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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Slow Cooker & Crock-Pot Cooking / Ribs were dry???
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    Ribs were dry???

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    Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:26 am
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    I have only used my Crockpot twice, I wasn’t so pleased the 1st time with a roast, but that’s another topic. I wanted fall off the bone ribs, so I found this recipe,

    I used about 3 lbs of country style pork ribs

    I made basically a bed of sliced onions on the bottom of the crock pot

    Rubbed each rib with salt & pepper and laid them on onion bed bone down

    Filled the Crockpot with KC Masterpiece Barbecue sauce until it was about a ¼” over the ribs

    Set Crockpot to low and took the cover off about 4 hrs into it, drained off most of the oil on top, took a temp reading between say 170 -185 in various locations, stuck a few with a fork and could feel they were real tough at that time. Put the lid on again for another 4 hours. Took the lid off again, drained off some oil, temps were about 180 to 190, ribs were more tender. Cooked another ½ hour or so then removed. The meat did NOT just fall off the bone, but it didn’t take a lot of effort to get the meat off,,, it was VERY flavorful, but it was pretty dry to bite into??? I was expecting fall off the bone and succulent! I’ve had ribs before that you could almost eat with a straw (ha-ha),,, if I cooked this for another 2 hours (since this was an 8 – 10 hr recipe,,, would that have improved the dryness? Thanks
    Chubby Cook
    Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:59 am Groupie
    The problem is you took the lid off during the cooking process, which should never be done.

    Slow cookers use moisture to make the slow cooking work and when the lid is removed all that moisture is lost and it takes at least one additional hour of cooking (each time the lid is removed) for the cooking to recover, assuming there is still enough liquid in the pot.
    Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:40 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    I appreciate the feedback, and I admit,,, I am very new to this. After alot of reading, I do understand that its best to minimize the removal of the lid. But what doesnt make alot of sense to me right now is that there were over 100 replies to that recipe, and most folks mention they have removed the lid with that recipe to either drain some of the oil off the top or add more barbacue sauce etc,,, they were not complaining about dryness?

    In addition, one of my initial questions still remains,,, would cooking it another 2 hours or so helped or hurt? Thanks
    Chubby Cook
    Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:51 pm Groupie
    Since they were dry, I would say 'no' to your question, unless you had added more liquid and made sure the ribs were down in the liquid.

    Keep in mind too that if you put your meat on top of veggies, you keep it out of the liquid and you get more of a 'roasted' result, verses if you put the meat at the bottom you achieve a fall-off-the-bone result.

    Some people will also pre-brown their meat before it goes into the pot. This often adds flavor and also helps seal in the juices.

    If you have a Rival brand 'Crock-Pot', keep in mind it will run much hotter than most other brands so you may have to pay attention to the liquid and cooking times more to avoid overcooking. It's just a matter of learning how your slow cooker cooks things.
    Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:04 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Ya know,, I probably should have mentioned this, sorry if I gave the wrong impression, but at NO TIME, were the Ribs NOT immersed in liquid. Maybe towards the end some of the top 1/4" of was exposed.

    by the way I have this crockpot
    Chubby Cook
    Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:18 pm Groupie
    Nice slow cooker. I think it all falls back to the moisture and temperature loss when the lid was removed and, in a 6-quart, if the food content fills less than half the pot, the slow cooker probably never had a chance to recover properly.

    Perhaps someone else on the Forum has more they can comment on.
    Red Apple Guy
    Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:04 pm
    Forum Host
    Chubby, thanks for working with Fakum on this, I was out most of the day.

    Fakum, forgive me if I opine about this which is clearly a phenomenon I don't fully understand. Your approach to cooking the country ribs is similar to what I would have done. I check internal temperature every couple of hours. Removing the lid just cools off the pot which then has to recover (maybe 30 minutes).

    Generally, meat is tough when it is not cooked long enough and dry when it's overcooked. It may be "falling apart" but it will usually be dry. Exceptions are higher quality meats which are often best cooked other ways. Most tougher cuts of beef and pork become tender around 185 to 190 F internally and fall apart around 200F. Chicken, for example, is a good quality meat best cooked to 170 F in the breast, but if cooked until it's 200 F it shreds apart and is very dry.

