Smoking Baby Back Ribs
Smoking baby back ribs take time but the results are worth it if you do it correctly. The first thing that you will need is two or three racks of baby back ribs. Keep in mind that smoking baby back ribs is rewarding, but also a very fun process and it produces that is rather inexpensive considering the amount of people that it will feed. 4 to 6 racks of pork ribs can usually feed about 6 to 8 people. See here if you are smoking ribs for a crowd. Important note: please read through this whole post before starting if you want to do the beans. I talk about the beans second but they have to be cooked simultaneously with the ribs.
The baby back ribs are not as large or meaty as normal pork loin spare ribs but what they lack in size they make up for in flavor and tenderness. With that in mind, you will not need to spend as much time smoking baby back ribs as you would need to with spare ribs so. Also, because there is less meat, the smoke does not have as much to penetrate so you will want to make sure that you keep the amount of smoke in check. In my opinion, baby back ribs that have been smoked too much and that have that smoky pinkness all the way to the bone are just way too rich. If they are too rich, then people won't want to eat as many and it also limits the amount of sauce that you can add. Barbecue sauce by itself is very rich and most are loaded with various sugars, so smoking baby back ribs for too long will only ruin what what many look forward to before eating: smothering the ribs in sauce.
The first step is to buy the baby back ribs. Figure 1/2 to 3/4 rack per adult and 1/3 per child. You will want to coat them with your favorite seasonings or rub and then let them set overnight in the refrigerator. If you do not have a rub, just make one up. I like to use brown sugar, sea salt, lots of pepper, cayenne, chili powder, onion powder, plenty of garlic powder, and some basil. As I have mentioned in another post, don't be afraid to experiment with your barbecue rub. You can also coat the baby back ribs in mustard or light syrup prior to applying the rub if you want; the mustard will help the spices stick to the ribs and it will cook off during the smoking process. Letting the rib rub set in overnight is a good idea but not vitally important; if you don't have time then just sprinkle the rub on before putting the ribs on the smoker.
For smoking baby back ribs, you will want to smoke them only until they are about 1/8 inch penetrated with pink smokiness. Instructions on smoking or how to set up your rib smoker can be found in my other post. After several hours of light smoking, remove the ribs and let stand for approximately 20 minutes.
Wrap in double layers of a good high quality aluminum foil. Make sure that the dim side of the foil is facing inward toward the meat. Again, let set over night in fridge. Not necessary but this step will allow the the smoke to cure into the meat and the result will be a more distinguished smoke flavor.
Next step is to slow cook in the oven for about 4 to 5 hours, depending on how many racks you are doing at once. The more you are doing, the less oven heat will get to each one so you will have to extend the time accordingly. The key in this step is to keep the baby back ribs tightly wrapped in that foil. Prior to this step though, open one of the racks and cut 3 to 4 ribs off and put aside for later.
Put these wonderful smoked baby back ribs together with some nice smoked bbq beans and you will have a real crowd pleaser going.