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Lot o ribs

I have been selected to be pit master at a wedding.Need 100lbs ribs. Thinking of baking this weekend
And putting them on the smoker prior to serving, help!

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  1. I'm no Barbecue expert, but I think you have your process reversed........you smoke first, then finish in the oven. If you are holding them for any amount of time before serving, then you can fire them up on the grill or smoler.

    2 Replies
    1. re: fourunder

      4under you've got my approach to ribs on target. It is a texas 4step that has plenty of opportunities to interrupt for optimal timing.

      Step one; clean them up. Trim to shape, pull off silver skins, notch 1/4" between bone ends, smudge them up with rub, dizzy dust and jacks old south about 50/50. Let them mellow for overnight in the fridge.

      Step2; fire up the big green egg to a zillion degrees had have at least two logs of hickory wood or maple to generate heat plus smoke. With cold ribs straight from the fridge the racks go on direct heat to char the racks maybe 4 or 5 minutes per side.....not cremated, just a healthy char. Remove the ribs and let them cool down again. Meanwhile transform the BGE from direct high heat grille to an indirect smoker.....which I do by shutting all vents to 5%, throwing a handfull of lump charcoal on the hot fire (sort of smothering effect) along with a couple wet chunks of hickory (not logs this time ). Place the plate setter in position along with a 12" aluminum foil pie tin filled with apple cider and cider vinegar(75/25 ratio). Close the lid and within 10 minutes the egg is down to around 250 degrees and smoking like a champ.

      Step3; place ribs above the liquid in vertical racks (capacity is maybe 4 or 5 good sized rackd) and let them smoke for anywhere from 2 to 4 hours turn them each hour (rotate end to end and flip vertically). Visible smoke will begin to die off after a couple hours but them logs still have some life. So depending on just how smokey we want, I pull them ribs and bring them to room temp before I wrap them in heavy stuff aluminum foil sealing the ends tight. Each rack in its own package. If you cheat and wrap while they're still warm, they sweat and steam.= not good. After an hour they get wrapped and then refrigerated; overnight, over a couple nights, I've even held a pack or two for a whole week before finishing.

      4th to finish I fire up the oven to 200 to 225 degrees and once hot, I put the cold wrapped packs of ribs into the oven to finish. Timing is based on what is still owed from a total countdown. This approach needs 6 hours for baby back ribs and 8 hours for spare ribs and 10 hours for country style ribs....so if they spent 2 hours on the smoker then the baby backs need 4 hours in the oven. If they spend 4 hours on the smoker then spare ribs require 4 hours in the oven. Etc.

      When I'm down to the last hour of oven time, I unpack the ribs (save the rub rich dripping liquid) and place the racks onto SS cooling rack placed above cookie sheets and brush on a BBQ sauce that I cut in half with cider vinegar or water or both to start a glaze on them during the final hour of cooking. Also a perfect way to chek on done ness and final temperature....sometimes they need an extra boost of temp and sometimes only need 30 minutes to finish.

      Pull them out and try to let merest for 30 minutes while lightly tented. Process offers flexibility but offers very reliable results

      1. re: ThanksVille

        Sounds good for a backyard BBQ, but for 3 cases of side-ribs?
        3 cases of side ribs would barely fit in a home fridge.
        Whatever method, you gotta pre-cook them somehow (smoke/boil/bake) plenty time before and finish day-of.
        However, its been a week and not a peep from good ole honeycut...wondering where this is going?

    2. I put on my favorite rub, put them in a 500 degree oven, then immediately turn the heat down to about 200 degrees covered or in foil. Long slow bake. I don't have a smoker but I finnish them on the grill. When the meat is charred to my liking, I add my sauce so it has a chance to carmelize. You could simplify and serve sauce on the side. Do a test run with whatever method you use.

      1 Reply
      1. re: stymie

        If you cook the ribs for a short time and then smoke that would be ok, but if you go too far you will not be able to get much smoke flavor.

      2. How many racks will your smoker hold?

        What kind of ribs are these?

        1. Are you doing spare ribs or baby back ribs?

          From what I remember from back in the day, a case of spare ribs (untrimmed) was around 35 lbs and contained about 8 or 9 slabs so that gives you about 25 slabs to work with.

