Baby Back failures

EverettSmoke

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I have tried multiple times to cook babybacks with no success. I've gone with just a rub, rub with sauce (no foil). Same deal as above with foil and peach paper. Each time the outside comes out tough. It's dried out tough with our sauce.

Hears the thing. I have the 780 and in my opinion it does not produce enough smoke so I use a smoke tube.

I have tried staying the ribs with cider which I think made it tougher.

Any thoughts? I appreciate it.
 

Murphy's Law

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What are your temps and times?

I usually do St Louis (on my 780) and start at 225 for the first three hours. I’ll spritz with a mixture of cider vinegar and water about every 45 mins or so.

I’ll wrap in foil after about 3 hours. When I wrap I’ll add a little of the mixture, some butter and brown sugar and put them “meat side” down.

Temp goes up to 275 and it takes about 2 hours or so until I unwrap, add sauce, and cook until it’s set. This is kinda the 3-2-1 except I am pretty loose with my times.

I don’t use a smoke tube.
 

MidwestSmoker

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I do it similar to @Murphy's Law, also generally with St. Louis cut spare ribs on my Pro 575. I start a little lower at 200-210 with smoke tubes and finish at around 250. I start spritzing with apple cider vinegar after about 2 hours. I wrap it at around 4 hours, the time decided by how it looks and feels: all fat rendered and some bark developed. This usually happens when the internal temp is about 170 degrees.

I also use butcher paper, but use pork lard when wrapping. After wrapping the cook proceeds very quickly and it is usually done in about an hour. I do not sauce my ribs, as I prefer it without the sauce but serve it on the side for others. After the ribs reach 203 degrees I pull and wrap it in foil over the butcher paper and then into the cooler it goes for at least 2 hours.
 

Murphy's Law

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Ribs are one of the few things I don’t take an IT temp. All look and feel for them. Agree completely on doing things how they look and feel.

I’m making baby backs tomorrow for the first time in a while and plan on using the same process.

Will list back how they went!
 
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EverettSmoke

EverettSmoke

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What are your temps and times?

I usually do St Louis (on my 780) and start at 225 for the first three hours. I’ll spritz with a mixture of cider vinegar and water about every 45 mins or so.

I’ll wrap in foil after about 3 hours. When I wrap I’ll add a little of the mixture, some butter and brown sugar and put them “meat side” down.

Temp goes up to 275 and it takes about 2 hours or so until I unwrap, add sauce, and cook until it’s set. This is kinda the 3-2-1 except I am pretty loose with my times.

I don’t use a smoke tube.
I shoot for 200 degrees for 3-5 hrs. Or I start at 180 for an hour, then wrap and increase the temp to 225-250 until done.
 
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EverettSmoke

EverettSmoke

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Ribs are one of the few things I don’t take an IT temp. All look and feel for them. Agree completely on doing things how they look and feel.

I’m making baby backs tomorrow for the first time in a while and plan on using the same process.

Will list back how they went!
Sweet!
 

Murphy's Law

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I shoot for 200 degrees for 3-5 hrs. Or I start at 180 for an hour, then wrap and increase the temp to 225-250 until done.
I’m not sure they’ll be done at 200 for even 5 hours. You’re using a smoke tube so you shouldn’t be to concerned about cooking low to get the smoke from the grill.

Maybe try bumping up a bit and then wrapping and bumping a bit more.

And don’t wrap after an hour. Keep them naked for a few hours to get the smoke, rendering and bark.

Another question: how are you determining pit temp? Are you using the Traeger ambient probe as your only source or do you use an external temperature probe?

If you’re relying on Traeger probe I’d guarantee that your under cooking. Traeger probes are crap and not reliable. Plenty of threads here about temp measurements.

But the best advice I can give is to get input from better cooks than me! I’m sure others will have great advice!
 
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EverettSmoke

EverettSmoke

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I can cook babybacks in my oven in those time frames with consistent heat..
So, Yes. Those cook times I stated are probably off be several hours based on the traeger internal thermometer. I have slowly discovering how off they are. I have been hesitant to be a thermapro external but Iay have too.

I learned on a wood fired offset smoker. The biggest drawback with those is the lack of consistency on temps or over smoke. I got pretty good though. Enough daydreaming...

I have been trying to enjoy this outdoor oven but it's hard sometimes. It cost money to make unsatisfying food.

I'll keep trying you the advice given hear today. Thanks.
 

Timmy

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I also have a 780. I start my baby backs at around 200f for 3 hours. Then wrap them in foil and add apple juice ( or what ever you have on hand). Make sure the foil is tight. Now I cook the next 1.5 to 2 hours meat side UP. When I unwrap them, most of the time they want to fall apart. Put back on the grill sauce and let it firm up For half to 1 hour. Sometime at the wrap I turn the grill to 220 to 230f but not always. I never temp my ribs either. Sometimes I’ll stick a probe in them if I post here, just so ppl can check them out.
907942A1-C018-484B-8197-428929426D27.jpeg
 

RayClem

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For me, the key to cooking ribs is to make sure they reach your final desired temperature before unwrapping them (if you decide to use wrap). The first time I did them, I cooked wrapped for 2 hours and then unwrapped. The internal temperature had only reached 185F before unwrapping. When I removed the wrapping, the internal temperature dropped and I never got it back above 185F. The ribs were not as tender as I hoped.

