HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Pink (medium) Spare Ribs

I remembered mid morning I had a defrosted rack of St Louis cut spare ribs in my basement refrigerator that needed to be cooked. I generally cook ribs in a smoker slowly after a dry rub and several hour or overnight rest. My smoker broke recently (suspect regulator) so I cooked them indirectly on my gas grill. Fire on one side, ribs on the other. I dry rubbed them and coated with a little salad oil then seared the rack over the hot side and moved them to the cool side and closed the lid. about an hour into the cook I coated the meat side with no sugar added BBQ sauce. The total cooking time was about 2.5 hours at just under 300 but the temperature wasn't consistent. The ribs were only cooked to medium, nicely pink throughout. They were very tender and succulent, some of the best ribs I've made or eaten. I know some people love fall of the bone cooked ribs but I like a little chew to mine. Does anyone else cook spare ribs or baby backs less than well done?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If they were on at 300 for 2.5 hrs, they're fully done. The pink is the smoke ring that results for the hemoglobin in the meat reacting with the carbon monoxide from the burning fuel.

    12 Replies
    1. re: rjbh20

      Right. I think a lot of people don't know that.

      1. re: rjbh20

        This wasn't a smoke ring as I used no wood and I'm a pretty experienced "smoker". I probably am wrong about the temperature. These were cooked medium.

        1. re: zackly

          You don't need wood to get a smoke ring, though you get a more pronounced one with wood smoke. The combustion gases from propane or natural gas pride the same effect.

          1. re: zackly

            Since you didn't take an internal temperature, it seems that your justification for them being cooked medium is the rosy hue. I agree with the others who say that ribs cooked for that amount of time at 300 are done. Sounds like you're mistaking the color imparted by smoking with rareness.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              I'll say it one more time:
              No mistake, these were cooked medium (pink). It was not a smoke ring. Let's move the discussion on from here.

          2. re: rjbh20

            Can't imagine getting much of a smoke ring on a gas grill

            1. re: scubadoo97

              No need to imagine anything -- chemistry has a pesky way of happening on a remarkably consistent basis. Do you really think 2.5 hrs at. 300 on a slab of ribs is going to result in pink meat because it's less than 145f? Thermodynamics would argue differently.

              1. re: rjbh20

                And isn't it nice that the smoke ring has been determined to do nothing for taste or texture?

                1. re: rjbh20

                  Dude, based off the OP "wasn't consistent" "nicely pink throughout" attributing the "nice pink" to a smoke ring would be a helluva stretch.

                  My personal verdict would be undercooked ribs.

                  1. re: On_yun

                    But they were "very tender" and "succulent" and OP knows his/her way around cooking meat.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      Generally, Very tender ....and a little chew does not go hand in hand when I think of cooked ribs. Chinese style ribs are what I imagine were the results of what the OP is describing.

                      1. re: fourunder

                        And the meat has to come away from the bone cleanly, how you like your meat cooked is subjective (somewhat), but that really isn't. At least if you want a good percentage of rib eaters to like your ribs. If these were back ribs I could be willing to pick up what they're laying down and chalk it up to mistaking pink-ish for medium, but spares? Nuh uh. I suppose there is one other possibility, what if the ribs weren't pork? :O lol

            2. Really good BBQ ribs shouldn't have meat that "falls off the bone" - those are overcooked. A slight pull is highly desirable, in fact.

              13 Replies
              1. re: mcsheridan

                Don't you think that's more personal preference than right vs. wrong?

                1. re: c oliver

                  I think that everything in the food world is up to personal preference, as far as that goes. I didn't use the words right vs. wrong. All of us here on Chow have very strong opinions, and most of us are purists about something, whether it's Reuben sandwiches, ragu alla Bolognese, or BBQ ribs.

                  If someone wants to eat overcooked ribs and likes them that way, that's their choice. If someone wants to eat a well-done steak and likes it that way, that's their choice. I have a friend who likes to marinate chicken for more than 48 hours, that's his choice. I think it ruins the texture of the chicken much as I think cooking to well-done destroys a good piece of meat, and overcooking ruins the texture of BBQ ribs.

