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hey all im a newbie with a steep learning curve ahead i know...have an amerique and have smoked about 6 times in it with varying success.....yesterday was babyback rib day....small load 3 racks of 2.2 -2.4 lb racks...prepped and rubbed them. left them in fridge for 4 hours with rub.cut them in half and put them in rib racks staggered...put them in a cold machine set for 245 and 6 hours ..knowing when they are done they are done...2 chunks of wood hickory one 3.5 hours i checked them and sprayed them with apple juice..they looked dry on first check..but werent really rendering much fat shrinkage from 5 hours they had more of a bark look ..from apple juice sugar i guess , but werent falling apart when 6 hour mark they looked good on outside but werent feeling tender/done even yet...i took them out and sauced and finished quickly on the grill...meat pulled back from bone ther and i ate.....taste was perfect..smoke was present but not bitter...bark was good as well...BUT and a big but...meat was dry/firm...certainly not fall apart...what am i doing 2.4 lbs and 6 hours plus i assume i overcooked...but the signs of the meat said no during the instincts on the machine arent honed yet but i am a pretty good judge of the cooking process elsewhere in my life...when opening the smoker i shut door while checking and temp dropped maybe 20 degrees ..i sprayed em and replaced and temp was constantly within a 2-3 degree range, so i thought i was golden...i put them in cold from fridge..did i need to let them come to room temp? any close but dont want to wrestle with my me i ate em and so did my friends...but i can do better....also okie always says the smoker cooks very moistly ...why do i feel like i am getting drier results from it ....please feel free to add any thoughts here...thanks Brian
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Don't put them in a cold smoker. You're not accounting for the time to come up to temp.

Set it for 245 and when it indicates that's the temp, put them in. Put them in cold, or room temp, some people prefer one way or the other, but the ribs won't care.

Ribs actually go through several stages while cook, so "lookin' ain't cookin'" it's the end result you want. They'll look dry at times, others they'll give up the juice, etc.

Shrinkage from bone is NOT an indication of who good, how bad, how done, how not done. Too much variance but in my smokers I almost never get that, but that's why you see it happen on a grill.

Read through the forum, there are lots of discussions about how to determine when they are done.

at 6 hour mark they looked good on outside but werent feeling tender/done even yet

What I mean, when I say "it's done when it's done" is that you can not go on time alone. If at 6 hours they weren't ready, you should have let them go longer. you just can't rush a good smoke. They might have been perfect at 7 or even 8 hours.

at 2.4 lbs and 6 hours plus i assume i overcooked
Again, time isn't the key, because your individual mileage may vary. If I put 2.4 lb bb's in a smoker at 240, somewhere around the 4 to 6 range they'll be almost done. Thickness matters, lots of things.

also okie always says the smoker cooks very moistly ...why do i feel like i am getting drier results from it
Because you finished them on a grill Big Grin

Dryness is ribs is pretty subjective. Lot of people like to foil, add liquid, etc to try to help that.

We'll get you there. You have a pretty good foundation, I'd just suggest to simplify a few steps and then work into more ideas from that.

thanks Okie I dont feel so are you suggesting that if i left them in smoker for 1-2 more hours they would have broken down and let the juice release....when i put them on grill i had them foiled and sauced...10 minutes or so just needed to eat haha...the shrinkage expectation came straight from ribs 101 ...i have scoured the forum for keys ...experience will be well earned ....thanks again Brian
Opening the door can add to cook times. Opening at 3.5 hours then again at 5 probably added to the cook time. I usually dont open my door until Im at the 5 hour mark. At that point a hit with sauce, spritz of juice or whatever and let them finish. I try to only open the door that one time and will determine how much longer they need to go to get where I want them. I usually let mine get to the fall off the bone point, so 5 hours may be a bit long for babybacks for some folks that like a little tug left in them. I also cook at 225, but again its a matter of preference.

This is how I do it, but Im no expert. Just read read and read some more on these forums and also practice. Notes help a lot as well.
I have done tons of ribs on mine. I always go at least five hours, never more than six. I always cook at 225. I do not pregeat my smoker. I havg them and walk away for five hours. I sauce them at five hours and do not find a need to spray them. I do not need fall of the bone ribs as I like a bit of pull....not much.

They always seem to be killer...
Originally posted by bdfeen:
haha...the shrinkage expectation came straight from ribs 101 ...

oh, gag, now you're quoting me back to me.

I KNEW I needed to rewrite those (man, they old, but they're still pretty good, but that Smokin Okie guy just sometimes gets it wrong doesn't he) Razzer

On reason I need to rewrite them is the experience I've gained answered tons of rib questions.

Appreciate the info, we'll help you out.
I'm no rib expert,but I do cook with some ,and have judged many,over the years.

Being around back in those days,I wouldn't be too quick to rewrite.

Yes,we've progressed through many cookers,and many ideas about temp,etc.

As in the large meats ,there is no exact cooking line of time/temp/weight.

This is where Smokin's good notes come in, that give the experience.

Several of the tips give the final result.

This "pullback" can be an indication of some change-often quicker done?

I have been with fine comp cooks that were almost disqualified for too much pullback,and seen very slow cooked ,that almost had none.

We did a nonbbq cooking presentation,this weekend to a large group of non bbqers,and one item was comp ribs.

Although pullback was not the one item I looked for,in a full FEC,after the cutting and serving,I remember that they all had some.

Yes,the toothpick,and the bend of the slab,were the final indicators,but the pullback[not huge] was noticable.

Too emphasize, again,Smokin's tips give us the SEVERAL tips that develop our own EXPERIENCE.

Just my $0.02,after along weekend's cook. Wink
I've done my share of babyback ribs in my smokette, and I never got the pullback until I switched to spares. We actually prefer the spares because they have more meat, cost less, and they are so huge that they are SO easy to get nearly perfect everytime (small ribs=harder to cook perfectly).
My baby back would always dry out before falling off the bone (unless I foiled them) unless I got the HUGE baby backs at Costco.
Huge=good Big Grin
Dombey, you might want to try making those spares into "St. Louis Style" spares. This amounts to removing the sternum bone and the flap. Here's a great tutorial on how to do that. Don't wast the parts that you remove. I take off all the meat from those bones and include the flap meat and run it all through a grinder for pork sausage. You'll be surprised how much the waste meat will yield from a mess o' ribs.
I agree with the comments about opening the door. I rub, cut in half, and hang my baby backs. I put them in a cold smoker at 225. I come back in 6 to 7 hours and take them out.

They usually more done than competition ribs (the meat falls off the bone). They are not dry but there is usually pretty good pullback from the bones.

I started cooking ribs with Smokin Okie's primer. It is the only real guidance I have ever used and don't have any complaints...

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