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Tough Baby Backs - Pegleg - 05-09-2011 03:41 PM

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!!


RE: Tough Baby Backs - mrcourtneyw - 05-09-2011 04:43 PM

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.

RE: Tough Baby Backs - bud-wie-ser - 05-09-2011 06:47 PM

(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.


RE: Tough Baby Backs - Larry Jacobs - 05-09-2011 09:29 PM

Also, if he was going by the lid temp gauge, 220 at the top of the lid is more like 180 at the grill.

RE: Tough Baby Backs - SoEzzy - 05-10-2011 10:03 AM

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!

RE: Tough Baby Backs - Pegleg - 05-10-2011 02:04 PM

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,