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Tested 4 techniques for cooking ribs....the results are in
Old 08-09-2008, 08:31 PM   #1
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Tested 4 techniques for cooking ribs....the results are in

I set up a little taste-testing at my house today....family was over and I figured I'd have some fun with ribs. I'm always fiddling with this or that...and havent determined the best way for US to cook ribs (9 hrs on the grill/smoker is not an option. its the BEST way, but not for US).

1) Boil for 45 minutes, throw on the grille for 30 min on high, bbq towards the end

2) 1" of seasoned water on bottom of crockpot, cook on low for 3.5 hrs, throw on grill 30 mins on high,bbq at the end

3)no liquid on bottom of shallow baking pan, cover with foil, 230 degrees for 4 hrs, then onto the grill for 30 min on high, bbq at the end

4) 'braise' them in their own foil packets with a bit of liquid and spice, in oven for 3.5 hrs, then onto the grill for 30 on high,bbq at the end


The winner by unanimous decision....CROCK POT!!! All ribs were the same(baby back), seasoned with the same rub, served with the same sauce etc.


Just thought I'd share...I'm glad it's the easiest recipe! The key here is not OVER doing the crockpot...last time I tried 5-6 hrs and they were too tender....needed a fork!
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Old 08-09-2008, 11:02 PM   #2
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The winner by unanimous decision....CROCK POT!!! All ribs were the same(baby back), seasoned with the same rub, served with the same sauce etc.

Just thought I'd share...I'm glad it's the easiest recipe! The key here is not OVER doing the crockpot...last time I tried 5-6 hrs and they were too tender....needed a fork!
I haven't had really good BBQ ribs, since my Grandad used ot make them in his HUGE (8'x8'x8') wood-fired BBQ oven. I've had 'good' ribs, but not 'really good' ones. He'd slow cook them for 8-10 hours, after having marinated them over night in his home-brew marinade. When they came out, they were so tender you didn't need any silverware at all......and the bones were even soft!

Anyway, I too have experimented over the years to come up with a good way to BBQ ribs. About 3 weeks ago I finally hit on the best way for me. I had a bunch of baby-back ribs and a bunch of country ribs, and decided to try the crockpot. I dumped in about a half bottle of "Sweet Bay Ray's" BBQ sauce. Then I plopped in some baby-backs, cut into sections of about 4 rib bones each.....slather on some more "Sweet Baby Ray's".....another layer of ribs.....slathered on more "SBR's". I kept that up until the crock was darn near full, and I'd run outta ribs......then dumped in another bottle of "SBR's" to fill in any air pockets betwixt, between, & around the ribs. Put the lid on, and cooked on "High" for 1 hour.....then turned it down to "Low" for about 5-6 hours.....then back up to "High" for the last hour.

When I took them out, they were very tender, and were loose on the bones but not falling to pieces.

I'll definitely cook 'em that way from now on! It only took about 5 minutes to cut 'em, put 'em in the crock, slather on the BBQ sauce, dump in the rest of it, and turn the crock "On". An hour later turn it down, then 5-6 hours after that turn it back up. Less than 10 minutes of actual time consumed, and while they're cooking away, I can do whatever I want without having to check on them or keep my eye on them.

BTW, the ribs were the last package of pork from the half of a hog that I won on a $5 raffle at a benefit fund raiser that I'd attended! The hog was raised by a local farmer,and was all cut, processed, wrapped, and labeled by a local butcher. 83 pounds of pork, for a $5 raffle ticket.......that's about 6˘ per pound! I cooked about 5# of ribs.....that's about 30˘ worth, and the "Sweet Baby Ray's" was on sale for 96˘ a bottle. So that's 30˘ for the ribs, $1.92 for the sauce, all the fixin's for the salads came from my garden, and a zucchini from the garden was sliced, breaded, and fried.......total cost....including tax......$2.38!!! And that was enough for dinner for 2....TWICE!

Anyway, I agree....the Crockpot is the winner!
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Old 08-10-2008, 05:09 AM   #3
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There's gotta be something about the quality of the meat. Went to a BBQ gathering where they had put some plain pork ribs over wood coals for about a half-hour, with no sauce, marinade or other prep.. and they came out delicious.. not fork tender but almost off-the-bone tender.

Whereas I had done 1-2 hours in a v. slow oven with water bath, then some sauce and grilled for 1/2 hour on medium/low and they came out tough. Go figure.