Now I leave the ribs wrapped until the internal temp reaches 200-205 F before unwrapping. That makes them fall off the bone which is how my wife likes them. If you do not want them that tender, you can unwrap somewhere between 190-200 F. I understand that in competition, they get points deducted for "fall off the bone" ribs, but in my household, I get bonus points.

Once you wrap the ribs, you can increase the temperature as the wrapping (especially if you use foil) will prevent any more penetration of smoke. The cook will proceed more quickly at a higher grill temp.

I have not done a lot of ribs, so I am not adept at evaluating tenderness by feel. Guys that have been at this a while no longer need to use a thermometer to tell when the ribs are "just right."
 

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I can cook babybacks in my oven in those time frames with consistent heat..
So, Yes. Those cook times I stated are probably off be several hours based on the traeger internal thermometer. I have slowly discovering how off they are. I have been hesitant to be a thermapro external but Iay have too.

I learned on a wood fired offset smoker. The biggest drawback with those is the lack of consistency on temps or over smoke. I got pretty good though. Enough daydreaming...

I have been trying to enjoy this outdoor oven but it's hard sometimes. It cost money to make unsatisfying food.

I'll keep trying you the advice given hear today. Thanks.

Okay, for me, you stated cooking temps that are way too low for those first 3 hours. And as you also stated, these temps may be even LOWER since you are only trust the built in RTD that can be off by up to 25°

Timmy get away with his 200° because he is positive his pit temp is actually 200°.
Most everyone here that replied is POSITIVE about their pit temp with 3rd party probes.
The first thing to learn about Traeger is don't rely on it for anything but heat, no RTD and no meat probe, these should be "addons"

If you ask me your ribs are being under cooked because it is virtually impossible to not have "fall off the bone" by leaving them in the foil longer so I say yours went in the foil undercooked.
I used to cook on an offset for 15 years or more, I never got my fires down as low as 200, in fact I was almost always at 250° for the whole cook. Probably bouncing from 250 - 300 at times. I never had tough ribs.

I might do some BBs today also, gotta get off my butt and go to Sams
 

DoyleS

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I cook a lot of ribs both Baby Back and St Louis style. modified 321. I don't use a smoke tube so first hour is seasoned with rub and smoke at 180. Then take temp up to 225 for additional 2 hours. Take them off and double wrap with foil. Brown sugar and honey and on the meat side. Meat side up since essentially you are braising at this point. Apple juice in the foil. 2 more hours at 225. Open the foil and see how they bend. Surface is always moist because of the braising. We are sauce people so I then turn the Traeger up to 325, take the ribs inside and cut them apart individually and sauce (sweet baby Rays) them heavily. Back to the heated grill just to caramelize. I used to use my BBQ for this last step but found I often got too much bark which we don't care for. The Traeger at 325 is more like indirect cooking so less chance of burn and yet nicely sauced, hot and juicy.
 

Roddyboy

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I have tried multiple times to cook babybacks with no success. I've gone with just a rub, rub with sauce (no foil). Same deal as above with foil and peach paper. Each time the outside comes out tough. It's dried out tough with our sauce.

Hears the thing. I have the 780 and in my opinion it does not produce enough smoke so I use a smoke tube.

I have tried staying the ribs with cider which I think made it tougher.

Any thoughts? I appreciate it.
People go crazy trying cook something as simple as ribs... Just rub in your spices as usual, or whatever you want to spice up the ribs, put ribs on rib rack, use a smoke tube if you prefer, set at 225 - 250 and let Traeger do the rest! Leave it for 2-3+ hours and it's done. That simple! I don't use smoke tube on my 575 and I get all the bbq taste I need. Any other way, just get a true smoker or it sounds like you ought to be using the oven..
 

Houseboater

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I tried quite a few methods with differing rubs and sauces but now seem to have settled on just Salt and Pepper. The list below is for St. Louis ribs but can be easily adjusted for baby backs:

1 smoke tube with cherry wood chips or pellets
Cherry Pellets for the cook
4 Hours at 225, Spritz if needed after 3 hours with Apple Cider vinegar / water mix
45 min at 275
30-40 min Wrapped meat side down with Beef Tallow at 225 (both foil and butcher paper seem to work fine)
20 minutes unwrapped meat side up at 225

I highly recommend giving the salt and pepper ribs a try if you haven't already. Sauce available after the cook but worth a shot for a change of pace

Ribs.jpg
 

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