Smoked Pork Ribs

smoked ribs
Baked beans, grilled corn, fried squash and smoked pork ribs for dinner. Mmmmmmmm nomnomnom. Loving our new smoker!!

We bought a propane smoker this summer and we set it up in a shady area out back.  I love filling the thing up with meats and monitoring their progress from the pool.  It’s wonderful when we have a group of guests and a counter full of side dishes to go along with the smoky meats.  Potato or macaroni salad, baked beans, deviled eggs, fried squash or potatoes, grilled corn, and something cool and delicious for dessert.  They should make plastic plates a lot bigger.

Smoked Pork Ribs

Select meaty Baby Back pork ribs or St. Louis style ribs. Prepare and trim the pork ribs if the butcher didn’t it already.  I have to confess, I do not enjoy butchering meat, and so I really prefer to pay the extra money and buy the ribs already trimmed.  But, if you want to trim the ribs yourself, It is not that hard.  You go for it.

This is a good explanation of how to trim ribs: (Except: I would NOT use my fingernail to loosen the membrane of the meat.  I use a table knife) http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/05/how-to-trim-pork-spare-ribs-st-louis-style.html

One more thing before we start.  I use a ton of heavy duty foil when making these things.  I tried regular foil one time.  It’s too thin, holes get in it, and it makes me cuss.  I tried those disposable foil pans one time.  They are flimsy, hard to transport, make you think you’ve got a pan when really you don’t.  I hate them.  Use. Heavy. Duty. Foil.

3-2-1 method: Smoke 3 hours, wrap in foil and cook 2 hours, unwrap and cook 1 more hour. This method produces fall-off-the-bone smoky ribs with a textured surface crust.

Directions:
Up to three hours before cooking:
Wash ribs with cool water, remove the tough membrane on the back, and trim off any big hunks of fat. I like to cut the racks in half to make them easier to handle.
Brush the ribs on both sides with orange juice or apple cider vinegar, or use a very thin layer of mustard. This will help the seasonings stick to the meat. (I prefer the orange juice)
Sprinkle a generous layer of seasonings all over both sides of the meat. (Use your own recipe or a prepared meat rub) (I prefer my own recipe because I have not bought a meat rub that isn’t overly full of salt.)
Turn on your smoker (or make a fire on one side of your grill). Preheat to 225-250 degrees (use a thermometer if your smoker or grill doesn’t have one). Check your temperature periodically to keep it in that range throughout the process.
Use hardwood chips or pieces to produce smoke. (hickory, apple or pecan). Our smoker has a little container for those, but if you don’t, you could wrap them in a foil packet with holes punched in it, or place a hunk of wood on your charcoal.
Fill the drip pan with water or another liquid such as apple juice.
Place ribs, bone side down, on the racks, (or to one side of the fire on your grill), close lid, and smoke 3 hours, maintaining the temp between 225-250. Remove from smoker.
Brush a little of your favorite BBQ sauce on each side of the ribs, or leave plain. (I like Sweet Baby Ray’s). Wrap ribs in heavy duty aluminum foil, seal, return to smoker bone side up. Bake for 2 hours. If you prefer to do this step in your oven, that is just fine.
Unwrap ribs and finish in oven or smoker 30 minutes to 1 hour, basting with sauce if desired during the last half hour.
Let rest 10 minutes, then cut ribs apart with a long, sharp knife.

Ribs freeze very well.  I wrap them in heavy duty foil and write RIBS on the outside of the package with a Sharpie.  Then heat up in oven or on the smoker, and unwrap again for the last half hour.

Seasoning mix:
6 T. dark brown sugar
1 T. paprika
1 T. salt
1 T. garlic powder
1 T. black pepper
1 T. ground ginger
1 T. onion powder
1 T. chili powder
1 T. cumin
1/2 T. cayenne
(this makes enough for about four racks of ribs)

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