    Country ribs are made from 2 different cuts of pork - loin and Boston Butt. I can't imagine Boston Butt not being tender and moist at 190m to 200F as I've cooked them a zillion times on smokers and in crock-pots. So...I'm thinking you were cooking better quality meat that just got over cooked.

    I have good luck with cheap and tough cuts (shoulder steak, chuck, pork shoulder or Boston Butt).
    Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:12 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Thanks for the feedback,,,, I dont know anything about different cuts etc,, and from reading the reviews on this recipe, I gathered that even a cheaper cut of meat would work well. I happened to be at BJ's wholesale club and grabbed some pork ribs,,, I still have a few left and I saved the tag,, heres what the tag says:

    Porkloin Country Style 6
    Rib Bone In
    $1.99 per Lb

    I dont buy this stuff much, but I would guess thats on the cheaper side of Rib buying huh?

    So,,, based on your comments,, it almost seems that they were overcooked? Lets assume thats true,,, since Im very new to this,, I have learned that I shouldnt remove the lid unless I really need to,,, so if the recipe calls for cooking on Low 8-10 hours, and I cooked these for 8 and they are over done,,, how do I avoid overcooking in the future? Many thanks,,,,
    Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:35 pm
    Forum Host
    Pork Loin to me is a cut that cooks up dry, not a lot of fat in it. I look for country ribs from shoulder or butt - you can see the fat marbling the meat, and I've never had those turn out dry.

    $1.99 for loin seems very cheap. I saw shoulder cut ribs for 1.79 in the market today, and I thought that was a good price.

    It sounds like you did things well, I do some stirring and poking, and don't generally need to add a lot of time to recipes, since modern cookers run hotter, and you are not losing as much heat as you used to.

    My vote is that it was the meat. With leaner cuts, you cook for a shorter period of time, although I am troubled that you did check and found them tough. Chicken breasts can be dry at 3 hours, for example, and thighs/drumsticks can go four, even five hours. This is a bit of an odd one.

    And the meat does not have to be covered - I do a shoulder roast with 1 cup of liquid, and it always comes out juicy, but the meat is very well marbled to begin with.
    Red Apple Guy
    Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:00 pm
    Forum Host
    Well said duonyte. I would cook pork loin to 160 F or so and it would not be "falling apart" but juicy and tasty. That was a great price. I prefer fatty cuts but these ribs were really just strips of pork chops and when cooked to 190F became dry.

    Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:21 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Would I be better off then to use the cooking probe and set it to the desired safe eating temperature? This way the ribs get to say 180 while im at work, then it automatically cycles to keeping it warm mode? Im getting great feedback but Im getting a bit confused,, I mean, some of these recipes are calling for anywhere from 6-8-10 hrs,, and im getting feedback that suggests (for example)the chicken can start to dry out after 4-5 hrs? Thanks
    Red Apple Guy
    Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:13 pm
    Forum Host
    I know it's confusing, but the key is internal temperature considering the cut of meat. Time of cooking in a recipe depends on the crock pot used and the level of food in the crock pot. Some brands cook very hot and fast, while others don't. If the meal doesn't fill the crock pot from 1/2 to 2/3 full, then the recipe times are undependable.

    So...I recommend forgetting about the times in a recipe and going by internal temp. Your idea about the ribs is probably correct. Cook by internal temp if your pot allows that. For chicken, 170F in the breast. For pork loin, 160 F. For cheap cuts, go for 190 to 200F for fall-apart tender.

    Sat Dec 31, 2011 2:52 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Thanks for all the help,, I certainly learned alot so far, and I am off to get some ribs for tomorrow. I would like to confirm one thing however. If I use another recipe for ribs that calls for say 8 hours, and I set to cook with the internal temp for say 190 degrees, and I set this up before I leave the house for work,,, and in theory, the ribs hit the 190 deg setpoint in say 4 hours, then the crock switches to keep warm mode automatically and stays in that state for an additional 4-5 hours until I get back home,,, all is safe for eating correct? And it shouldnt be overcooked correct? Thanks,,, and Happy & Healthy New year to all!
    Red Apple Guy
    Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:03 pm
    Forum Host
    4 or 5 hours at warm is a little long; but the theory is correct. Again, set the internal temperature for the cut of meat.

    Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:24 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Excellent,,, thank you sir!
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