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Thread: Lookin' for a little help...

  1. #1

    Lookin' for a little help...

    Beleive it or not, spring is almost here, and the BBQ is wiped down and ready to transform meat again!

    So here is what I hope to figure out. I am looking for a method or recipe to grill/smoke brisket, or beef ribs, or pork ribs. I know there are a lot of different ways to do this, and I know there are some pro/semi pro grill masters lurking around these parts. I am not looking for your prized recipe, just one that will be a knock out for some (hopefully) summer grilling.

    Thanks guys,


    Feel free to visit my website,

  2. #2
    Brisket and pork butt are easy, so long as you follow one simple rule. Cook it to at least 200* internal. The biggest mistake new brisket/pork butt cooks make is to undercook brisket and butt. 200* seems too high so folks tend to stop the cooking process too soon. The same is true for ribs. I don't have any idea what the internal temp of cooked ribs is because I use other methods to determine whether or not they are done. But they must be cooked long enough. Unlike most other meats it is better to over cook these meats than to undercook them. If you overcook them they will simply fall apart. Most folks tend to like their BBQ that way. If you undercook them you may as well eat your shoe!

    If you tell us what kind of cooker you'll be using I think we can get you making awesome Q in no time! I cook BBQ on indirect heat exclusively, but the smae principle applies no matter what cooker you use.

  3. #3
    Ribs and pork butt:

    I cook my ribs at 300* on indirect heat. I cook spares for 1.5 hours, then I foil and cook for another 1.5 to 2 hours. You know they are done when the meat slips up the bone exposing about .5 to 1 inch of the bone. When you foil you can add brown sugar and honey top the foil and this will create a glaze. In competition I use about 2 cups of brown sugar per rib, along with honey and some other stuff!)

    I cook brisket and butt at 300* as well. I usually coat with rub. Cook them to an internal temp of 170, then I foil them until they are 200* (I also go by feel. A thermometer probe should sink into the meat like it's butter. SOmetimes you need to go beyong 200* for this to happen). At that point I put them in a cooler and hold them for around 4 hours.

    As for rubs, a good pork rub is 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup seasoned salt, then 1 Tablespoon of whatever spice you like. I typically use garlic power, onion powder and cumin. You can also add curry powder or whatever else trips your trigger. However, I'd suggest keeping it simple. That extra secret spice often tastes horrible on BBQ

    For brisket, you can't go wrong with Lowrey's salt and pepper.

    If you want to do whole hog, let me know. That's my favorite - but it might be better to discuss that over the phone.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Denton, Tx
    What kinda grill/smoker setup do you have? How much of a background do you have in BBQ? I had a big long post typed out but then I started feeling like I may have been telling you stuff you already knew. To me BBQ is all about simplicity and not getting crazy with your recipes, more about technique and just knowing when things are done. I would much rather have a perfectly cooked brisket with nothing more than salt and pepper than one that is undercooked with all sorts of fancy ingredients.

    For brisket I like to trim the excess fat (but still leaving a 1/8"-1/4" fat cap). Season with salt and pepper (sometimes I add cayenne for heat and granulated garlic), cook indirect, around 225-275 until your probe slides through both the point and the flat with no resistance. At this point it's ready to pull, rest and slice.

    Same thing with ribs, if I don't do salt and pepper I use a homemade rub or use something like Plowboys Yardbird with a little bit of olive oil. Cook indirect, 225-275 and pull once the ribs start to crack a bit when you bend them.

    Pulled pork- I use a bone in butt, indirect, seasoned liberally with a homemade rub or Plowboys Yardbird, and once the internal temp gets to around 190 I start checking the bone. Once it pulls out without resistance it's ready to take off the pit, rest and shred/pull.

    This is a good tutorial for doing brisket. I do like to trim a little fat on the outside as not all of it will break down and render so you end up with a layer of fat that gets trimmed off. Not only does the presentation suffer when you do this (because the smoke ring won't penetrate that layer of fat) but you're removing the seasoning/bark that developed on the outside of the fat.

    EDIT: I kept getting distracted at work and this post took longer than it should have and Monty ended up giving you some great info.

  5. #5
    I have an electric smoker about the size of a bar fridge, digital temp control from 125* to 400*, and right now a broil king natural gas grill. I also use a charcoal grill/smoker combo. I make my own rubs, mostly trial and error, had a little help from Jim last summer on a pork rub. I also started doing my own sauce, molasas based, and use natural smoke a fair bit. A lot of the grilling getss done direct, for the quick supper things, but when I got time, I like to drag it out. With this side of BBQ, I am a rookie. Getting mixed results. Tasty yes, always fall apart tender, not always.

