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Topic Title: Ribs gone wrong
Created on January 6, 2013 at 05:47 PM


I did some spare ribs last night and cooked per the recipe but they were tough as could be. Where did I go wrong? I cooked them in a rack for 45 min then put them in a alum pan cover with sauce fro 45 min, they looked and smelt great but ya needed a chain saw to eat em. Grrrrrrrrrrr


Could have been the ribs themselves. Some are just better quality than others. Having said that, I have had the same experiences cooking them on the Holland in the past. Some oare great and others not so much. Ribs go in the crockpot at my house


My guess is they were not done. I like to smoke them for about an hour and then wrap in foil with a ltttle liquid such as beer or apple juice. Keep checking every 30 minutes until tender. Remove from foil and place back on grill to firm up for few minutes. Sauce at this point if yoj like your ribs sauced.

Tom Kirkman

I'm not going to assume anything because I don't know what recipe you followed, but I always use the steamer feature on the Holland when I do ribs. This lowers the temperature down to about 300F which allows the ribs to cook a little more slowly and imparts some moisture to them at the same time.

Just something you might try next time if you haven't already.

Ribs probably took me more time to perfect than anything else I've cooked.


Tom I used the Finger-lickin' Ribs recipe under the Pork section of recipes. When you use the Steamer feature how long do ya cook them? I am use to cookin them on my Lang Smoker using a 3-2-1 method but those were the first I have tried on the Holland. The 3-2-1 method is 3 hrs on cooker 2 hrs wrapped in foil and then 1 hr back on grill to dry ribs up a lil but of course that is cooking between 220 and 250.

Tom Kirkman

I do them very simply. Either use a rub, or not, and then put them on the grill. I cook until the meat just starts to pull back and expose the bones (remember, the reason the meats draws back is because it's starting to dry out).

Once I see those bone ends protruding, I apply my sauce and continue grilling for 10 or 15 minutes. Then remove and let stand for a few minutes.

I know a lot of folks do all sorts of things with aluminum foil, boiling, regrilling etc., and I'm sure they cook up some really great ribs. But I try to stay simple and just cooking them as described has turned out some pretty darn tasty ribs for me without all the extra steps.

Tom Kirkman

I forgot - once you put the rub on (if you use one) let the ribs stand for at least an hour before putting them on the grill.

My overall cooking time varies depending on the size and thickness of the ribs, but when the meat starts drawing back on the bones, I'm just about ready to eat.


I bought a Smoke Daddy Big Kahuna and installed it on the back of my Holland Grill. I like smoke, and the little tray in the front was OK, but didn't really produce a lot of smoke and sometimes wouldn't produce any. The Big Kahuna lets me use the Holland for cold smoking or great smoked barbeque.
For ribs, the way to get them very tender is long slow cooking, 200-220 degrees for 8-10 hours. You can't get that low a temperature on the Holland, but what I've found as a good compromise is to do the ribs at 200 in the oven for about six hours, then I light up the Holland and the Smoke Daddy, put some water and apple juice in the drip pan, and finish the ribs off in the smoke and 300 degree heat...generally takes a couple of hours, but they do come out tender and tasty.

I've also just put the ribs on with no oven pre-cooking. They come out very good, but not as tender.


I rub the ribs the night before or at least an hour ahead of time. Fill Holland with water/beer or water/apple juice (not too much juice/beer or you'll get a gooey mess after you drain the liquid.) Cook for an hour. Double wrap in heavy duty foil and pour sauce and a stick of melted butter on the ribs before tightly wrapping the foil. Put a meat thermometer through the foil into the ribs and cook until the internal temp is above 200°.

I always had tough baby back ribs because I was following a temp. guide that said pork is done at 180°. The key is getting the meat above 200° so that the fat and sinew breaks down. This is the key to tender, fall off the bone pork ribs.

When done, I open the foil and put the ribs directly on the grate to cook some bark on the outside. Careful not to let this part go too long.


Edit (senior moment) - got my ribs and butts mixed up. I don't fill the drip pan for the first hour of rib cooking. I wrap wet wood chips in foil an pit it in the left hand "hot gap" to smoke duing the first hour of cooking. Water and apple juice or beer is when cooking a Boston butt. Sorry.


There is a UTube video by TomKirkman1 "Ribs ON A Holland Grill" that is killer. I used the cheap .99 cents a pound FJ ribs to try it out and they came out killer. The key is cooking for 4 hrs at 275-300 degrees. Using a electronic meat probe 1" off of the grill surface and propping the grill lid up to regulate the heat to maintain that temp. If you watch his video he never props his lid up . With the lid closed on by grill and the pan full it still read 350.