The most tender ribs I've ever made were not in a crock pot, but similar.. a Dutch oven (something cast iron like Le Creuset is great for this recipe) on a very very low flame for a couple of hours. It was similar to this recipe:
The Paupered Chef: Short Ribs Finally Worth Writing About

but was actually a recipe called "Pork Spareribs in Red Wine" from the cookbook 'Molto Italiano'. The braised ribs are great but don't have the smoky or charred BBQ-type appeal; they're more of a wintery comfort food.

I'm glad responding to this made me search on the braised ribs, because the link above talks about temperature and connective tissue breakdown.. that could be why the quicker, hotter grilled ribs at the gathering actually came out better than my lower heat attempt.

Hmm.. looking forward to more experiments, anyway.
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Old 08-10-2008, 06:59 AM   #4
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Fed:

I have never cooked ribs so I confess to ignorance but 30 minutes on high for pre-cooked ribs sounds like it would scorch the skinny little things to cardboard. Do you put them in those vertical rib stands or lay them flat on the grill?
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Old 08-10-2008, 10:13 AM   #5
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Flat on the grill,top rack,temp about 350- it may have only been 20 mins in retrospect, but i love the caramelized bbq taste as well as a bit of a char-grilled taste....
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Old 08-10-2008, 10:23 AM   #6
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Ribs become tender when you've applied enough heat for the collagen in the meat to liquify. Thats happened at the moment you can rotate the bones a little bit in the rack. Shortly before that, the meat will be tough. Shortly after that and its mush.

Interesting bit on reheating them. Some of the collagen will resolidify in the fridge and you need to bring the ribs back up to a full high temperature and let them stand for a minute or two before they'll come back to the same level of tenderness.

I've always like the smoker ribs, but my smokers have always turned out pretty good ribs in about 4-5 hours. For a faster indoor version I came up with a foil wrapped method with a braising liquid that a few years later I saw Alton Brown almost completely match.

Recipes : Who Loves Ya Baby-Back? : Food Network



I've done beef ribs with the same method, substituting beer for the wine.

These are nice because they make their own sauce. I usually paint half the ribs with the self-produced glaze and leave the other half dry and serve a regular and spicy traditional bbq sauce on the side.

I see the Americas Test Kitchen guys came up with a crock pot rib recipe this month that they said is excellent. I'll see if I can find it or transcribe a little of it later on.
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Old 08-10-2008, 08:49 PM   #7
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I see the Americas Test Kitchen guys came up with a crock pot rib recipe this month that they said is excellent. I'll see if I can find it or transcribe a little of it later on.
Well, I'll be darned. You have my attention now...
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Old 08-10-2008, 11:25 PM   #8
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Now?

I have the recipe. But its for a sweet and sour rib cookoff.

Heres their 'teaser' bit. I'll put the recipe in tomorrow. The basics are wrapping the ribs up against the sides of the cooker so they're exposed to the heat and removing as much moisture as possible from the cooking process/sauce.

Slow-Cooker Sweet and Sour Ribs Recipe - Cook's Country
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Old 08-11-2008, 01:19 AM   #9
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Now?
Heres their 'teaser' bit. I'll put the recipe in tomorrow. The basics are wrapping the ribs up against the sides of the cooker so they're exposed to the heat and removing as much moisture as possible from the cooking process/sauce.
Well, the word "crockpot" excites me much more than other words like "ramekin" or "carmelize" or even "sauté".

I'm in a rut. Baked chicken, spaghetti (sauce from Mom's scratch recipe), hot dogs, chicken-breast parmagiana, fish w/ macaroni & cheese, tacos from scratch, ramen & grilled cheese. A monthly turkey or BBQ. Spouse has her chili and stew recipes and a few others. Weekly pizza and occasional takeout.

