Ingredients

  • Pork ribs
  • Seasonings
  • Spray bottle
  • BBQ sauce
  • Butter or butter substitute
  • Brown sugar
  • Thermometer
  • Water

   

Total Cooking Time

  • ~4.25 hours

 

Directions

[Prep]

  • Clean smoker grate
  • Get temp between 225-250°.
    • Let smoker stabilize at desired temps for twenty or so minutes before adding food. There's no rush here.
    • Many will tell you 275° is where it's at, but I've never been happy with temps that high.
  • Pull off rib silverskin and pat dry.
    • Use a paper towel and watch a how-to (link).
  • Add water to your smoker.
    • If using a Weber Smokey Mountain, cover your water pan in aluminum foil. Otherwise, fold aluminum foil into a boat or use a disposable foil pan that is appropriate for your smoker.
    • Add water to the water pan. It helps keep the temps more stable / low and also helps keep food moist.
    • Note that the smoker takes additional time to get up to temp when water is added.
  • Layer seasonings on both sides of the ribs.
    • First goes salt, pepper, garlic (i.e. "SPG").
    • Then a light coat of all an purpose BBQ rub.
    • Finally, I recommend topping with Meat Church's Honey Hog or heavy sugar-based rub.
  • Let the rub sit for 15 minutes or so.
    • You'll know it's ready when the ribs become visibly wet
  • Add chunks of wood or pellets to your smoker.
    • Post oak, cherry, pacan, and hickory are good choices.
    • Check out my smoker wiki page for tips and wood choices.
    • These guys have a great selection of smoking wood, but shipping can get expensive.
  • Lay ribs on smoker grate.

[+ 1.0 hour]

  • Lightly spray ribs with water or something else that's wet - like apple juice.
  • Rotate the grill grate 180° to even out the cook.

[+ 1.0 hour]

  • When rub is "set", wrap.
    • "Set" means that seasoning will not come off when rubbing your finger across it.
    • Give it 10-15 more minutes if not yet set.
  • Wrap with two layers of aluminum foil.
    • Bones are stronger than foil and will poke through one layer.
  • Spread the following on to the top layer of foil:
    • Handful of brown sugar.
    • Butter, butter substitute, or spritz of apple juice / water.
    • Some of the leftover seasoning from when we started.
    • Some of your favorite BBQ Sauce.
  • Place ribs upside down on sticky mess.
  • Wrap tightly and place ribs back in smoker so they're sitting upside down.
    • Don't leave your smoker lid open during this. Controlled airflow is key to maintaining temps. "If you lookin', you ain't cookin'."
    • While on the subject, opening the lid slowly prevents a rush of oxygen from hitting your coals.

[+1.5 - 2.0 hours]

  • Unwrap and check internal temp
    • We're aiming for 200° internal.
    • Make sure you're testing temps on the inside meat and not the bones.
    • Most will tell you "timing is key!" or "just use the 3-2-1 method dummy face!" but I only trust my thermometer.
    • I've grown to trust ThermoWorks's line of thermometers. Wait for them to go on sale.
  • When we've hit internal, take ribs out and add a thin layer of BBQ sauce on top.
  • Place ribs back in smoker for 10 minutes.
    • We're waiting for the sauce to set.
  • Remove, rest for 15 minutes, slice, and serve.

 

Words From My Mouth Hole

My primary smoker is a WSM 18" and I use my own technique to get it going at 225°. However the recipe above is nothing special. It's just a combination of learning from a lot of trial and error and various approaches from many BBQ'ers.

My toddlers typically help me make a mess with applying various rubs, plus they have a lot of fun helping. Cooking is always a great opportunity to get your kids involved.

Recommendations and links were added where applicable, but I love discussing seasonings, sauces, and tools, so let me know what you all use and why.