While it is relatively common for baby back ribs to be grilled or braised for a relatively brief period, the best results come from a low-and-slow smoking process using the right combination of wood chunks to give it a truly distinctive aroma and flavor.This smoked rib recipe is tried and tested, and makes succulent tasting ribs that are a joy to eat.
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Non-Iodized Table Salt
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar (dried out by exposing on grease-proof paper at room temperature for several hours)
5 Tablespoons + 1 Teaspoons Chili Powder
2 Tablespoons + 2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
4 Teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
4 Teaspoons Black Pepper freshly ground (important)
4 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
4 Teaspoons Onion Powder
To make great baby back ribs, you need to pick the best quality loin baby back ribs you can find, around 2lbs in size, trimming off the inner stomach-side membrane. Any remaining excess fat should again, be trimmed off and discarded.
For the dry rub, combine all of the ingredients together in bowl, and then transfer and store in an air-tight container.
Preparing the baby back ribs
Sprinkle the ribs with the dry rub a few hours before cooking and allow them to come to room temperature.
Avoid over-seasinging, a light and consistent coating is all that is required. You will see that the spices will form a pleasing red coating after sitting for about an hour or so. This is what you are looking for.
Cooking the baby back ribs
For the best results, smoke the baby-back ribs in a Weber Smokey Mountain, Big Green Egg, or a Kamado.
First of all fire up the smoker by using 12lbs or so of charcoal and 3 chunks of White oak and 2 chunks of Cherry wood. The wood chunks should be approximately 3″ in diameter.
The charcoal should be started in a chimney-style starter avoiding the use of starter fluids as this can (and usually does), impair the flavor. Wait until the charcoal has turned grey/white.
At this stage, remove the bark from the White Oak and Cherry wood, and do not soak them.
During cooking you will notice that there is far less smoke being produced as you would normally see when using moistened wood chunks, this is perfectly O.K., and the flavors will permeate the ribs just the same.
Keep the smoker’s water-pan topped up with tap water, using boiled water that has been allowed to cool slightly if you prefer, and regulate the temperature by utilizing the lower vents on the smoker only.
Avoid closing the top vent at all costs as this will produce less desirable results, and if your smoker doesn’t happen to have one, use a BBQ thermometer probe so that you can keep an eye on the smokers internal temperature.
The ribs should be placed on rib racks and cooked at around 225 degrees for 3 hours at which points the lid should be opened for the first time, and then turning the rib slabs over. At this point all vents on the smoker should be opened fully.
With the smokers vents opened, the internal temperature of the smoker should hit the 240 to 270 degree range.
Monitor the ribs progress every 30 minutes until done. You will know when they are ready as the baby back ribs will turn brown in color and the meat will have pulled down over half an inch on the longer bones, usually after 1-2 hours more smoking.
Remove the baby back ribs from the smoker and generously sauce both sides before cutting into individual ribs.
Tip: Allow the ribs to rest for at least 10 minutes prior to serving, wrapped in tin foil to preserve the moisture and delicious juices.
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