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Old 09-28-2007, 05:58 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
I experience about a 30% loss in weight with pork butts (boneless) when making pulled pork. A 7 pound butt would yield about 5 pounds.
Is it that much? Truthfully, I've never weighed it after the cooking, but I knew there was some loss. Didn't think it was that much! Wow. Thanks for the info!
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Old 10-02-2007, 12:49 PM   #32
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Wow, thank you all for such great information. I've been reading through this thread for a while now, and feel that I've accumulated a massive amount of information. I know I still have a lot to learn, and the best way to do that is to experience it myself.

That being said, I took a look at all of the recommended smokers, and the only thing left to do is purchase one. I'm still debating on how much I want to spend, and on which model.

And, I do have a propane grill now. I use that at the moment. The last time I tried to make ribs, they came out dry, overcooked, and the flavor was just not right.

I will keep you updated about my purchase and attempts on the ribs. I'm sure I will have many questions before I finally go through with it, but thank you for the help thus far. It is greatly appreciate, and I can't wait to learn more.
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Old 10-02-2007, 12:59 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by keltin View Post
Is it that much? Truthfully, I've never weighed it after the cooking, but I knew there was some loss. Didn't think it was that much! Wow. Thanks for the info!

Yup. I can get seriously AR at times. I weighed the finished product and compared it to the package weight. I also do two butts at a time. It doesn't take any longer and then you have plenty.
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Old 10-02-2007, 03:57 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
So, how do we help this guy make great ribs?!?!?!?
Hummm .... by getting this back on topic???

Here are some other threads that have more info on ribs in the BBQ & Smoking Meats Forum. There are others - just use the search button above to search oither DC forums.

As for equipment ... you just have to decide how serious you are about smoking vs grilling and then decide on quanty you will usually be making, what will fit your budget and location.

Uncle Bob has a serious smoker ... and here is my dream pit (it's still a dream at this point). I've been using a Brinkman water smoker for about 20 years because of space limitations (living in an apartment) and because it was cheap (I think I usually paid about $35-$45 off season for the 3 I've had) ... but as keltin noted it has problems and has to be modified, so the Weber water smoker would be a better choice if you don't want to have to do the mods and don't mind spending a little more.
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Old 04-16-2008, 11:12 PM   #35
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kudos for the wet mop tip.

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Originally Posted by keltin View Post
Once you have your equipment picked out, you need to pick your meat. Iíd suggest starting with spare ribs since they are less expensive than babybacks, and tend to be a bit more forgiving as you cook them.

Letís look at the ways to cook them.

Oven
Yep, you can do them indoors. Just put them in a covered roaster on a meat rack with a little apple juice in the bottom of the roaster. Cover it, and put it in the oven set for 225 and leave them in there for 3 to 4 hours. This gives you perfect, fall of the bone tender ribs. But, no smokey flavor. Once they are done, you CAN throw these on the grill to apply and set a BBQ sauce and add a little smokey flavor.

Weber Kettle Grill
Use about 1/2 to 3/4 of a chimney full of charcoal. Bank all of the charcoal to one side of the kettle (push all the coals to one side in a pile). Put on the rack and place your ribs on the opposite side as far away from the coals as possible. You can also put a tray of water in the middle of the grate to add some moisture and deflect some of the heat. Youíll cook the ribs anywhere from 2 to 3.5 hours. You should baste them with a wet mop (one part oil to one part cider vinegar is great) every 30 minutes. You should also turn the meat 180 degrees every 30 minutes. This is so that one side of the ribs doesnít spend all of its time closer to the pile of coals than the other side.

You can also flip them occasionally, but this isnít required....but turning them is. When the meat has pulled back on the bone by about 1/2 inch and the meat between the ribs is fork tender, take them off and wrap them in foil. Allow them to rest for 10 minutes then serve.

Water Smoker
If it is a water smoker, start a batch of coals in the fire pit, place the body on the fire pit, then fill the water pan with water. Add your ribs to the meat racks and then cover. You want to watch the temperature and keep it at 225 to 235. When you first start this, the water will be cold and will absorb most of the heat, so it will keep the temp at 220 or less the first 30 minutes. After that, the water will have heated up, and the temperature in the smoker will begin to rise. At this point, close the bottom air vents to decrease airflow and cool the coals. Leave the vents closed for 15 to 30 minutes and watch the temp. When it is at 225 and steady, crack the vents a bit. If the temp falls, open the vents a bit.

Youíll also need to add more charcoal every 45 to 60 minutes. To do so, light the charcoal in a chimney off to the side, then transfer the lit coals to the fire pit via the front door on the smoker. You CAN add unlit coals (and I often do because Iím lazy), but you run the risk of tainting your meat with charcoal smoke instead of wood smoke!

Speaking of smoke, you should have some wood chunks (or chips, but chunks are better) soaking in a bucket of water. Add a few chunks every 40 minutes or so. Depending on the type of wood you use, and how strong you want the smoke, you can add wood more often.

As you are cooking, resist the urge to peek. Try not to take the top off for the first 1.5 to 2 hours. After that, you can start basting with a wet mop. I like to baste every 30 Ė 35 minutes. Keep the temp at 225 to 235, and cook the meat for about 3.5 hours. Again, when the meat pulls back on the bone and is fork tender, they are ready. Let them rest in foil for 10 minutes before serving. If you want sauce on your ribs, add it after abut 3 hours of smoking so that it will be on the ribs for about 35 minutes or so to set.

Offset Smoker
If you use an offset smoker, the same methodology is used except you donít have a water pan. Also, placement of your meat is important. The firebox is off to the side, so where you place the meat on the rack is important with relation to how close it is to the opening where the heat from the fire pit is coming. Youíll want a good oven thermometer to place in this kind of smoker so that you can monitor various locations for temp. As with the water smoker, keep the temp at 225 Ė 235, and run the ribs for about 3.5 hours. Baste them every 30 minutes after the first 1.5 hours of cook time.

