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BBQ Ribs; Secrets to Falling Off the Bone Tenderness - The Texas Crutch!
It’s easy to get fall off the bone tender ribs when cooking in an oven, when braising or when performing the ultimate BBQ sin, parboiling, but achieving that same degree of tenderness in your BBQ alone is sometimes more challenging.
Now, I don’t mind a little pull to my ribs - but for the restaurant, I need to keep people happy, and most people want falling off the bone.
I just built myself a great new BBQ pit, but I’m still getting used to how she runs, and so unfortunately, the first batch of ribs I made in it came out a little tough for my liking.
Knowing that I didn’t want to sacrifice quality while testing things out (not to mention wasting a 50 lbs of ribs!) I decided to fall back on the oldest trick in the book to tender BBQ ribs – The Texas Crutch!
The Texas Crutch – An Easy Way to Very Tender BBQ Ribs
The Texas Crutch is a technique used to increase the tenderness and moistness of BBQ ribs, pulled pork, and especially brisket. It involves starting off your meat in your BBQ smoker (or grill over smoky indirect heat) for a couple of hours and then pulling out a roll of tinfoil to make a little magic:
These are time guidelines that assume your smoker is set to about 250f, and are of course, only approximations.
- Cook your ribs as you normally would, uncovered, in your BBQ smoker for about 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, take the ribs off the heat and wrap them up well in a couple of layers of heavy duty tinfoil.
- Before you seal the tinfoil at the top, add in a generous cup or so of apple juice.
- Seal the tinfoil well (you want to catch all the steam) and then return the wrapped ribs to the smoker for another hour, still at 250f (remember to have the seal facing up, so as not to leak out all the juices.
- After an hour, take the ribs out of their wrapping, and return to the smoker for a final half hour to an hour, uncovered, still at 250.
What this does is give you the best of both worlds.
- You start out with a generous smoking time, letting the meat slowly gather in all that BBQ flavor.
- You then braise the meat in a steamy environment, which does wonders for tenderizing
- You then return the meat to the smoker for a final cook, to get back that nice BBQ crust, so as not to serve mushy looking ribs.
Like everything BBQ related, you get no shortages of opinions about the Texas Crutch, some people swearing by it – and others swearing about it! But if you’re having trouble getting fall off the bone ribs, this is a technique that you might want to try.
Falling Off the Bone!
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