Smoking: Pork Ribs
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The One
Posts: 11005
Joined: 30 Jan 2004, 16:44
Location: Plano, TX

Smoking: Pork Ribs

by Neo » 09 Oct 2023, 10:38

Yesterday, I attempted to smoke my first set of Pork Ribs. I followed a YouTube video for an electric smoker, and learned some lessons along the way (again).

My Meat
My Prep
  • Remove the ribs from the plastic, and place on a cookie sheet.
  • Pat down with paper towels to remove the juices.
  • Score the membrane in a crosshatch pattern on the bone-side.
  • Spread yellow mustard binder, one side at a time.
  • Add the rub and pat down to cover.
  • Place in the fridge, covered in foil overnight, or at least 1 hour.
The Rub
  • 1/4 c. Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Cayanne Pepper (makes it spicy, remove it unwanted)
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Salt (I used Powder/Granules)
  • 1 T Salt
  • 1 T Pepper
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
My Prep Changes for Next Time
  • Cover the cookie sheet in plastic wrap instead of foil.
  • Do not use Cayanne Pepper.
  • Maybe use a premade rub for a change.
  • Try to peel off the membrane. It was not unpleasant, but it was not something I've had on there before.
The Guide: Smoking

My Steps: Smoking
  • Preheat smoker to 230 F
  • Cook 3 hours at 230 F (meat side up)
  • Every 20m...
    • add more wood, if needed
    • spray with cider/juice mix
  • Cook 1 hour at 275 F (to get the meat to shrink up)
  • Every 20m...
    • add more wood, if needed
    • spray with cider/juice mix
  • Remove from smoker, wrap in butcher paper with pads of butter on the bone-side, put back in smoker.
  • Cook 40m at 275, bone-side up, then...check temperature to 206 F.
  • Every 20m...
    • add more wood, if needed.
  • If Needed: Add more wood and continue cooking in 20m increments until 206 F.
  • When ready, let rest shortly, and eat.
My Smoking Changes for Next Time
  • Use a water pan. Without one, a good bark formed, but the ends and meat portions dried out since there is not much fat in ribs.
  • Try wrapping in foil instead of butcher paper, as the paper was not wide enough to cover the ends.
  • Alternatively, wrap in paper both long and short ways to make sure nothing is exposed to the smoker air.
  • Consider cutting the ribs in half so they do not have to fit diagonally on the smoker rack.
  • Make more judicious use of the wood chips. Sometimes you overfilled it, and sometimes underfilled it.
  • If no water pan, always spray/douse on the 20m mark, and always add more wood to keep it smoking.
The Results
When eating them (I ate the whole rack), some things were apparent:
  • The meat portions tended to get dried out on the large and small bone side.
  • The big bone side, the meat was fall-off-the-bone.
  • The middle section the meat was tender and juicy, not as free from the bone, but still good
  • The small bone side, the meat was dry, and still stuck to the bone, but not difficult to peel from it.

Pork Ribs at the 3-hour mark. Still smoking, and about to turn the temperature up to 275 F.

Ribs after completion, looking good.

Cross-cut in the middle.
"Because I choose to."

User avatar
The One
Posts: 11005
Joined: 30 Jan 2004, 16:44
Location: Plano, TX

Re: Smoking: Pork Ribs

by Neo » 30 Nov 2023, 09:09

I tried this again on Nov 11. Just now getting around to posting.

Prep Update
  • I did not prep them over night, I did it the morning of, for about an hour before it was time to put them in
  • I made the same rub, minus the Cayenne Pepper and Chili Powder.
  • I used plastic wrap, and that helped keep some of the smell down. I still had to buy some baking soda for the fridge.
  • I did not peel the membrane, I scored it, and it really isn't a noticeable part of the food (unless it already comes de-membraned, idk).
My Prep Changes for Next Time
  • Start prepping them no sooner than 7 hours before cooking. Let them rest until 5 hours before eating. (~5hr cook time)
  • Start the pre-heat 15m before cooking starts.
  • Find a new rub or use the one we use for the oven ribs (Dijon mustard)
Cooking Update
  • I used my new thermometer probe, nitrile gloves and spray bottle filled with half-half apple juice/vinegar.
  • I used a water pan, and that helped keep the meat evenly cooked and prevented drying out.
  • I used foil instead of paper, and combined with the water pan, it worked well, mainly to help prevent butter loss, but it also ruined the bark.
  • I did not cut the ribs in half.
  • I made sure to refresh the wood chips every 20 min, and always doused the ribs when unwrapped.
  • I kept a fan by the back door to blow the smoke back out of the house.
My Cooking Changes for Next Time
  • Keep the vent open for less moisture, higher heat. Probably put it half-open. There is less smoke when closed, but the wood doesn't burn as well.
  • Move the smoker to the edge of the deck (use the new umbrella if needed) to reduce smoke in the house. Also continue using the fan at the door.
  • Try to use butcher paper instead of foil to achieve the fall-off-the-bone tenderness. (not sure if it's a function of the wrapper or the cook time)

The brown sugar really crisped up as the bark gave it a nice sweetness.

I almost forgot to take photos and was about to start eating. Nothing was falling off the bone, but it wasn't fighting to stay on it either.
  • The water pan and foil combo helped keep in the moisture, but it killed the hard bark
  • The rub was really good and sweet, but it felt like it was missing something.
  • I overfilled the wood because the vent was closed most of the cook time.
  • The probe worked well to tell me when it was done, but also showed a 20 degree drop after I put it into the foil that it had to recover from.
  • They were done cooking by 4:00 because they started at 11:30 or so.
  • The meat was not fall-off-the-bone tender anywhere. But it was still decent.
"Because I choose to."

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