Baby Back Ribs without foil?

Started by Max, June 21, 2010, 06:03:51 PM

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I've used the 3-2-1 method a couple of times now for both baby backs and spare ribs. The results have been good and I don't see anything wrong with cookin ribs this way. But I thought I remembered reading some posts a while back about smoking ribs "naked", you know without the foil. I want to hear if any of you smoke your ribs in the bradley without foil. Seems to me it stays pretty moist in there. I mean you could consider the Bradley a big steam box if you had a pan of liquid in there, right? Sure, it might take a little longer to cook that way but considering I've had butts and briskets in there for 20+ hours and they come out moist as can be. So I'd thing ribs could live in there without foil for 5 - 7 hours, no?

I'd love to hear from anyone who has some experience doin ribs without foil in the bradley. Thanks.


Iceman has a great write up in the recipe site where he doesn't foil them.

Look for "Competition Ribs"

He does use a spritz bottle.

I've done them this way with apple juice and EVOO as a spritz.

But everytime (unless you have dual elements) you open the door for spritzing

you are adding 30 minutes to the cooking time.


I usually do them with a mustard coating and rub.  Sometimes I'll sprits if need be.


Funny you should post this, I've used the foil the 3 times I've done ribs and they were great. But, I did get a braised taste, slight as it was I could taste it. I'm doing some St Louis ribs tomorrow and I had decided on leaving them in for 5-7 hrs or untill tender finishing them with BBQ sauce on my grill until the sauce was set real well (low heat) and then FTC for an hour. Don't know if it'll make a dfference but what the heck any reason to smoke is a good reason.


Take a peek at this Max.

And here is where I did some with that method.

The rub was a little too sweet for me, but the idea of no foil worked.

EZ Smoker

I never foil my ribs.  I always leave them uncovered in my OBS.   They are always very moist.   It takes 6 hours or so when I cook spareribs.   The baby back ribs take just about as long, maybe just a bit less time.    The link below is a thread wherein I showed pics of my spareribs, and I think one of the pics is clear enough to show the moisture.   I use Grub Rub and don't even sauce the ribs on the smoker.  (I have sauce on the table when I eat them though.)
It may seem like I'm rubbing salt in the wound, but the truth is I'm trying to cure it.


I've done 3-2-1 and it works.  I've also done no foil and it works.

I am an expert competition cooker - I watch it on TV  ;D  I've never seen any foil in there.
-- Arnie

Where there's smoke, there's food.


I confess, I cannot say I have never used foil on ribs.  Never in the DBS, never in a stickburner, but once on the Traeger.  First BBR's ribs on the Traeger.  They were very meaty, and halfway I did not think they were going to be done in time - and I had a meeting, so upped the temp, but got scared and put some foil on them - not sealed.  Won't do it again.  Tasted ok, but bark was mushy on top and non existant on the bottom.  Reminded me of shiny restaurant ribs.  I do sauce my office ribs at times - my coworkers seem to like them that way - they are Middle Tennesseans after all!  All the other times I do ribs, dry rub and with a mop most often.  Sometimes in DBS, I won't mop.  4 to 5 hours for BBR's depending on how meaty they are and whether I mop or not. 
"A man that won't sleep with his meat don't care about his barbecue" Caneyscud

"If we're not supposed to eat animals, how come they're made out of meat?"


I have never used foil on ribs. If I add sauce during the cook I will transfer to the grill to take some of the moisture out of the sauce and to lightly sear. I spritz when needed in the smoker.
Life is short. Smile while you still have teeth.

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As you see, I am a noob, but have run 6 sets of baby backs through my OBS - 5 without foil, and 1 via 3-2-1.  I both spritzed and not with apple juice.  FTC for at least 1 hour following cooking, sometimes 3, depending on when dinner was.

Each of the non-foil runs were somewhat dry for my taste (although company never complained, and there were never left-overs), and the foiled set was much moister and came cleanly off the bone.  I plan to keep with the 3-2-1 method, for whatever its worth...


Ok, looks like not using foil is just as common as 3-2-1 method. I think I'll give it a try this time around.

oakville smoker

Here is my two cents worth
I have had my DBS since last June
I can almost guarantee that every weekend there has been baby backs in the DBS
I used to foil
Then one day I let them go the whole way:  no foil, no spritz, no nothing
I have been cooking them that way aever since
We love it
All I wanted to do was slow smoke some ribs.  Another addiction created thanks to the Bradley that requires regular servicing...  But what an addiction to have.  Even better to share here with some of the best people on the planet.

Would you like smoke with that sir ?


I don't use foil either. 
I only smoke spare ribs, and I set the temp to 230. 
I cut the slab in 1/2 to fit better.  I'll take the small end out first since its thinner and gets done quicker.  They're done when they are tender and the meat pulls back from the rib tips.  And if the Thermopen says 190ish in the thick part above the ribs, They're done too.
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While foiling is a pain, I agree that they come off the bone much cleaner than if not foiled. When they're wrapped in foil they're being "steamed" which helps break down the connective tissues while keeping them moist. I also think a large part of the quality of the finished product depends on the quality of the ribs themselves.  When I buy the 3 rack pack from Sam's, I always try to find the largest package with the most marbling. The larger racks are more forgiving than the skimpy racks.
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