                  I like to think that eating ribs is half the reason we have teeth. :)

                  1. re: mcsheridan

                    Thanks for elaborating. I had just thought that the words "shouldn't" and "overcooked" were more a personal comment. While I prefer ribs the way you do, I'd rather have them "fall off the bone" than be too tough.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      How about pink throughout?


                        1. re: c oliver

                          It was a joke. Pink throughout indicates undercooked ribs.

                2. re: mcsheridan

                  Usually, that fall of the bone texture comes from the introduction of some sort of steam. I don't use water in my smoker for ribs.

                  1. re: zackly

                    Here's a clarification you may or may not be interested in. The falling off the bone texture doesn't come from steam but from a long cooking time. A long cooking time causes the connective tissue in the meat to break down, resulting in higher tenderness and eventually mushiness. The lower the internal temperature of the meat, the longer the cooking time has to be to achieve this.

                    The problem with a long cooking time is that it provides a big window for a lot of the meat's moisture to evaporate, causing the development of bark at the meat's surface and eventually a dry chewy piece of meat, regardless of how broken down the connective tissue is. Here's where the steam comes in: one way to limit the evaporation of the meat's moisture is with steam. But it's not the only way. Foiling ribs can prevent evaporation. Sous vide cooking can prevent evaporation. Constant basting can prevent evaporation. And technically speaking, just placing a pan of water in the grill/smoker isn't so much creating steam as it is just raising the humidity inside the smoker enough to limit evaporation. Limiting evaporation has the added benefit that you are then also limiting evaporative cooling, which helps the meat's temperature not to stall and makes the meat cook more quickly.

                    With ribs, you can safely file a lot of this under 'so what?' but it becomes more important to know if you're cooking trickier cuts like brisket.

                    1. re: cowboyardee

                      That's true but adding moisture, in a home smoker anyway, inhibits evaporation and creates a semi moist cooking environment instead of completely dry. It acts as a crutch, providing a larger margin of error against overcooking (drying out). You can get the temperature high enough to break down the connective tissue while still maintaining moisture in the meat but for me I prefer dry heat because the evaporation concentrates the meatiness. But like I said, I don't shoot for fall off the bone tenderness. I like my ribs al dente.

                      1. re: cowboyardee

                        That's probably the best condensed down explanation for the whole shebang I've ever read with all the subjective nonsense and myth left out.

                    2. re: mcsheridan

                      Being a carnivore, I prefer my meat to have a little resistance to the tooth. ~~ For those who prefer 'fall off the bone' I always suggest Instant mashed potatoes topped with a little Kraft BBQ sauce for the same texture. ;) Much simpler and cheaper.

                      1. re: Uncle Bob

                        It is (or should be) a primal experience, after all. :)

                    3. Are they "bendy"... my totally scientific term for pretty much done? That much time at even relatively low 300... can't possibly be less than done.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: kseiverd

                        They can in a drafty gas grill with heat coming from only one end. Throw in a completely unreliable thermometer and presto.

                      2. I can say with 100% certainty that these ribs were cooked to medium (pink) doneness. My question still is does anyone intentionally cook ribs to only this temperature on purpose

                        14 Replies
                        1. re: zackly

                          Once they're tender or there's some shrinking up the bone but not falling off like baby food, mine are done. I think your temp was a tad high, unless it dropped a lot during the cook, so hard to imagine they were medium but you were there and I was not.

                          1. re: mcf

                            Yes, they were definitely medium cooked. I was guessing and probably wrong about the time and temperature. I guess the internal finished temperature was 150-155. My new hypothesis is that spare ribs don't need longer cooking times to tenderize, that they are naturally tender. Now, it might have been this particular rack was tender but it was a nothing special, commodity rack of ribs bought @ Shoprite.

                            1. re: zackly

                              Well at that temp, pork is well done. But if you're guessing who knows? Some pork stays pink when cooked, I've found.

                              1. re: mcf

                                Well, then I'm wrong again. I rarely use thermometers in the kitchen so I really don't have an idea what 150-155 degree cooked pork looks like. I just wanted to further the discussion and my question if anybody cooks ribs intentionally medium?