Notes
You can also ďcheatĒ cook your ribs by simply par boiling them first for about 45 minutes to an hour, and then grill them with direct or indirect heat and add a sauce. I donít suggest this method, and it doesnít sound like what youíre looking for anyway.

To make basting much easier, get a large spray bottle from a home improvement store and mix one part apple cider vinegar to one part oil. Shake well, and then just spray the meat! Super simple and very easy!

For charcoal, always use Kingsford or another quality brand. Youíre going to be cooking a cut of meat for 3.5 to 4 hours, so now is not the time to save a few pennies on charcoal. Get the good stuff and you will be pleased. Lump coal is also an option, but I donít suggest playing with that until you have mastered using regular coal. As for wood, experiment a bit. Hickory is the classic wood for smoke. Mesquite is good, but you donít want to use a lot of it on ribs (kind of strong). Oak is a great choice as well. Since Hickory and Mesquite are so readily available in most stores, Iíd suggest getting a bag of hickory CHUNKS and start with that.
I have never tried or even thought of a vinegar pre-baste. I also like the
tip of using the spray bottle with the vinegar in it, too. I always use a
spray bottle to control temperature and moisture, but never as a baster.
Thanks for the ideas.
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Old 04-17-2008, 09:18 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbasiszta View Post
I have never tried or even thought of a vinegar pre-baste. I also like the
tip of using the spray bottle with the vinegar in it, too. I always use a
spray bottle to control temperature and moisture, but never as a baster.
Thanks for the ideas.
My typical baste is equal parts apple juice or cider with apple cider vinegar and a couple tablespoons of dark brown sugar. Sometimes I add some Bourbon or Apple Jack to the mixture. (no, it does not create a blow torch) Mix well to dissolve the sugar and load into a spray bottle. I spray the meat every 20-30 minutes. I found that the only good thing about using a mop is that you look cool basting. Otherwise, you're just wiping off any seasoning and keeping the lid open too long.
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Old 04-17-2008, 10:47 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Jeekinz View Post
My typical baste is equal parts apple juice or cider with apple cider vinegar and a couple tablespoons of dark brown sugar. Sometimes I add some Bourbon or Apple Jack to the mixture. (no, it does not create a blow torch) Mix well to dissolve the sugar and load into a spray bottle. I spray the meat every 20-30 minutes. I found that the only good thing about using a mop is that you look cool basting. Otherwise, you're just wiping off any seasoning and keeping the lid open too long.
A water spray water bottle has great uses in controlling
temperature and moisture when grilling or smoking. But this
new idea to me of using one for basting is really exciting!
I think you leave mroe of the previous bastings where they
were, as you add more to liven up the product. Great idea!
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Old 04-17-2008, 11:38 AM   #38
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I only need a water bottle during large cookouts to keep flare-ups tame. Give it a shot and play around with the flavorings.
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Old 05-02-2008, 02:36 PM   #39
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Oven didn't work so good

Out of laziness and frustration with the useless pit (N.B. Hondo purchased last year & subsequently made well published mods to) I opted to try out the recipe for the oven w/ some apple juice - 225 for 4 hours, covered of course.

After 4 hours I pulled the roasting pan from the oven, and removed the heavy duty foil. Indeed, the meat was pulled back from the bones & aside from the unappetizing look of boiled meat, I was optimistic. I took the rack of ribs to the hot grill & cooked some bbq sauce on them for about 15 minutes.

I've made good fall of the bone tender ribs in the past but these weren't close. Next time I'll try again on my pit and see if there is a way to get that thing cooking decently.
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Old 05-02-2008, 02:57 PM   #40
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I use a Webber 22" charcoal grill. I also have Webber trays that were designed to hold the charcoal on either one or two sides of the grill.

I use to banks of charcoal and place the ribs over a drip pan filled with 2 cups of water. To protect the meat from excess heat, and to controll the heat, I place 3 to 4 inch disks of soaked apple wood on top of the hot coals. This protects teh meat from direct inra-red energy and produces plenty of good smoke. I control the cooking temperature by adjusting the top and bottom vents to between half and 3/4 closed position. This allows me to bring the ribs up to a great final temperature of about 190 degrees without scorching the bones or meat. I can also use mops and rubs that contain some sugar for the same reason, if I so desire.

My favorite way to cook ribs is to use baby back ribs with the tenderloin still attached. Your butcher can french the bones for you and remove the silver skin and extra muscle and bones, or you can do the same thing so that you can use those parts to make a pork stock. You need at least 17 ribs to make this work. Then, when the ribs are prepared, you stand them on end, tenderloin side down, and trim the ends square to the verticle. Curl the ribs around with the bones on the outside of the circle until the ends touch. Then tie off with butcher's string. You can brine or marinate the ribs before tying them into the crown, or just season and mop. Insert a meat thermometer into the ribs and place the crown roast over the drip pan. Cover and cook for about twnety minutes. Remove the lid and brush on your sauce. Cover and cook another twenty minutes. Again, remove the lid and apply sauce/mop fluid. Check the thermometer. Continue this process until the meat temp reaches 155' F., or 190' F. Remove from the barbecue and set on a suitable platter. Let rest for 15 mintues before carving.

Your mop can consist of honey, water, and lemon or other citrus (orange is a favorite at my house), or you can make a teryaki sauce, or the vinegar based mop as used in the Carolinas. Avoid sauces that contain large amounts of sugar as the sugar can easily scorch. Asian style sauces are particularly good with pork ribs of any kind.

There are a host of rubs and sauces available to you in the "Sauces, & Rubs" forum in D.C.

Enjoy your ribs.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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