Dry Pork Back Ribs

I’ve been cooking pork back ribs at 165F for 12 hours. Because a rack is too long to fit in one bag, I cut it in half and use two bags. In any rack of ribs one end is thin with lots of fat and the other end is thick but with less fat. I finish them for 5 mins on a hot BBQ with loads of BBQ sauce. Invariably the thinner end is juicy, tender and fall off the bone soft. The thicker end is alway dry. I’m wondering if the 165F is drying the meat out and if I would have better results with the thicker end if I used the alternative 145F for 36 hour method? Has any one experienced dry ribs and maybe experimented to compare methods?

Hi Blues, when you use the term BBQ, is that a gas or charcoal grill, or a smoker?

When there’s a significant variation in doneness the cause often lies in the finishing step. Five minutes over an extremely hot fire might be too much for already-cooked meat. Complicating the matter is uneven heating areas on some gas grills. You might be letting the saucing distract you from what’s going on below.

This cook avoids SV cooking at temperatures in excess of 145F to preserve moisture in meat.

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It’s a gas grill, and not a cheap one at $2500. Before SV I used to wrap my ribs in foil and bake them in the oven at a low temp for a couple of hours, then BBQ them the same way. They never turned out dry then. I doubt that it’s the heat from the grill. The thinner end turns out great, just the thick end is dry. I suspect it’s the heat from the SV for such an extended time, that’s why I asked if anyone has compared the two methods . . . 165F vs 145F. I’d like to try the 145F next time but 36 hours is a long time.

Hi Blues, everyone likes what they like.

This cook likes ribs with a bit of toothsomeness to them where the local folks here like them almost mushy, so they boil or steam them and finish on the grill.

i keep moving ribs on the grill to keep the heat being applied fairly even.

Yep, I always do the 145F at 36 - then sauce and either grill or bake at about 400F for about 45-60 minutes (I’m looking to caramelize my sauce, so it turns almost black). Love that delicious stickiness on my ribs. :slight_smile:

I’m a fan of the Bullseye BBQ sauce with Guinness. :slight_smile:

For longer cooks, having a vessel with a lid saves you having to top up the water as they minimize / eliminate evaporation. There’s a number of threads on here about how you can select / build the best vessel for your tastes (use the search bar up top).

Thanks for that fischersd. Do you find any difference in dryness between the thicker end and the thinner end? Does either end dry out after an hour in the oven? Have you compared your ribs with some cooked at 165?

I also use the Bullseye BBQ sauce and as I’m eating my ribs I pour more on!

I use the Anova container with the lid so I have no evaporation issues. I’ve done 30 hr cooks and never had to add water.

There’s no reason why you have to stick with 145 or 165 because anova recipe says so (they tend to be basic and not very well reviewed in general).

Try experimenting. Ive settled down on 20-24 hours @ 155, finish them in the oven for 45-60 minutes at 300f depending on if it’s straight from the bag or from the fridge. I use the juices from the bag to baste 2-3 times.

That’s interesting. I gather you don’t use BBQ sauce then? But of course you could if you wanted to.

I don’t follow Anova’s recipes necessarily. I look at them, and look on line, especially chefsteps.com, and also here in the forums. I decide what to follow after reading feedback.

You didn’t comment on any differences between how the thick end turns out vs the thinner end. Any difference?

I have a thick end in the bath now at 145F (36 hrs), it’s done in 30 mins. I experiment fine but it’s hard when the boss says to go back to the old way and the next experiment will take another 30 or 36 hrs. Some things I have to cook one way for me and the old way for her which can make it difficult.

I have noticed that the narrower end can dry out in the finishing step - that’s solely as it’s smaller, the higher heat can penetrate more and tend to dry it out a bit (but, it’s not a lot of meat) shrug :slight_smile:

I’ve been using the 145F @ 36 for years. The only “gotcha” is that I want to experiment (there’s lots of docs out there) with using my actual smoker and Sous Vide. I’ll definitely be doing a journal…maybe I’ll use a half-rack for each experiment. :slight_smile:

Moving to a larger apartment soon - so I’ll be picking up a chest freezer again (only having an apartment fridge freezer doesn’t leave you a lot of options for taking advantage of meat sales). Once I do, I can start experimenting more. (Plus, there’s a CostCo around the corner…may be time to re-establish a relationship with them) :slight_smile: