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Old 07-02-2008, 10:37 AM   #1
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Pork Ribs - Fall off the bone?

So I have a new charcoal grill and I did pork ribs last night. I followed a recipe I found. It suggested putting the heat to one side of the grill, and letting the ribs lay on the cooler side to cook for an hour basting once in awhile.

I did that. But they were a bit tougher than I'd liked. The meat was good once you got it off the bone. But some of my guests were older and cannot bite meat off the bone. So it wasn't as tender as I had wanted.

What can I do differently next time? One guest suggested boiling a little before putting them on the grill. But I thought this might make them tougher. Or at least boil the flavor out.


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Old 07-02-2008, 10:42 AM   #2
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Make sure the silver skin is off for starters. There may not have been any though.

#2, they simply needed to cook longer. Maybe even a couple hours or longer. You want the meat to begin to pull away from the ends (shrink back).

You don't want to boil the ribs as this takes all the flavor out. I know a lot of people do it but don't.

When they are just about done, if you want to sauce them, do that now and then put them over direct heat to finish them and caramelize the sauce.


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Old 07-02-2008, 10:57 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
....What can I do differently next time? .....
Find another recipe

What KE said, you didn't let them cook long enough, not doing them from scratch and "indirectly". Plenty of good recipes on this site if you look around. I don't recall any of them saying to only cook for one hour.
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Old 07-02-2008, 11:11 AM   #4
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My ribs usually take somewhere around 4 hours. A friend of mine will also wrap the ribs in foil at the end of cooking, and put back on the grill for an additional 30-60 minutes. Really had the meat falling off the bone (he's done this technique with chicken, too, and it's worked wonders.)
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Old 07-02-2008, 11:48 AM   #5
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Robin, you're on the right track with the "indirect method". Like others said, the cook time needs to be longer. The recipe may have been referring to individual country style ribs and not a whole rack of spares or whatever you used. If it was, an hour may have been a little better, but still not the ideal method.

Next time, try to keep the cooking temps between 225-240ish until you have an internal meat temp of 190. A trick I do to check for doneness is to pick up the rack lengthwise with a pair of tongs holding near the center of the rack. Turn the rack bone side up, if the ribs begin to split (fall off the bone) at the tongs then they're done. Baste every 30 minutes.

You need the "low and slow" cooking method to break down the connective tissue in the rib meat.
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Old 07-02-2008, 02:01 PM   #6
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I agree with Jeekinz about the low and slow. 225-250 degrees.

I cook spareribs using the 3-2-1 method, back ribs using 2-2-1, either indirect or on the smoker.

Cook 3 hours, basting (my favorite is apple juice) every 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Wrap in foil tightly - give it a good basting before sealing, and back to the grill/smoker for 2 hours.

Unwrap, back on the grill for 1 more hour. BBQ sauce during the last half hour is up to you. I sometimes prefer mine un-sauced.

And it is imperative that you remove the membrane before rubbing and cooking.

Oh, and hi everyone.
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Old 07-02-2008, 03:00 PM   #7
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If Spare ribs are done right then they should fall off the bone when cooked properly, however Baby Back ribs when done properly should never fall off the bone.

As mentioned above, always go the Low and Slow method, shouldn’t let the heat get over 250 and keep them wet.
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Old 07-02-2008, 03:06 PM   #8
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Hi Robin! Welcome to DC!! Make yourself at home!

I'm wondering if those ribs were loin back (aka baby backs) and you ran across a recipe for grilling/roasting ribs rather then BBQing...Your method suggests BBQ....fire on one side...ribs on the other (indirect heat), but still the 1 hour time cook time suggested by the recipe got me to thinking....I know a guy who has made 40 fortunes using a grilling method for ribs!! Darn good eats too!!! Anyway...don't give up! Next time they will be better!!

Welcome Again & Have Fun!!
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Old 07-04-2008, 11:48 AM   #9
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Like the others say.... low and slow. I do mine on a Weber Genesis gas grill. I only use the front burner, and I put my wood chip tray on the "flavor bars" under the grill grate, directly over that burner. I put the racks on the back of the grill, then to keep the temperature low enough to cook them properly but still hot enough to keep the chips smoking, I have that one burner on high and I prop the lid open about 1/2 inch. I then cook (smoke) them for about 4 hours, maintaining about 230-250 degrees.

The key is keeping the temperature high enough to cook but low enough not to burn. Make sure you have a good thermometer and monitor it regularly to keep the heat controlled. I've seen a tip that says to stick a meat thermometer in a potato and leave it on the grill right by the meat. I never tried it so I don't know how well it works.

It took me a while to figure out the best combo on my grill, which was never designed for smoking. Keep trying, and you will find the right setup for your grill.
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Old 07-04-2008, 12:47 PM   #10
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Indirect heat cooking to me means you fire up the Webber and put a disposable foil container on top with water then put the meat on top of that. You surround the container with briquettes about 7 on each side. OR if you have two sides, you fire up one side, put your water container on the other side on low heat, put your meat on top. This method acts like a smoker but you have to cook the meat longer, as others says, 4 hours. When you see that your meat is burning a bit or drying out, wrap it in foil to maintain the moistness and the moist will cook your meat. Short of this method, you can cook your meat until you the colour your like both sides then wrap it in foil for the last hour or two with a sort of marinade/sauce you prefer. Check every now and then to see if your meat is not drying out.

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