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My brother called frustrated wanting to know what he did wrong; I couldn't answer him so I am turning to all of you for possible answers.

He cooked a batch of baby back ribs on Mothers Day and he said they came out "tough as boiled owl"; he said there was no question the meat was done but could hardly get it to even come off the bone. He smoked them in a WSM around 220 for about 4 1/2 hours and he did remove the membrane (I don't know if that matters or not); I hope that was all the right questions to ask. I'd be grateful for any input you could provide.

Thank you so much in advance!!

I cooked 6 racks of baby backs on Friday that I had bought from Sams Club. I had the same problems with 3 of my racks. I cooked them for 5 hours at around 240-250, put them in some tin foil for awhile, and cooked them sauced for awhile just like I always do. And the 3 larger racks that where in the same package were tough. The others were just fine. My guess: Crappy Ribs. I've learned that ribs from Sams Club can be hit and miss sometimes, and lately they've been more of a miss than a hit. I think I may start buying them from somewhere else from now on.
(05-09-2011 03:41 PM)Pegleg Wrote: [ -> ]220 for about 4 1/2 hours

At that temperature and time I would guess they are just undercooked. You might get away with 4 1/2 hours if you foil for at least an hour, otherwise they take longer, or at least mine do.

Also, if he was going by the lid temp gauge, 220 at the top of the lid is more like 180 at the grill.
We covered that at the BBQ 101 class!

The temperature on the thermometer in a lid, is not often the temperature that you are actually cooking at the grate.

I suspect that it was one of those racks that are difficult to cook no matter what you do, I also think that the cooker will run at 250 for more solid results most of the time, that helps give a little more umph to the chance of getting them done in time!
Thanks so much to everyone for the info. I have three WSM's and have handed one over to him until he can get around to purchasing his own and it doesn't have a gauge in the lid; he was actually using a thermometer at grate level through a half potato. The ribs he picked up were frozen from a meat packing company up North. I'm beginning to think perhaps he just got a bad batch; he's cooked them before without any issues. I suggested to him to up the temp a bit as well; any time I cook, I always aim for a temperature of 230 - 250 on pretty much everything but try and stay on the low side of that for briskets and butts.

I wish I could have attended the BBQ 101 class Saturday but couldn't make it. Our youngest daughter Candice is getting married this Thursday and we've been pretty busy getting everything ready ---- I'll post photos when the dust settles. We're serving up mini pulled pork sandwiches topped with T's applesauce sauce (chicken sandwiches are to posh); in fact I have 80 pounds vacuum sealed in the freezer ready to go. We've also got chocolate and cinnamon popcorn, brownies, and even a cotton candy machine; it's going to be a real celebration.

Thanks again to everyone, I'll be in touch soon.

Very sincerely,

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