                                1. re: zackly

                                  I use a Thermapen on most meats, but with ribs I go by sight and touch, and time, loosely.

                                  So I can tell you that if it were a supermarket pork chop at 150-155 it would be dry and white, IME, and if a juicier heritage breed, white with moisture.

                                  Recently, my husband thought a thick, red wattle pork chop I served was raw next to the bone, based on appearance (it really did look raw), but upon trying it, disovered it was cooked to his satisfaction, and he tends to like things cooked a bunch more than I do.

                                  Just sayin'.

                          2. re: zackly

                            Unless you actually checked the internal temperature of the ribs, you really can't speak to their temperature with 100% certainty. Just not possible. I'm sure they were pink though.

                            As to the bigger question of how hot or how long to cook them:
                            I've cooked ribs many ways. When I've BBQ'd ribs, I've typically done the full 5-6 hour cooking time, which would presumably achieve a final temperature in the 190s range. I've also cooked spare ribs sous vide and used temperatures in the 140-145 range, though a very long cooking time ensured tenderness in this case.

                            Recently, my father has become something of a rib junkie, developing his own preferred cooking process. He generally cooks using indirect heat and a little wood smoke in a grill, but he only cooks em for about 2 hours. He makes em just about any time I show up. These ribs are not as tender as traditionally cooked ribs are. But they are still quite enjoyable. I don't find them hard to eat - that little bit of chewiness can be pleasant. But it would be hard for me to guess exactly what their final temperature was. It might be relatively high (180+) - ribs ain't thick and 2 hours is still a long cooking time, considering that you can overcook a steak in under 10 minutes. Or it might hit stalling temperatures (a little north of 150) and stay there, as my father doesn't wrap with foil or use steam.

                            All that said, it's not only internal temperature that determines tenderness but also cooking time. You could make ribs overly tender, bordering on mushy, if you cooked em at 135 long enough via sous vide.

                            1. re: cowboyardee

                              My ribs yesterday had the approximate "tendeness" of an excellent beef filet mignon steak. My question is, do spare ribs even benefit from a longer cooking time or higher internal temperature? My experience yesterday suggests maybe not.

                              1. re: zackly

                                "My ribs yesterday had the approximate "tenderness" of an excellent beef filet mignon steak"
                                Incidentally, I've described pork shoulder cooked sous vide to 140 for maybe 20 hours in almost the exact same terms.

                                "My question is, do spare ribs even benefit from a longer cooking time or higher internal temperature?"
                                Generally speaking, you're not going to get filet mignon texture cooking spare ribs the way you did the other day. The most reasonable explanation for that was that it was something of a fluke based on the particular spare ribs you bought.

                                However, you may still find that ribs cooked over a shorter time are not unpleasantly chewy to you and that you like the effect of a shorter cooking time. My father did, for example. But BBQ nerds have spent decades developing procedures like the 3-2-1 method and writing books on tiny differences in cooking times and temperatures because these things do indeed make a difference. Might not be a difference you're interested in, is all.

                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                  I've eaten a fair amount of professional BBQ in my life. I would say that pork ribs are all cooked well done. They differ by cooking times and what they are seasoned with be it a dry rub, mop sauce or BBQ sauce. My theory is maybe they don't need to be cooked "low and slow" to get excellent results. I'm going to cook them the same way the next time & see if I get similar results.

                                  1. re: zackly

                                    "I've eaten a fair amount of professional BBQ in my life. I would say that pork ribs are all cooked well done."
                                    Yeah, just about any professional BBQ place is going to cook ribs to a high internal temperature. It's one of the defining characteristics of the style.

                                    "My theory is maybe they don't need to be cooked "low and slow" to get excellent results."
                                    Here's an experiment for you to demonstrate what I mean. Next time you make ribs, cut off a little section (maybe 3 ribs, raw) and cook it under your broiler or on the grill using direct heat. Check the internal temp with a thermometer and pull the ribs when the meat near the bone reaches 150. Shouldn't take long at all, even though the bone will draw out the cooking time a bit compared to a steak of similar thickness. Either way, we're talking minutes/side, not hours. Dig in and note the texture.

