This is simply THE best smoked ribs recipe. I came up with it after years and years of tinkering and trying to smoke babyback ribs. I wanted a barbeque smoked ribs recipe that was REAL. I say real because most recipies call for the smoked ribs to be baked solely indoors or else by adding fake smoke flavorings. Okay guys, all these restaurants who offer "smoked ribs" but are not actually smoking them need to be investigated.
Contrary to popular belief, the secret is NOT in the rub or the marinade, but rather in the smoking process itself. Rubs and marinades do make an impression on the taste, but in my opinion, most are good and it is fun to try various mixtures each time you cook smoked ribs. Get ready to ascend into the Hall of Flame!
Stuff you will need for the perfect smoked rib:
- A rack or two of Pork spare ribs, either babyback ribs or regular pork loin ribs will do.
- Some kind of mustard: regular, horseradish mustard, spicy, etc.
- Grab your fave rub or just make a mixture of any combination of the following: salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, etc
- Wood, small and medium pieces such as twigs and branches.
- Smoker or regular grill. Obviously the special smokers will work better but I'll explain how you can make any ol' grill work.
- Aluminum foil; I prefer the extra wide kind and quality kind.
Start by building a fire in the lower compartment of your smoker. See below if you only have a regular charcoal grill. I use charcoal to build the initial fire.
While you are waiting on the coals to gray, you can prepare the smoked ribs by coating them them mustard on both sides. Use a lot. This will be messy so do it near the kitchen sink. Don't worry about ruining your barbecue ribs because the mustard will cook off during the process. Use a large cookie sheet to prepare them on. Next, sprinkle the pork ribs with whatever rub you like. If you do not have a rib rub, then just use your favorite combination of spices. Set aside or refrigerate if your fire is going to be a while. There is a myth that you need to peel away the fatty film from the underside of the rack of ribs but I don't see the point of this as there isn't any meat on that side.
Make sure that you have the necessary wood for good smoked ribs. It takes several hours for the ribs to smoke so you may need several pieces of wood. I prefer the natural kind, but you can buy wood chunks at most grocery stores if you do not have access to wood.
..if you are using a normal charcoal grill : Build your fire to one far side of the grill and cut it off from the rest of the grill with a stack of bricks or rocks.
Remember we are not wanting to cook the ribs yet, but rather smoke them. So, try to rig it so that as little heat gets to the meat as possible (the meat is going to go on the other side of the grill; as far as possible from the flame). I use a stack of bricks to separate the fire from the meat. I have the bricks with the holes in them so it works well to let the smoke through without so much heat. You can also rig up an aluminum foil water barrier that works excellently for smoking ribs. I then rig a double-piece of aluminum to use above the rack level to cut off the heat from the fire section to the meat section. See here if you are smoking ribs for a large crowd.
Okay, place the ribs on the racks and feed the fire some of those twigs or sticks. Close most air valves in your smoker.. leaving only a crack.. just enough to keep the fire alive (ideally only as smoke). Obviously, keep the lid down. Let those smoke for about 3 to 6 hours, depending on how much meat you have on. Add wood as necessary and turn ribs half way through. If you have multiple levels of racks then it helps to switch the slabs from one to the other so you get an even smoke distribution.
Remember, try to NOT let the ribs cook. They may brown a bit but we don't want them bone-dry. Shield them with foil if necessary.
Next step: bring inside and allow to cool. Double wrap each whole slab in foil. Refrigerate overnight to allow the smoke to set into the meat.
Cooking Instructions: Leave meat in foil. Put on cookie sheet or in large pan. Put in oven at 225 degrees. Again, do NOT remove foil or else you will ruin it. You can also use a slow cooker on low if you prefer. Cook for 5 to 7 hours. Heat up your favorite bbq sauce in a small pan shortly before you plan on eating the ribs. I spice my sauce up with some warm barbeque sauce .
Enjoy your Razorback Smoked Ribs !