    Feel free to visit my website,

  6. #6
    If you are looking for fall off the bone BBQ, that's simple. Keep cooking past when you think it's done. Fall apart = overcooked. I don't mean overcooked in a negative sense. Most people prefer ribs and pork super tender, almost mushy. That comes from cooking it "too long." In comp BBQ we have to be careful to make sure that ribs, for example, do not fall off the bone. Instead we look for the meat to come off only where you take a bite. But that's comp BBQ. If you want your family and friends to be super impressed just leave the meat on the heat. At 300* indirect you won't char the meat so by overcooked I don't mean burnt. Here's a way to test for doneness. Use a pair of tongs and take a hold of the slab. When it bends down and starts to break apart, it's ready. If you want, keep cooking. Eventually the meat will simply fall off the bone. I'd try this first on your electric smoker. If you foil that will make the meat juicer. It will also cook faster if you wrap (no matter what kind of smoker you use). Loin back (baby back) ribs will cook faster than spares. Give it a try!!

  7. #7
    One other thing to keep in mind. Electric smokers tend to produce dryer meat because they lack the moisture that comes from cooking with wood. If you would like juicier meat in an electric smoker, consider cooking in foil longer. Just an idea. O.K., I'll stop now. Sorry if I'm rambling

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Randleman NC
    Monty keep on going I am picking up a ton of good info here for my food. Nothing like good beef and pork.

  9. #9
    Ramble away sir. I like my meat moist, mushy, maybe not so much. When I bite into ribs, I like to have to bite and have to pull slightly. I want to have the meat pull cleanly off the bone, and not chew it off!! I am planning a BBQ pit in the yard off the deck this summer, with a wood fired oven and prep station. Hopefully it comes together.

    Feel free to visit my website,

  10. #10
    Since nobody's tackled beef ribs here, I'll add my two cents on this topic.

    Beef ribs do not cook like pork ribs or loin back ribs. There's a lot more connective tissue in the meat, especially toward the bone. Also, the meat is not as supple and soft as pork. Therefore, beef ribs can take numerous hours to cook and require some additional help to get tender.

    First, I highly recommend taking off the membrane from the bone side of beef ribs. This membrane is much thicker than the membrane on pork ribs and, if it isn't taken off, it is extremely tough after it has cooked and makes it very difficult to bite through the meat.

    After taking the membrane off, you can add your choice of rub. I generally do not like rubs that include much sugar on beef, but that's just my preference. For flavoring, I like a very simple rub of salt, pepper, white pepper, a touch of cayenne, (maybe a touch of garlic and onion powders), and thyme. I generally like to apply the rub well in advance to penetrate the meat.

    For actual cooking, and this is one of the most important things I have learned over barbecuing ribs (pork ribs, back loin ribs, danish ribs, beef ribs), is knowing whether they are frozen or not, as this will have a huge difference in your final product and how you need to cook. Frozen products have less moisture. (There's a lot of literature as to how water in proteins,when frozen, creates ice crystals which are sharp and puncture cell walls leading to loss of moisture.) Beef ribs, at least in the U.S. are almost always frozen.

    Accordingly, I feel that wrapping after smoking is essential. I generally smoke beef with charcoal and oak. I think Texans really have this one down (most of the most well known barbecue places in Texas use Post Oak). I have had a lot of success going around 250 to 275 using indirect heat. Any higher, INMHO, and you'll risk burning the meat because you'll need to cook beef ribs for at least 5 hours. I start with the ribs straight from the refrigerator (to create as deep a smoke ring as possible), with the thickest side facing the fire. Also, heavy smoke, IMHO, can tend to make beef taste acrid; beef seems to be much more affected, versus pork, by a heavy smoke. I try to keep the smoke gentle and slow. This is also the reason why I don't exclusively use a strong wood, like hickory, to smoke beef. (Although a single hickory chunk does really help give a complex smoky flavor along with the oak.)

    I also do not check the temperature of beef ribs. They'll hit 200 but still not be tender. The key here is to melt away all that fat in the bones, which takes hours.

    When the rib bones feel like they're starting to pull away from each other, I then wrap the ribs in foil and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 hours. When they feel sufficiently tender (bones are now feeling a little loose), you can put the ribs back on the smoker to dry out the outside.

    If you want them more tender, keep cooking them. If you don't want to keep smoking them, you can transfer them to the oven for this portion and finish them inside, and also do the finishing cook in the oven as well.

    However, DON'T dump all that juice from the foil. Use a gravy separator to separate the fat from the juice, and add the juice to any barbecue sauce you're going to use, or use it as a finishing liquid on the ribs when you serve them. There's lots beefy, smoky goodness there. Taste the juice, adjust seasoning as needed, if using as a stand alone sauce.

    To serve, I usually cut the ribs, sprinkle some good salt (kosher or Maldon), and leave the sauce or juice on the side.

    If I get to cooking beef ribs anytime soon, I'll put up pictures.

    Man, I love talking about barbecue. It makes me want to cook today!
    "Don't you know who he is?"

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