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Old 08-01-2012, 03:49 PM   #1
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Smoked Spareribs, no foil versus foil test

We have been having a debate in the family about foiled or no-foiled spareribs so my wife and I decided to do test.
Two racks of spareribs both prepare the same way. We will foil one and not foil the other during the smoke.

My wife applying our Mohunken Butt Rub and oranges.
.



Wrapping in plastic wrap and into the fridge overnight.


Next day I took the ribs out of the fridge and allow them to come up on temperature for about an hour and a half. I spread a thin coat of yellow mustard and more rub on the ribs.


The pit is running at 225 degrees so in go the ribs.


Three hours in and I foiled one rack with a mixture of apple juice, apple cider and EVOO.


Five hours in, time to remove the rib rack from the foil. The top of the rib look fine but the bottom looked mushy.

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Old 08-01-2012, 03:50 PM   #2
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now the rest of the story

Now put on the finishing sauce and turn up temperature to 300 degrees and set the sauce. This should be 15 to 30 minutes. The higher temp sets the finishing sauce and gives it a glossy finish.


Ribs been in the smoker for six hours, time to pull, cover and rest for 30 minutes. The rack in the rear is the foiled rack. Both look good but the foil rack shrunk more losing more meat and was really limp when I pulled it. I like some texture in my ribs, more like competition ribs. Taste test coming up.

I went to heavy on the sauce but that is what the grandchildren like.

Now for the family judging.

First, the non-foiled ribs. Cut like butter, has a smoke ring and looks like it is moist.


Second, the foiled ribs. Cut like butter, has a smoke ring and looks like it is more moist than the non-foiled rib


Now test for how easily the ribs pull apart.

First, the non-foiled ribs. Pull apart easily but did not fall apart and moisture oozed out.


Second, the foiled ribs. Pull apart easily but did not fall apart and much more moisture oozed out.


Taste test by the family of six adults and three grandchildren were the judges. The foiled ribs seem to have more moisture and were completely falling off the bone as I expected. The taste of both were equally great. The non-foiled ribs had a better taste and more bark but seem a little dryer but not to the point to say dry.

Foiled Ribs Win 5 out of 9 but it was very close in fact that the could be the difference between the rack of ribs.

Bottom line is I will smoke ribs both ways. If I use a stick burner I will always foil but in Traeger it is either way.
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Old 08-01-2012, 04:32 PM   #3
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Very nice work and great photos! I have done ribs both ways as well. I agree with your assessment 100%. The fire determines the method.
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Old 08-01-2012, 04:58 PM   #4
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Oh how droolsome. Beautiful pics and play-by-play, SS. I prefer watching this to any sporting event.
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Old 08-01-2012, 05:07 PM   #5
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Nice comparison test! I've done similar tests on the UDS but foiled for only an hour and pulled the foiled slab out of the smoker earlier.
Both your ribs look great!
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Old 08-01-2012, 05:16 PM   #6
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Thanks for the time and effort to do the test and to report the results in such detail!
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Old 08-02-2012, 10:47 AM   #7
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The sacrifice you make in the name of science. You, sir, should be commended and the Nobel people should be in touch.
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Old 08-02-2012, 10:56 AM   #8
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Good job! ~ Next time try foiling for only 30 minutes... tops!! ~ On the very rare occasion I think a slab needs some foil time that's my time standard..... 99% of the time I go all the way with no foil.

Fun!
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Old 08-02-2012, 11:12 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Bob View Post
...On the very rare occasion I think a slab needs some foil time that's my time standard..... 99% of the time I go all the way with no foil.

Fun!

What makes the difference? Is it that the fire was too hot or that the ribs were leaner than usual?
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Old 08-02-2012, 11:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Bob View Post
Good job! On the very rare occasion I think a slab needs some foil time that's my time standard..... 99% of the time I go all the way with no foil.

Fun!
In my experience foil or no-foil ribs depends on what cooker one is using.
My last stick burner was a Lang 48 and we had to foil.

On the Traeger pellet grill most people, other than the grandchildren, like no foil because it gives us tender and tasty ribs with some tug and good bite through.

I do not like failing off the bones, I like mind the way we turned in ribs when I use to compete. Good bite through, tender, tasty and with some tug.

Bottom line is, we will foil the grandchildren's ribs and no-foil on the adults.
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