                                    Cooking for 2.5 hours IS cooking low and slow. It's just not as slow as traditional BBQ. This kind of cooking time is not a brand new discovery. I'm no expert in Chinese cooking, but I'm relatively sure that the Chinese spare ribs we all love are only cooked for maybe 2 hours. Heck, here's a recipe from a usually-reliable source where they're only cooked about 80 minutes:

                                    1. re: zackly

                                      I think low and slow is the only way to cook them, but hey. There are folks that boil them first, too, then grill them.

                                      Not anything I would do, but however someone wants to eat their own food is nunna my bizniz.

                                      1. re: mcf

                                        The Rendezvous in Memphis is famous for ribs that are not cooked low and slow. 425 degrees for around 60 min.

                                        The "Smokyokie method" for first grilling a brisket and then cooking at higher temps also changed attitudes on low and slow for brisket

                                        I do mine low and slow but there are more ways to skin a cat and cook BBQ with good to excellent results

                                        1. re: scubadoo97

                                          See above. I got no quarrel with folks doing it their own way. Tweechisown and all.

                                          I think fast and hot would be a bit too barkish for me.

                                          1. re: scubadoo97

                                            That's true but they're back ribs and kinda mediocre at that. They move a lot though so you could do a lot worse in Memphis. What they're really famous for is their unique dry rub with chili powder, coriander, and clove.

                              2. I just invited my husbands family for a BBQ next month (for the record, we are grilling the meat with propane, not using wood chips etc) and my BIL is insisting on bringing spare ribs. Probably because he can't grill at his apartment complex. I was hoping he meant precooked from a good takeout but it sounds like not. He and SIL are saying they will marinade and throw on my grill at the last minute,I'm trying to think how to politely decline the offer. I have rib eye and elk burgers and pork belly and all kinds of other stuff; if he wants to make them fine but I fear they will be inedible. I don't know that my grill could get low enough to cook correctly, and I'm not about to ruin the day messing around with it. Myself, I like to just cook them at 250 in the oven, set it and forget it so to speak, but I will try to be a good hostess and not be too negative ;-) Hope they enjoy!

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: coll

                                  I just searched, quick coked ribs. This is from Addicted to Grilling web site:

                                  "Spare ribs:

                                  Spare ribs come from the the belly of the pig - where bacon comes from. Because they're larger and tougher than baby backs they take longer and are more of a challenge to cook. However, they also have more meat than baby backs and more fat marbling which makes them more flavorful. The fact that they're a greater test of grillmanship and they deliver more flavor makes them the rib of choice with people on the profession barbecue circuit.

                                  St. Louis cut ribs - also known as Kansas City cut ribs - are merely spare ribs with the rib tips cut off. Removal of the tips makes the rib slab more attractive and helps it to cook more evenly.

                                  Here's a quick rundown on how to grill 'em:

                                  The fast way - 2 to 3 hours:

                                  Grill them - indirectly if at all possible - at medium heat, about 325° F to 350 ° F for 2 to 3 hours. You'll know they're done when the meat has shrunk back from the bone about a 1/4 of an inch and the meat is tender enough to tear apart with your fingers (Don't forget to let the test piece cool a bit so you don't burn your fingertips.)

                                  1. re: zackly

                                    I cook them about 2-3 hours at 250 or so and they're done and tender. So do that if you want fast and dried out. I've never been impressed with that site's cooking methods any time I've looked.

                                    1. re: zackly

                                      Thanks that's what I'm saying. I know all the cuts, including Danish baby back and lets even mention bone in country ribs just in case, who knows what he has planned, but I've never thought to attempt to cook any type less than 2 or 3 hours, or to go over 300. My BIL watches too much Food Channel but doesn't cook much at all. I thought maybe there was a new method I wasn't aware of. They usually expect to eat about an hour after arrival so good luck with that. Not that there won't be plenty of other food, we won't starve.

                                      I'm not tying up my grill and my time while he plays pitmaster, but I had a good idea. I'll resurrect my old charcoal Weber kettle, put it in the driveway and light the coals before he gets here,and let him go to town. And don't worry, I'll make him happy to be on his way!

