Ribs cooked in plastic wrap?

OK, I was watching the latest episode of Restaurant Impossible with Robert Irvine and he showed them how to cook baby back ribs in plastic wrap. He seasoned them and wrapped them in plastic wrap, which he said could be used in the oven up to 350 degrees or so. After they were wrapped he roasted them on a sheet pan for two hour or so at 225 degrees. Came out really nice of course.

Here they are all wrapped for the oven


I’m going to try some tonight, but was wondering if any dopers had heard of this or tried it?

I saw the same episode last night (Pier West restaurant in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin) and went running to the fridge to try and jot down notes on what he did. As I recall, the seasonings were seafood seasoning (seriously, that IS what he said), cumin, paprika, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and before wrapping in the plastic he laid bay leaves on top. 2 hours in the oven at 225 degrees.

He said plastic wrap will not melt in the oven under 400 degrees, but one person tried it at 325 and the wrap did melt. Robert apologized for the misunderstanding and said “I should have said 200-225.”

Today, I looked online and found that someone also mentioned this on his Facebook page, and he gave this link to the recipe:

This recipe does NOT have the same seasonings he used on the tv episode last night. It does have the seafood seasoning, plus a lot of other things he did not mention on the show, and it does not have the paprika and smoked paprika that he did mention. But all of the readers who tried it gave it 5 stars and no one had any trouble with it.

Definitely gotta try it. In another place, he mentioned leaving it in the fridge overnight after wrapping in plastic. This would be fantastic if you wanted to make a large quantity for a party, you could do it all the day before.

Here http://www.delish.com/cooking-shows/food-tv/favorite-bbq-robert-irvine#slide-11 he also said that after doing them in plastic wrap for 2 1/2 hrs at 200 degrees, he finishes them (presumably the saucing step) on the grill.

I know plastic wrap is tested for microwave safety, but this kind of pings my “better safe than sorry” detector. Even though 225 degrees isn’t much hotter than you’d get in a microwave, the duration is a lot longer. I guess I’m not seeing the advantage versus cooking in a small dutch oven.

What’s the point of the plastic wrap? I smoke baby backs at 200-225 with no wrapping (so the smoke gets on them) with similar seasoning. I’ve also done them in the oven with the same rub, no wrapping.

When I smoke mine 1/4 of the time spent is wrapped, but in aluminum foil. Not quite what the OP specifies but ‘wrapped’ nevertheless.

Apply rub, 2 hrs at 225-250 directly on rack, bone side down.
Add Tiger Sauce, brown sugar, honey and butter, wrap and meat side down for 1 hr.
Add more rub if needed and back directly on rack bone side down for hour or as needed to finish.

Moist, tender and delicious.

I used Dizzy Pig Dizzy Dust for seasoning. I appreciate the inputs and will let you know how it goes.

Regular old plastic wrap is used in cooking a lot. The low heat needed by ribs isn’t going to melt or burn the plastic. The toxicity of polyvinylidene chloride is a controverial subject though.

As for rib cooking, I like to sear them before slow cooking. I know it doesn’t seal in the juices or anything like that, I think they just come out better that way. But if you don’t have a charcoal fire handy it may be difficult to sear them without cooking them too much.

I do the same. Some people like the softer texture that wrapping or foiling gives you. It steams the ribs and helps break down the tissue. Some people even boil their ribs before grilling shudder. I don’t like that texture, so I don’t do it.

I wonder if there’s any benefit of plastic wrap over tightly wrapped foil. It doesn’t seem like there would be.

He didn’t mention it, but now I’m thinking that perhaps in a restaurant using the plastic wrap has some advantages over other methods.
[li]Easy to see the contents[/li][li]Wrap in general allows easy storage[/li][/ol]
Another hour or so to cook!

I have in front of me a box of Glad cling wrap. It very clearly says “Microwave-safe”* right on the box. Oddly enough, it doesn’t say a damn thing about using or not using in an oven. Given Americans ’ propensity to do really stupid things and corporate lawyers’ propensity to want to put warnings on everything, I’m surprised by this glaring omission.

  • The box also says “Use of any plastic product with foods high in fat and sugar may cause melting.”

Well, the Saran Wrap did not melt, though it did appear to have shrunk a little bit. I also noticed a little whitish protein film in some areas where the wrap was tight against the meat. I’ve seen this in Sous Vide cooking so I knew what it was.

The ribs were pretty good. Of course they were not BBQ’d by most folks standards and no smoke was involved. But all in all I’d say it was a success. I agree with those who said there didn’t seem to be any advantage over foil and I’ll probably use that next time.

Did you also brush them in BBQ sauce and color them under the broiler? That adds some Maillard reaction flavors that are missing if you only cook them in foil.

I use a similar technique from Good Eats. I like to broil them afterwards without sauce so I can get some sear/char on the meat, then brush it with sauce and broil it further to get some caramel flavors.

I did use some sauce, but just put them back in the oven for a while, not under the broiler though.

Is this any different than a cooking bag? Cooking bags are much more heat-safe than plastic wrap.

Probably not much different at all. I’ve done turkeys in oven bags, but nothing else.

I have tried this guy’s method https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNMt2rBiVTY in the past, using my own rub and sauce. came out pretty good.

Mine would have been better finished on the grill, or under a salamander like Robert Irvine’s. But to be the whole point of using the oven was convenience.

I did do two slabs yesterday, and will probably finish the others on the grill. :smiley:

Two Dizzys? Yum.

There’s so much out there technique and receipe-wise for the BBQ chef now. BBQ Pitmasters is a good show with Myron Mixon, Johnny Trigg, Big Moe, etc. I think it’s on TLC.

Amazingribs.com always has good suggestions on all the different cuts, equipment, everything you need to be a hero in the kitchen and patio.

ETA: Ha! I just saw you’re from St. Louis… I know your sauce! Last night I shopped specifically for Carolina (southern) style sauces after reading so much about them, mustard, vinegar, etc. Fantastic, I’ll use them with a couple of pork butts I’m doing this weekend.