? What do you guys recommend I try?

    Cook them at a low temp (200 to 250 or so, maybe 300 if you
    are impatient) for around 4-5 hours. You would be better off
    ditching the Kingsford, and using a pure wood product,
    commonly known as "lump" or "natural" charcoal. The ribs are
    done when they start to break apart when the rack is bent
    sharply back on itself. If the meat is falling off the bone,
    the ribs are overdone.

    --
    ...I'm an air-conditioned gypsy...

    - The Who
     
  9. EskWIRED

    EskWIRED Guest

    In rec.food.cooking, John Gaughan <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Is smoking to blame, or (more likely) am I just doing
    > something wrong? What do you guys recommend I try?

    Cook them at a low temp (200 to 250 or so, maybe 300 if you
    are impatient) for around 4-5 hours. You would be better off
    ditching the Kingsford, and using a pure wood product,
    commonly known as "lump" or "natural" charcoal. The ribs are
    done when they start to break apart when the rack is bent
    sharply back on itself. If the meat is falling off the bone,
    the ribs are overdone.

    --
    ...I'm an air-conditioned gypsy...

    - The Who
     
  10. John Gaughan wrote:

    > I need help cooking ribs. My problem is that the ribs
    > are always tough. At restaurants the meat is so tender I
    > can almost lick it off the bone, and I can easily gnaw
    > the meat off the bone in short order. At home, I can
    > gnaw for hours and the meat is so tough I just cannot
    > get it all. The taste is decent, but the meat just is
    > not tender enough.
    <snip technique>
    > Is smoking to blame, or (more likely) am I just doing
    > something wrong? What do you guys recommend I try?

    To get ribs tender you have to cook them at a low
    temperature for a long time, to get them tender. The ribs
    you get at the restaurant have been cooking for I would
    guess at least 2 hours if not much longer. The local rib
    shops here start cooking their ribs before daybreak to serve
    them at lunchtime.

    --
    Darryl L. Pierce <[email protected]> Visit the Infobahn
    Offramp - <http://mypage.org/mcpierce> "What do you care
    what other people think, Mr. Feynman?"
     
  11. On 3/7/2004 9:52 PM Ted shuffled out of his cave and grunted these great
    (and sometimes not so great) words of knowledge:

    I realize that this isn't "TRUE" BBQ ribs, but what I do
    (with excellent results) is: Put a metal rack in a pan, add
    1/8" - 3/16" of water to the pan and about 1/2 - 3/4 tsp of
    liquid smoke. Put the ribs on the rack (bone side down),
    seal with aluminum foil and bake in the oven @225 for 2
    hours (sometimes longer if it is a thick rack of ribs).
    Then I take them out and either finish them on the grill
    (weather permitting) or under the broiler. In either case,
    when finishing them, they are LIBERALLY "slathered" with
    BBQ sauce and "re-slathered" about every 10 minutes (or
    whenever I turn them). They come out nice and tender and
    have a good flavor.

    The water/steam and low temperature combine to disolve the
    collegen, and although some folks will say they are being
    "steamed", they don't have the "taste, or lack there of"
    that you get if you boil them.

    > I need help cooking ribs. My problem is that the ribs
    > are always tough. At restaurants the meat is so tender I
    > can almost lick it off the bone, and I can easily gnaw
    > the meat off the bone in short order. At home, I can
    > gnaw for hours and the meat is so tough I just cannot
    > get it all. The taste is decent, but the meat just is
    > not tender enough.
    >
    > I cook the ribs on the grill, generally under indirect
    > heat. I have a wide charcoal grill with attached smoke
    > box. I have tried it with the fire in the smoke box,
    > smoking the ribs in the main compartment. I use regular
    > old Kingsford charcoal and hickory chips soaked for at
    > least a half hour. I've tried it with the fire in the main
    > compartment, but on different ends (there are two grill
    > plates, I put the fire under one and the ribs over the
    > other). I've tried it under direct heat, the ribs directly
    > over the fire. This generally produces ribs that are
    > slightly more tender, but more charred (the dripping fat
    > causes flare-ups, and I don't usually have aluminum drip
    > pans handy). I like the slightly charred exterior but my
    > wife hates it ("it tastes like burnt!"). Generally when I
    > use wood chips the meat is very tough, although even
    > without the hickory it still is tough.
    >
    > Is smoking to blame, or (more likely) am I just doing
    > something wrong? What do you guys recommend I try?
     