                                        1. re: On_yun

                                          Oh thanks, I can be sort of devilish too unfortunately!

                                  2. Despite all the distracting noise, I understand your question and the answer is yes. Neither spare nor back ribs need to be cooked well done, falling off the bone, or pulling away cleanly. Medium or even medium rare is fine (and safe) if that's how you like them, and sometimes I do.

                                    This is why God gave us teeth.

                                    Backs certainly don't need low and slow, as they are basically the prime rib of the pig -- no more than 45 minutes, tops, on the grill or in the oven; there is almost no collagen or connective tissue in them that needs to be dealt with. Spares need a little more time but you gave them more than enough and they sound great.

                                    While you certainly *can* do low and slow with these, you sure don't have to.

                                    There is nothing more subjective and prone to causing verbal fistfights -- and sometimes literal ones -- than barbecue. I happen to hate St. Louis style ribs because they cut all the best parts off, but most people love them because they look good and are easy to eat.

                                    10 Replies
                                    1. re: acgold7

                                      Try selling medium spares off a food truck and get back to me. Even asian sticky ribs are par cooked some way or another before being glazed. Cooking to medium you're going to need to set out some dental floss next to the napkins and for someone who likes rib tips so much I have to wonder if you've had any success actually serving them to people.

                                      1. re: On_yun

                                        Who said anything about selling? Or serving to anyone other than one's self? Or "glazing" or any other kind of saucing? What a leap.

                                        The question was "Does anyone else cook spare ribs or baby backs less than well done?" and my answer was "Yes."

                                        This isn't about selling them. It's about how you like them. Did you read the OP? That's OT and not what the question or my answer was about at all.

                                        I have two food Trucks and there we obviously sell food the way our customers like it. To do anything else would be foolish. But that doesn't mean I always cook that way at home. This is, after all, the "Home Cooking" board.

                                        People who prize fall-off-the-bone tenderness over everything else generally boil their ribs -- as do the many crappy fake "BBQ" joints all over the country. Are you suggesting we should do that?

                                        And of course you mostly cook all ribs before *glazing* or *saucing*. That really has nothing to do with this discussion. Also completely OT.

                                        And yes, we've catered many very successful Barbecues.

                                        Before you make another completely unjustifed personal attack by leaping to conclusions ("I have to wonder if you've had any success actually serving them to people") perhaps you'll have the patience to sit through one of my typically interminable anecdotes:

                                        A number of years ago we had some friends of the family over for a barbecue. The Mom insisted she had the best recipe for Baby Backs that her kids loved, and she insisted on not only making but buying the ribs. She came over with a few racks she had bought at the local custom boutique butcher. She unwrapped the package and I was appalled. She paid something like $10 a pound for these and they had been stripped of virtually all the meat -- only what was between the bones was left. These were "shiners" -- the bones were shining through. Now I knew I could get whole racks at Costco for about $3 a pound and they would usually have about an inch of meat covering the bones, so I was stunned that she'd say "These are the best ribs in town." But I kept my mouth shut.

                                        And I said nothing when she proceeded to cut the racks in half and throw them into my Stock Pot and boil them for half an hour. Then she took them out, covered them with some crappy BBQ sauce she brought with her, and threw them on a high grill -- there was no stopping her at this point -- and procceded to char them until black.

                                        Her kids ate them up like there was no tomorrow. I died a little inside.

                                        Lots of people like them this way because they've never had them any other way. Does this make it the right way?

                                        So the next time they were over I made them the "right" way. I made spares and backs -- spares low and slow, backs both simply grilled and also properly smoked and none of them sauced until at the table. The kids (and everyone else) ate them with amazement but didn't know what they were. I didn't want to embarrass the Mom so I just said, "Oh, they're just another way of doing BBQ."

                                        BTW, what's so bad about floss? You need it with corn on the cob, which just happens to be a great accompaniment for BBQ anyhow (or for a lobster clambake). And my dentist wants me to use it nightly anyway.

                                        1. re: acgold7

                                          The final question in the OP was "Does anyone else cook spare ribs or baby backs less than well done?" Is there some kind of rule here I don't understand about discussing the body or title also? How about responses?