          Based upon your description, it sounds like you want to precook all the ribs and use the smoker to heat the ribs. Precooking is probably the best way for you to go since your home oven can probably only cook 4 to 5 slabs at a time.

          Another suggestion is renting a large smoker so you can smoke/cook all those slabs at once, the day off.

          Also another suggestion whether you precook or not is to season the ribs with a dry rub at least 24 hours before cooking.

          1. You have to know your crowd. If smoke is a priority as it can be depending on where you are then smoke first then finish in the oven as opposed to finishing on the smoker.

            I have a friend that has a very successful catering business in So. Fla. Does a lot of "bbq" hamburgers and ribs. Lots of ribs and doesn't use a smoker. Any smoke flavor is coming from the sauce. I've had them and they taste really good yet some bbq purest would poopoo them for not being real bbq. So Wes, this sounds like something that you haven't done much of at least in this capacity. What type of smoker, grill and or oven will you be using?

            1. You might look at a rib rack (esp if you are doing baby backs). Here is an inexpensive one (in which I have no financial interest) http://www.amazon.com/Charcoal-Compan....

              1. It isn't rocket science, but if you don't have experience and/or equipment to handle this kind of volume, using 100 lbs of ribs for a wedding as a learning experience doesn't sound like the best idea -- if you're doing back ribs, you're looking at about 35 - 40 slabs. No problem if you've got the gear; a major hassle and potential food safety hazard if you don't.

                5 Replies
                  1. re: rjbh20

                    This, BTW, is what 18 slabs of ribs, 4 pork shoulders and 3 briskets look like as they're just getting underway

                    1. re: rjbh20

                      Very nice.....but it looks like you're still short on space.....it looks a little too cramped in there for the meat.

                      : 0 )

                      1. re: fourunder

                        Not really, provided you pay attention and arrange them so there's reasonable circulation and rearrange from time to time so they cook evenly. And a full pit has more moisture, retains the heat better and requires longer time, all of which are salubrious for barbecue.

                        1. re: rjbh20

                          I prefer to smoke as short of a time as I can while getting the same or better results. Whole brisket is one example. I use to do the typical 14 hour smoke, but not anymore. I won't smoke a brisket for 14 hours when I can get a better product in less much time, about 4 - 5 hours.

                          Longer times don't always mean better results. Oftentimes, it's actually quite the opposite.

                          Barbecue is a balancing act between heat, time, and air exposure in relation to smoke levels, tenderness, and moisture. If one of the first three aspects is changed, it has an affect on all the others.

                  2. WOuld have NO idea how to handle 100 poounds! Last summer took 2 big racks of baby backs (in a cooler) on a 350+ mile road trip from NJ to WV for several days of food, drink and fun with my sister and her husband. Recipe was from Alton Brown... something like Who's your Baby... back ribs. Started with a salt, brown sugar, and spice rub... overnight preferred... in a few layers of heavy-duty foil. Then 2-3 hours in oven with a marinade added. Last maybe 30 miniutes was on grill to crust them up. They were REALLY tasty. No BBQ "sauce" per se... definitely a keeper recipe.

                    1. I have to agree with those who suggest that if you have to ask advice as to how to prepare food for the biggest event in someone's life, you might want to pass on the job. This isn't a BBQ - this is someone's wedding reception.

                      I don't understand the talk about cooking in oven then smoking for reheating - if you have a smoker that will handle 100 pounds of ribs, why do anything in the oven?

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: FrankJBN

                        Without prejudice,
                        "if you have a smoker that will handle 100 pounds of ribs" why the asking for advice?

                        1. re: porker

                          ...and will all due respect to the OP, I'm a bit perplexed as to how someone who doesn't know much about either ribs or BBQ could be "selected to be pit master at a wedding."

                          Despite all the really excellent advice above, without knowing what kind of equipment the OP has or has access to, what kind of ribs he plans on using, how many guests there will be and what sort of time frame and budget we are dealing with, all possible responses are just conjecture and it's awfully hard to give answers that are on-point.

                          1. re: acgold7

                            Throw a (rib)bone in the street, sit back, and enjoy the show?