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Old 08-12-2007, 07:20 PM   #1
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Pork Spare Ribs - Too Tender

I cooked two slabs of pork ribs on the smoker (Hickory smoke) last night. I kept the heat low, but ended up leaving them on a little longer than usual (got distracted). I usually take them off at 4 hours when the meat has begun pulling back on the bone.

These ribs stayed on 5 to 5.5 hours. They developed a good bark, and they were juicy. But, they are too soft. When warm, you can almost shake the meat off the bone. In fact, when I was cutting them, I had to cut them really slowly because the pressure and friction from the knife would knock the meat off the bone.

Personally, I like my ribs with a little more texture than this. This meat is more like pulled pork. They are dry ribs right now, so I’m thinking of boning the meat and freezing it. Later, I’ll heat it up in some Carolina vinegar type BBQ sauce or some regular tomato based BBQ sauce. Should make good sandwiches, especially with a little slaw. I trimmed them to St. Louis style, but the briskets were huge so I smoked them as well. That meat was destined for BBQ sandwiches anyway, so I guess all of it is now.

I can only contribute this to “over-cooking”. Strange how overcooking in the smokin’ and BBQ world can mean even more tender.

Anyone else ever have this happen? How do you like your ribs, super soft or some texture for chewing?

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Old 08-12-2007, 07:26 PM   #2
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This happened to me with pork babyback ribs, too. Previously, I had only cooked beef ribs but when I made the pork ones, I cooked them the same amount of time and the bones literally fell out into the pan when I was moving them to a platter. I had no idea why this happened but then again, I usually have no idea why my meats turn out the way they do. Are pork ribs supposed to be cooked differently than beef ones?
Terry
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Old 08-12-2007, 07:30 PM   #3
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Unfortunately I have had this happen too Kelton, and for the same reason. They are ...ok I guess but just to mushy! As a carnivore I prefer my meat to have some "chew' to it. In fact I pay extra for that privilege! If I want "mushy" I'll eat mashed potatoes. They are a whole lot cheaper!

Your solution sounds like a good one!

Enjoy!
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Old 08-12-2007, 07:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fisher's Mom
This happened to me with pork babyback ribs, too. Previously, I had only cooked beef ribs but when I made the pork ones, I cooked them the same amount of time and the bones literally fell out into the pan when I was moving them to a platter. I had no idea why this happened but then again, I usually have no idea why my meats turn out the way they do. Are pork ribs supposed to be cooked differently than beef ones?
Terry
Well, Baby Backs are the premium of pork ribs. They are much more tender than the pork spare ribs or beef back ribs. They cost more per pound as well. I dont like smoking baby backs because they get too tender. In fact, Ive had great results with grilling baby backs over direct heat (medium coals).

Also, if you have a big enough grill, bank the coals to one side, grill the baby backs directly for 5 minutes on one side, flip for another 5, flip for another 5 and flip a last time for 5. I like to keep turning them every 5 minutes when on hotter direct heat to keep from charring them. Then after those flips (20 minutes) move the ribs to the cool side of the grill to finish them with indirect heat. You can do this with a dual burner gas grill by leaving one side (one of the burners) off.

I have a vertical water smoker, and the last time I did baby backs on it, I took the water pan out and used a little extra charcoal. I left them on for 1.5 hours. The temp was hot (well above the 225 used in smoking) and it was like grilling them, but the fire was a good 2 or more feet below the meat. They were good, but bordering on being too soft for me.

I really think the best baby backs Ive ever cooked have been on a large Weber kettle with medium coals using direct heat. But, I like my ribs with a little juicy texture and not so soft that the meat literally falls off the bone.
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Old 08-12-2007, 07:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Bob
Unfortunately I have had this happen too Kelton, and for the same reason. They are ...ok I guess but just to mushy! As a carnivore I prefer my meat to have some "chew' to it. In fact I pay extra for that privilege! If I want "mushy" I'll eat mashed potatoes. They are a whole lot cheaper!

Your solution sounds like a good one!

Enjoy!
Agreed! I’m disappointed in this batch of ribs, but it was my fault for letting them linger on the smoker for so long. Oh well, they may not be ribs anymore, but they will make great pork sandwiches!

Odd thing is, my wife likes them (they do have good flavor). She said “Good Lord, I have never heard of anybody complaining that meat was TOO tender.”

Oh, Uncle Bob, have you ever frozen smoked pork before? How was it? I’ve seen that they sell it in the store frozen (but I’ve never tried it), so I know you can freeze it. I’m wondering how it will be when thawed and warmed up in some sauce?
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Old 08-12-2007, 08:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keltin
Oh, Uncle Bob, have you ever frozen smoked pork before? How was it? Ive seen that they sell it in the store frozen (but Ive never tried it), so I know you can freeze it. Im wondering how it will be when thawed and warmed up in some sauce?
Keltin,

I, and I think others here routinely freeze bbqed pork butt with no adverse affects. Just let it thaw in the refrigerator and re-heat. I don't like to use a microwave for reheating it however. I've have frozen ribs, and they were ok as well. Also, I don't like to leave it in the freezer for too long. A couple of weeks max! Just my personal preference.

Enjoy!
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Old 08-12-2007, 08:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Bob
Keltin,

I, and I think others here routinely freeze bbqed pork butt with no adverse affects. Just let it thaw in the refrigerator and re-heat. I don't like to use a microwave for reheating it however. I've have frozen ribs, and they were ok as well. Also, I don't like to leave it in the freezer for too long. A couple of weeks max! Just my personal preference.

Enjoy!
Ok, good deal. Ive boned all the meat (which was very easy to do as you may imagine) and it's in the freezer in three small Ziploc freezer bags. Each bag should make about 4 or so pork sandwiches. I left a few ribs out for DW to snack on through out the next day or so.

Ahhhh..now that Ive resigned myself to the fact that this meat is no longer ribs but instead is BBQ pork for sandwiches, I actually feel better and am actually looking forward to some good sandwiches in the next couple of weeks! Strange how the mind works.

But you know, there is a pride thing hereIm so tempted to get another slab and smoke em for 4 hours tops so that I can gnaw those bones!
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Old 08-12-2007, 09:08 PM   #8
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keltin, I'll bt the meat still tastes great. I agree the extra time caused the problem. I regularly freeze pulled pork with no ill effects.
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Old 08-12-2007, 09:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
keltin, I'll bt the meat still tastes great. I agree the extra time caused the problem. I regularly freeze pulled pork with no ill effects.
Yeah, it does taste really good. Nice smokey flavor and still juicy. They had a really deep smoke ring, and in some cases, the ring was 50% down into he meat. But the “ribs” have the texture of pulled pork, so that meat has been demoted from ribs to BBQ pulled pork sandwiches! On the up side, as usual, the dog was happy to get the bones.

I’m glad to know that freezing pulled pork is ok. I’ve never done it, but fell I must now. The disappointment in the ribs has made me lose my taste for them. So, I’ve boned and frozen them, and later on, I’ll make BBQ sandwiches and redeem myself!
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Old 08-12-2007, 09:19 PM   #10
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On a side note, I've found pork bones splinter too much to be safe for dogs.
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