                                          The glazing or saucing had absolutely nothing to do with the point I was trying to make and that's why the emphasis was on par cooking. Someone else brought up "Chinese" ribs which are par cooked (usually) and glazed. You knew this though right? It's an example of ribs cooked less than well done which is the reason other people are talking about it, remember the final question in the OP? The only thing that I'm supposed to answer?

                                          The majority of your bird with a broken wing routine seems to admit scarcity of commercial presentation or lack of public interest but then questions what that would have to do with pink undercooked spare ribs and whether or not people like them that way. Otay.

                                          Let's see here.. fall off the bone... boil your ribs.. I must be suggesting people do that. LoL

                                          I need to touch just a bit on the boil your ribs thing though. I'm not an advocate of par boiling ribs for most preparations, but since the Chinese style ribs have been brought up already I'm gonna dive into forbidden territory and discuss something not in the OP.

                                          Some of the best ribs I've had asian style were in fact boiled. WAIT! I know what you're thinking, that I'm advocating boiling everything pork and want to start "fistfights" and stuff! I can assure you this is not the case. Cut across the bone in two inch lengths, simmered a bit to start the cooking and get some fat out of there plus a little broth left over, and DEEP FRIED! Yes, I'm serving myself on a plate so you can imply that I'm telling people to boil AND deep fry ribs. I'll skulk away in shame and won't mention that they were glazed lest that become the sum of my entire experience with pork along with fake crappy bbq joints.

                                          On the rib tip thing, that's what made me wonder if you were embellishing your response just a bit. Rib tips have cartilage bands running through them and to most peoples taste they need a little more cooking in order to separate from the layer of connective tissue that covers them. I always get whole spares and trim at the bone, tips are done whole and wrapped midway to accelerate getting to my idea of done. Oops, getting off topic again. Pink ribs are one thing, rib tips would have someone just making a mess unnecessarily in my amateur rib tip loving opinion. I could be rushing to judgement since you didn't specify how you like tips.

                                          Your story about the lady boiling ribs, kinda sounds like you're passing judgement, kinda sounds like what you are accusing me of, if in a more sideways indirect fashion. I think that I've seen a lot of people cook ribs similarly but don't consider evangelizing since unspoken rules for this sort thing are well established. Don't insult your host pretty much covers it. This isn't a table though, it's a forum on the internet.

                                          WelI, I don't really care how people like ribs at home or whether it follows some kind of accepted norm. You can eat them dead rare if you prefer them that way. I will voice my opinion on how I like to eat them, and may even go a step further and suggest that the vast majority of people won't appreciate rib meat that has to be stripped from the bone by gnawing and scraping. I'm crazy like that.

                                          No offense meant to the OP and my intention wasn't to clutter your thread. My answer to the question would be yes, but the majority of the time it's due to having undercooked ribs- let's eat.

                                          1. re: On_yun

                                            >>>Is there some kind of rule here I don't understand about discussing the body or title also? How about responses?<<<

                                            Possibly. You responded to my post and appeared to be aggressively refuting points neither I nor the OP made. I was simply trying to clarify. Questioning my personal knowledge or experience was an unnecessary personal shot and inappropriate for this discussion so I thought a little background would help.

                                            I happen to love deep-fried ribs and any version of tips, and virtually any Chinese preparation of any type of ribs, as well as the traditional BBQ. But as cbrd and four have very accurately pointed out, color is not an indicator of anything in the pork world. Ham is always pink.

                                      2. re: acgold7

                                        I'll point out that grilling on direct heat for 45 minutes will almost certainly result in ribs cooked beyond medium rare (~130 f).

                                        I don't actually disagree with anything in particular you wrote in your post. But I think it's important to make a few key distinctions. The OP seems to have made two assumptions that are problematic and might lead to some iffy conclusions:
                                        1) That you can reliably tell the doneness (internal temperature) of pork by its color
                                        2) That the medium doneness (questionable or not) is the main factor in how the ribs came out, and that cooking them for 2.5 hours didn't mitigate spareribs' tendency towards chewiness. This is why I suggested above an experiment wherein the OP grill some spareribs over a hot fire to medium or medium rare doneness over the course of a few minutes, like you would grill a steak - the results of this would certainly be significantly chewier than his results cooking over 2.5 hours.