  12. John Gaughan

    John Gaughan Guest

    Thank you all for your suggestions. I figured I needed to
    cook them slower and for a longer time. Now I just need to
    go find lump charcoal. You would be amazed what things are
    impossible to find in this backwoods "city" of Montgomery,
    Alabama...

    --
    John Gaughan http://www.johngaughan.net/
    [email protected]
     
  13. Donna Rose

    Donna Rose Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] says...
    > I need help cooking ribs. My problem is that the ribs
    > are always tough. At restaurants the meat is so tender I
    > can almost lick it off the bone, and I can easily gnaw
    > the meat off the bone in short order. At home, I can
    > gnaw for hours and the meat is so tough I just cannot
    > get it all. The taste is decent, but the meat just is
    > not tender enough.
    >
    > I cook the ribs on the grill, generally under indirect
    > heat. I have a wide charcoal grill with attached smoke
    > box. I have tried it with the fire in the smoke box,
    > smoking the ribs in the main compartment. I use regular
    > old Kingsford charcoal and hickory chips soaked for at
    > least a half hour. I've tried it with the fire in the main
    > compartment, but on different ends (there are two grill
    > plates, I put the fire under one and the ribs over the
    > other). I've tried it under direct heat, the ribs directly
    > over the fire. This generally produces ribs that are
    > slightly more tender, but more charred (the dripping fat
    > causes flare-ups, and I don't usually have aluminum drip
    > pans handy). I like the slightly charred exterior but my
    > wife hates it ("it tastes like burnt!"). Generally when I
    > use wood chips the meat is very tough, although even
    > without the hickory it still is tough.
    >
    > Is smoking to blame, or (more likely) am I just doing
    > something wrong? What do you guys recommend I try?
    >
    >
    Your indirect method sounds fine - I think you just need to
    increase the time - depending on the type of ribs (country,
    baby back, St. Louis, etc.) they can take anywhere from 4 to
    6 hours over indirect (and very low) heat.
    --
    Donna A pessimist believes all women are bad. An optimist
    hopes they are.
     
  14. bobball

    bobball Guest

    On Mon, 08 Mar 2004 19:28:35 -0600, John Gaughan
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Thank you all for your suggestions. I figured I needed to
    >cook them slower and for a longer time. Now I just need to
    >go find lump charcoal. You would be amazed what things are
    >impossible to find in this backwoods "city" of Montgomery,
    >Alabama...

    Yeah, it's not always the easiest to get. When you find it
    on sale, be sure to stock up. Our local supplies (in MN)
    disappear around December. Menards (a big lumber/hardware
    outfit) started carrying it again last week...of course they
    carry briquettes year-round.

    One thing to consider is checking the yellow pages, or a
    local good (real charcoal type if you can find one) BBQ
    joint. Often the supplier is local. You may have to buy
    larger bags, but the price will probably be nice.

    Bob
     
  15. Marecat

    Marecat Guest

    On Mon, 08 Mar 2004 19:28:35 -0600, John Gaughan
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Thank you all for your suggestions. I figured I needed to
    >cook them slower and for a longer time. Now I just need to
    >go find lump charcoal. You would be amazed what things are
    >impossible to find in this backwoods "city" of Montgomery,
    >Alabama...

    We get lump charcoal for our smoker from Barbeques Galore.
    You might want to see if there's a store in your area.
     
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