Pork Ribs are too Dry

Started by eon, November 09, 2008, 03:41:41 PM

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I am new to smoking and have tried a couple of times to smoke Ribs and have found that the finished product does not come away from the bone very easy and is a little dry.

I am using a 4 rack BDS and do not yet have a smoker thermometer (although should have one soon)

The first time, I tried a Bradley Recipe - 1 hour in the oven then around 3 in the smoker with hickory pucks. Had the BDS set at 220F. Tried the recipe's  bbq sauce on half the rack and also just salt and pepper on the other half. Ribs tasted great but required a very firm tug to get them off the bone and were a little dry.

I did some reading on the forum and changed a few things on the second attempt. This time I did two racks of Ribs and again cut each rack in half so I could experiment a little. I left the BDS temperature at 220F, but this time did not go for the hour in oven first (incase that was the problem). I also removed the membrane from the ribs, spritzed them with apple juice after the first 2 hours (every 45 mins or so) and tried wrapping some of the ribs in foil after I had finished the initial 3 hour smoke.

The ribs that had not been foil wrapped came out after 3-4 hours and were still slightly dry and a little tough. The foil wrapped ribs staayed in a little longer. I took out one of the foil coated racks an extra hour later and they were better but still a little tough, so I left the last of the batch in for another hour or 2 and they came out a little more tender, but still not perfect.

Can anyone give me a few pointers as to where I need to be heading with this to get an improvement, eg. is it the BDS temperature, the amount of vent opening (I was using 1/2 open), the smoking or cooking time, the foil, the spritzing or a mixture of all of these?

The BDS is showing good temperature readings throughout and recovers fine when I open the door, etc.

(Also, FYI, I read about the FTC method on the forums but can't try this yet as I don't currently have a cooler I can use)

Any advice would be much appreciated...
We're going to need a bigger boat...



Welcome to the forum eon

Sorry to hear your ribs were kinda dry.

Here is a link  that you might try. From our forum member iceman  ;D

The results turn out great. I smoked 3 racks ike this on friday.



welcome to the forum Eon.

as for me i smoke with the vent 1/2 open then close it to 1/4 or  so and add in the bottom of the smoker a bread pan 1/2 full of orange soda,,, you  can use what your  favorite is and cook at a  lower temp.. i useally  cook at  200 to 205 useally.

i just did some ribs on friday and turned out wonderfull.


read through the whole link and you will see my ribs from start to a finished product much like nepas

Eon an easy way to tell if your ribs are done or close to being  done is if the meat is pulling away  from the bone..and after a few more smokes you  caan tell  just by looking ... just  be pacient and you  will get there .. there  are a lot of knoweldge people here and getting a remote therometer is a  great  idea...


Welcome Eon,

You could try the 3-1-1 method. Which is simply 220-225* smoke three hours, wrap in foil with a splash of apple juice for an hour, then back on the rack for an hour sauced for the last 1/2 hour. Have done this many time and the ribs always turn out great. Watch when you take them out of the foil they will almost fall apart at that point. They will firm up a little during the last hour. Hope it helps. The Apple juice in the foil will also help a lot with your ribs being dry.
Bacon is the Crack Cocaine of the Food World.

Be careful about calling yourself and EXPERT! An ex is a has-been, and a spurt is a drip under pressure!

Habanero Smoker

Welcome to the forum.

You don't need a cooler to FTC. If you don't have a cooler you can use your microwave oven. Just preheat your micro wave. To preheat a microwave oven, get a microwave proof measuring cup, or some other tall cylinder container. Half fill it with water and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Move the container to the rear of the oven (careful it will be hot), and place your foiled meat (not towel) inside the microwave. You can also use a preheated oven (no water necessary).



W E L C O M E  to the Forum eon!

I use a smoke then braise in the oven method. Check out these threads:


Click on the Ribs for Our Time tested and Proven Recipes!

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Welcome aboard eon.  Nothing I can add to your questions.  These guys have definitely hooked you up.  When I started smoking ribs, I ran into the same trouble with them being a little dry and chewy and these same guys pointed me in the right direction.  I smoke mine in the BDS and then move them to my house oven for the next 4 hours or so simply because I feel I can control the heat better.

Try their suggestions and let us know the results.  As the Beefmann said, it just takes patience and a few tries to get the hang of it.  Have fun, even the less than perfect tries still are good tasting!



Thanks for the suggestions links and pics...very usefull (although making me feel kinda hungry right now).

Looks like I may need to buy a new oven for the house, which should cheer my wife up a bit  (as our current one is a bit unreliable to say the least).

She thinks that I am going a bit mad at the moment, as I have taken over my dog's kennel and used it to put my smoker in !!!  ;)
We're going to need a bigger boat...


love the smoke

From what I read here the longest time you left the ribs in is around 6 hours My ribs are always in at least 8-10 hours and are never tough i followed the recipe from Iceman http://www.susanminor.org/forums/showthread.php?t=449  to the letter the first time and it turned out perfect now I just tweek the rub alittle here and there but still follow his directions and they always turn out great ( Thanks ICE)


Habanero Smoker


Are you smoking/cooking spare ribs. I generally find that it takes 8 plus hours for spare ribs, and a lot less time for baby backs.


love the smoke

My Bad  :-[ :-[
I looked back through my smoker notes and yes that was a bach of Spare ribs that I did that long  my baby back ribs go around 6-8 hrs at 220 sorry :-[ :-[



Sorry if this is another dumb question, but what is the difference between baby back and spare ribs? ???

I understand baby back are smaller, but are they different cuts or from the same rack..  or is it from different types of pork..?

We don't use the terms very much in the UK.
We're going to need a bigger boat...



you pretty  much have  it.. baby back ribs are smaller and full ribs are larger.. other then that im not sure

Mr Walleye


Spare ribs are side ribs. Back ribs are exactly that, from the back of the animal.
Here is a fairly good writeup on ribs.



Here is another one


Click On The Smoker For Our Time Tested And Proven Recipes


Thanks Mike (and all) ,

The web site with the diagrams, etc. really helped explain...

We're going to need a bigger boat...