Ribs & kal-be are usually more work than we get around to preparing. But I'm usually pretty good with starting dinner after breakfast and having the rest of the day free...
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Old 08-11-2008, 02:07 AM   #10
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boy, that IS a rut.
I've been very keen lately on Mario's cookbook and have incorporated this into our standard rotation. It's not particularly "Italian" tasting and DH is wild about it:
chicken thighs with saffron, green olives and mint
Chicken Thighs With Saffron, Green Olives And Mint Recipe @ CDKitchen.com :: it's what's cooking online!
second link is easier to read
I haven't actually tried it with the mint, and serve it with plain rice.
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Old 08-11-2008, 09:18 AM   #11
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I'm usually pretty good with starting dinner after breakfast and having the rest of the day free...
Then you oughta get an electric smoker. About every ten days I'll fire ours up with a brisket, some sort of sausage, a jimmy dean sausage chub 'fattie' stuffed with something or other, some ribs, maybe a chicken. The brisket goes in right after breakfast and the smaller stuff gets added every few hours but basically all you have to do is put a rub or marinade on everything and lay it out on the cooking grates and stack those in the fridge.

Brisket takes about 7-8 hours, ribs are about 5, chicken about 3, and the sausage, fattie and atomic buffalo turds are a little over an hour. Once you've done the prep you're looking at about 15-20 minutes adding food and checking temperatures before everything is done.

We have a couple of people over for an early dinner, throw in some cole slaw (yeah, I know), tater salad, etc. Then we've got stuff to pick on for 3-4 days.

The cheap brinkmanns are under $80. The brinkmann made box smoker I have is around $150 sold at sears under the kenmore brand.
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Old 08-11-2008, 03:22 PM   #12
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I usually season my ribs and then put them in a pan with half a bottle of beer .Cook in the oven at 250 for one to two hours and finish on the grill with bbq sauce . They always turn out great .
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Old 08-11-2008, 06:34 PM   #13
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Then you oughta get an electric smoker.
I'm gonna have to take this slow. For example, we already have a crockpot-- we just don't use it very often. Same with the BBQ grill.
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Old 08-11-2008, 06:50 PM   #14
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Me neither.

The crockpot frankly makes about 5 different tasting dishes. Doesnt really matter what the input contents are. The grill makes about 5 different tasting dishes depending on what you stick in it. Smokers make an entirely different third class of the same approximate 5 dishes.

One set are stewed/braised. One set is carmelized and browned. The third set demonstrates characteristics of both.

In short, you can make a meal in 8 hours in a crock pot. It wont taste anything like a meal made in 8 hours in a smoker. You wanted different but still easy, I give you different but still easy.

There arent very many other ways to make really easy, long cooked meal items that dont require a lot of looking-in-on, and which can take a half hour or an hour of over or under cooking.
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:03 PM   #15
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In short, you can make a meal in 8 hours in a crock pot. It wont taste anything like a meal made in 8 hours in a smoker. You wanted different but still easy, I give you different but still easy.
Thanks, I do appreciate learning about the differences. You know a lot more cooking theory than I've ever been aware existed.

But I'm still going to whine & snivel about "all the effort" required to cook dinner...
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Old 08-11-2008, 09:07 PM   #16
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Meat --> rack --> box --> dinner

what effort?

About the only thing further down the effort chain is pulling something out of the ground and eating it, dirt and all.
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Old 08-11-2008, 09:11 PM   #17
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Crock pot cooking is the epitome of doing nothing cooking! Come on Nords..wake up throw it in the pot. Go surf for like 10 hours. Come home pop open a beer and eat a tasty cooked meal of...insert whatever..
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Old 08-12-2008, 07:45 AM   #18
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I get them for free from my nephew's bbq restaurant. Damn good too. Well nothing is free, I always take him and his girl friend out to dinner.
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Old 08-12-2008, 11:34 AM   #19
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I get them for free from my nephew's bbq restaurant. Damn good too. Well nothing is free, I always take him and his girl friend out to dinner.
Quite a few years ago, I used to go out for late night coffee with a bunch of friends at a coffee shop a few blocks from home. Next door to the coffee shop there was a really good rib joint that a friend of mine owned. When he closed at 10pm, he'd come over for a cup of coffee before he went back over to clean up his restaurant and go home. After his coffee, he'd have us come over and give us all of the left over BBQ ribs to take home. We each usually ended up with anywhere from 5 to 10 pounds of yummy ribs. Made for a nice Sunday dinner and lunch at work for a few days.

Too bad that coffee shop went out of business, and my friend sold his rib restaurant to his 'not-so-generous' sister.....now I have to pay for the ribs.
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:57 PM   #20
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Just the thought of cooking ribs in a crock pot or in an oven is enough to make my stomach turn.

The best method for cooking ribs hasn't changed in a hundred years. Cook low and slow over smoking hardwood.

Trying to improve on that is foolish.
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