                                        The point is that while it's certainly true that spareribs can be delicious cooked much more quickly than the [semi]standard 6 hour BBQ method and can also be cooked to lower internal temperatures than the standard 190+ of traditional BBQ, it's misleading and oversimplified to say that they only need to be cooked to medium or medium rare - which seemed to be the conclusion the OP was reaching. It's not just the temperature/doneness that matters but also how you get there.

                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                          While I can't disagree with anything you've said (as usual) I just wanted to take a minimalist approach and go to a simple direct answer to the original question, which is yes.

                                          I think a lot of this other side talk is getting into "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" territory and you can sense zackly's frustration in some of his other posts.

                                          I should have clarified what I meant by medium-rare, as it seems a lot of people, at least in the steak realm, really mean fairly raw in the middle. But I can assure you that even over a lowish-to-medium direct heat we can get baby backs completely cooked but still slightly pink and extremely juicy in the middle after 45 minutes -- they squirt juice when you bite through that lower membrane (which we never, ever remove). We'd never put them over the screeching 650F heat that most people use because then you are eating charcoal. Direct heat does not necessarily mean high heat.

                                          More typically, though, I will just get some nice grill marks over the direct heat and then do the bulk of the cooking over the indirect section but at a fairly high temp in the 400s. That of course is grilling, not BBQ.

                                          1. re: acgold7

                                            personally, I don't see the color of the Pork to be a good indicator for the temperature of the finished meat. It has more to do with the specific animal's muscle and whether it came from the tip or fattier end. The meat can be white, pink or darker...I will concede the meat will turn more white or dark as the meat cooks over time, but to get an actual reading on meat temperature with a rib is spotty at best, as the bones are too close to each other. Cooked at 300 for 2.5 hours, the meat is cooked through, but it doesn't mean it will be tender every time.

                                            1. re: fourunder

                                              Tender is tender, and it's done when it's done.

                                              At least in bbq terms and assuming it's the tender you're shooting for. This is what hangs most people up on brisket. It's more of an art than a science so it goes over or gets pulled too soon because of expectation instead of what's really going on with the meat. Same holds for ribs or shoulder.

                                              Gas grill and temperature automatically make me think inaccurate if we're talking about the stock therm that came on it. A tightly sealed charcoal setup has a big variation from grate to sensor, add inaccurate therm into that and who knows...

                                              A good point about specific animal. It definitely matters.

                                            2. re: acgold7

                                              "I should have clarified what I meant by medium-rare... we can get baby backs completely cooked but still slightly pink and extremely juicy in the middle after 45 minutes"
                                              I think one of the big things causing some confusion in this thread is the clash between people who define rare-ness in terms of temperature (120 rare, 130-135 med-rare, 140-145 medium, etc) and people who define rareness in terms of appearance and texture (with this outlook, filet mignon might be medium while chicken thighs would be rare when both cooked to the same internal temp).

                                              It is unlikely that you can cook ribs near 300 for 2.5 hours and wind up with an internal temperature that's not at least a little above 140 (medium, to the temp-defined crowd). But ribs can remain pinkish and juicy (medium, to the appearance-defined crowd) at higher temperatures than many other meats.

                                              Neither method of defining doneness is necessarily wrong, but they can cause confusion when the temp crowd discusses doneness with the appearance crowd. Normally, I'm a temperature kinda guy, so keep that in mind if looking over my other posts.

                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                I think another thing is that temp/doneness definitions have changed over the years. If you look at old cookbooks (and old meat thermometers) they have way higher temps defined for each stage than we typically do now. When I was a kid we defined medium rare as evenly pink and juicy throughout. Now that description is used for medium or even medium-well at the fancy steakhouses.

                                        2. Did you use a thermometer to check the actual temperature? The only concern would be the bacteria growth at that temperature for that period of time. Otherwise it should be fine.

                                          As long as it tastes good to you and it's safe to eat, then it's great.

                                          To answer your final question, I cook ribs sous vide @ 140F for 72 hours sometimes.