SmokeFire Baby Back Cook Style

Senior_Smoke

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Anyone notice the peculiar rib outcomes on the SmokeFire? When I say this, I'm pleased with the results but it's different than I have ever notice on any other techniques. To preface, I usually cook on a Weber Smokey mountain, but have had many a samplings off friends Traegers. A couple of things I noticed on the few cooks of baby backs that I have done:

They seem to have a bark - never notice much of this on ribs before, but I've noticed a bit of a crisp on the outer layer with a tender inside (I do sauce for the last 30 minutes)

The meat doesn't pull back from the bone very much - This was a big measure of doneness on the WSM.

The meat doesn't fall apart - On the WSM I could pull the bone clean from the meat if I cooked too long. It would also have a tendency to break apart the rack if I pick it up. Not so much on the smoke fire. It'll fall apart when I cut it (if cooked too long), but I can handle them without breaking (possibly the bark?).

… anyone else notice these peculiarities? Any particular doneness test when the meat doesn't pull back from the bone or get brittle?
 

MojoBones

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Interesting, I have not noticed that myself. I am currently of the belief, and I could be totally wrong here, that attributes like: bark development, chew factor, or the fall off the bone state are controlled by the cooking process you follow. Different processes yield different results but I have always had rib meat pull back on the bone to one degree or another. I often do use a instant read thermometer (thermapen) to detect doneness (mostly because I am paranoid about temps). What process have you been using and are you wrapping or not? If wrapping, what with, butcher paper or foil?
 
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Senior_Smoke

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Thanks for the reply. No wrapping - cook at 250 for 4 hours, brush with sauce for 30.

I think I'll try temp probing and see what happens. I may move them around the smoker more to see if different areas have different results. But like I say, I do like the crispy outer layer - almost like a chicken wing. Perhaps I'll not worry and just 'smoke on'.
 

rwhapham

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Thanks for the reply. No wrapping - cook at 250 for 4 hours, brush with sauce for 30.

I think I'll try temp probing and see what happens. I may move them around the smoker more to see if different areas have different results. But like I say, I do like the crispy outer layer - almost like a chicken wing. Perhaps I'll not worry and just 'smoke on'.
At 250F, and without wrapping, 4 1/2 hours seems short to me to wind up with a fall-off-the-bone cook. But that also depends on the cut. Pork baby backs are smaller and less meaty than port spare ribs, which will take longer. It gets said a lot, though...it's BBQ, so it's done when it's done. And with ribs, what you call "done" is your own personal preference. Shorter cook = more "bite". Longer cook = more clean bones.
 

JpsBBQ

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It’s likely just the fat content or Lack there of in the baby backs. They are significantly leaner than spares and vary tremendously from rack to rack. You are probably in the low side of time in the smoker if they are in fact lean. Lean meat cooks slower. A wagyu brisket cooks much faster than a choice. I know it’s all about feel, but 203 is the magic temp for me usually. The bark is likely due to the heavy airflow in the Smokefire. It’s closer to an offset. Pellet cookers have significant airflow and will dry out your protein if not careful. The Traeger timberlines have a bit less airflow than the SF and not as heavy smoke. Enjoy the ride.
 
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Senior_Smoke

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All good points. I appreciate the input.

I think I also need to find a better meat source - or prepare to trim more. My ribs from Costco last weekend were thick on one end and thin on the other. This led to the thin end being over cooked and the thick end being lesser doneness than I like. The middle were great though - Ha.
 

JpsBBQ

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Our local Kroger sell fabulous loin back ribs. They leave a good amount of loin meat on the top of the rack which makes for a meaty bite. Not sure where you are located, but if available check them out. They are quite a bit more than the Costco unless you catch them on sale. Not so bad on sale. Same goes for Boston butts. Hard to beat the day to day value of Costco or Sam’s club for this stuff. You do have to look things over pretty good which can be difficult when 2-3 racks are Packaged together. Hey, the journey is half the fun. I just figure I have to cook more til I’m satisfied. All good, right?
 
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Senior_Smoke

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Our local Kroger sell fabulous loin back ribs. They leave a good amount of loin meat on the top of the rack which makes for a meaty bite. Not sure where you are located, but if available check them out. They are quite a bit more than the Costco unless you catch them on sale. Not so bad on sale. Same goes for Boston butts. Hard to beat the day to day value of Costco or Sam’s club for this stuff. You do have to look things over pretty good which can be difficult when 2-3 racks are Packaged together. Hey, the journey is half the fun. I just figure I have to cook more til I’m satisfied. All good, right?
Absolutely. Going to do another rack this weekend.... just to tweak the process a bit more ;-)
 

MojoBones

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Thanks for the reply. No wrapping - cook at 250 for 4 hours, brush with sauce for 30.

I think I'll try temp probing and see what happens. I may move them around the smoker more to see if different areas have different results. But like I say, I do like the crispy outer layer - almost like a chicken wing. Perhaps I'll not worry and just 'smoke on'.

That sounds good to me too, for sure. On the SF, I have been wrapping the second half of the cook so far but a long slow bare on the grates cook maybe using a light mop every 20 mins or so after the first 2 hours with a drink (or 3) in hand and finishing up with a quick sauce / caramelizing char very much appeals to me. Putting that on my to-do list this spring! (y):cool:
 

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