- Make sure to get good quality baby back ribs. Some people peel off the membrane on the back of the ribs, but I can’t really tell the difference and don’t think it’s worth the hassle.
- Let the ribs sit out for 30-45 mins to get closer to room temperature.
- Fire up the smoker to 230 deg. I like using a fruity wood with ribs, like apple or cherry. Maybe throw a touch of mesquite in for a little flavor. I use a Bradley smoker with the biscuits, so I will throw in a Mesquite biscuit here and there in the stack.
- Rinse the ribs under cold water and pat dry with a towel. I usually cut full racks in half for easier handling and to fit in the smoker more efficiently. Tip: Once you dry the ribs, rub with yellow mustard. This helps the rub stick and doesn’t affect the flavor.
- Cover the entire rack with rub and let sit for 15 minutes or so. You should see the outside turning dark red.
- Once your smoker is up to temp and full of smoke, put the ribs in and smoke for around 3 hours. If you are smoking a large batch, you may have to rotate the trays every 45-60 minutes.
I like using the 3-2-1 method (revised) for ribs. It makes the meat fall off the bone and not “stick” to the bones. It’s not “authentic” in some folk’s opinions, but I like it better so that’s how I cook them.
- SO, after 3 hours in the smoker, pull the ribs and wrap each one in aluminum foil. (You can also put them into a cooking bag or covered aluminum pan and put in oven). I like to spray them liberally with Mop sauce before wrapping. Make sure there is plenty of moisture in the wrap. If you use a cooking bag or aluminum pan, put a few Tablespoons of Mop in the bottom of the bag/pan.
- Put them back in the smoker for 2 hours at 230 deg. (I actually tend to go closer to 3 hours. Again, I like the meat falling off the bone).
- Fire up the grill and set for low direct heat. Unwrap the ribs and grill for 30-60 minutes. Long enough to give the ribs a nice crust and add some grill flavor. The meat should be pulled back from the bones and easily separated. Spray the ribs with Mop as you grill, turning every 10-15 minutes. Tip: I will smoke the ribs the day before and just leave them in the aluminum foil in the fridge overnight. This lets the smoke “set” a bit more. The next day I unwrap them and throw them on the grill to warm up. This also makes a great quick meal throughout the week; just keep a few racks of ribs in the fridge!
While the ribs are smoking make your sauce. I don’t like putting the sauce on the meat, I prefer to serve the sauce in a bowl alongside the ribs.
Now you just eat until you hate yourself, and repeat!
The quantity you need depends on the meat and quantity you are smoking, so I broke it down into “parts”. Note: Since this has brown sugar, the rub gets hard so it doesn’t keep well. It’s best to only make what you are going to use:
- (5) Kosher Salt
- (3) Chile Powder
- (4) Packed Light Brown Sugar
- (3) Granulated Garlic
- (1) Ground Cumin
- (1) Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Cup Unsweetened Apple Juice
- 2 Tablespoons Cider Vinegar
- Mix together and put into a spray bottle
- 1 cup Jack Daniel’s Whiskey
- 1 cup Ketchup
- 1 cup Cider Vinegar
- 1 cup (packed) Dark Brown Sugar
- 1⁄2 cup Onion (very finely minced)
- 2 TBS Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 1⁄2 TBS Tabasco Sauce (more or less to taste)
- 1⁄2 TSP Ground Black Pepper
Combine all ingredients in a nonreactive saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer. Leave uncovered to thicken as desired. Stir occasionally with wooden spoon. The sauce will keep for several months in the refrigerator.