This is my second post on ribs. They are a favorite around the house. When preparing at home, I go for a little more spice then when smoking ribs for a group. I also use a St. Louis cut rather than a full slab. When your local store gets a double order and marks them down to a few cents over cost, I will gladly buy a full case and fill the freezer.
Since these ribs are already trimmed, the only thing left to do is remove the silver skin or membrane. I start by sliding a butter knife under the membrane to loosen it, then grab it with a paper towel and pull it off. This helps let both the rub and smoke penetrate the meat.
Next make the rub. In a medium bowl combine:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons Lawrey's seasoned salt
2 tablespoons mustard powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
or for more heat,
1 teaspoon chili powder and 2 teaspoons chipotle powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
Generously coat both sides of the slab. Then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours.
Remove from the refrigerator and allow to reach room temperature.
While the slab is resting, prepare your smoker.
I begin with a ring of charcoal and several chunks of peach and apple wood soaked in water for a couple of hours. Light one end and allow about a half an hour for the coals to light. The fire will slowly burn around the circle, keeping the fire burning for the entire smoke. It will also keep the temperature around 225 to 250 degrees.
Next, I add a water tray to diffuse the heat and add moisture. If you don't want to use water, use apple or pineapple juice.
Once the smoker has settled to around 225 degrees. add the ribs. Close the lid and let the smoker do its job. Don't keep opening the lid to check the ribs, or your temperature will drop drastically.
While on the topic of smoke, a wisp of smoke is all that is needed. When I see people open a smoker and a cloud of smoke billows out, all I think about is how bitter the meat will taste.
Keeping an eye on the temperature is more important than constantly checking the meat. If using a probe thermometer, cook to about 150 degrees. If not, check after the first hour and then every half an hour until the meat starts to shrink on the bone, exposing the tips of the bone.
Again for safety's sake, check the temperature with a meat thermometer, shooting for 150 degrees.
Remove from the smoker and wrap in heavy foil, and allow to rest at least 15 to 20 minutes. It will continue to rise in temperature, and the juices will redistribute giving you juicier ribs.
Carefully slice, plate and serve.
Enjoy these juicy ribs, but be prepared, they disappear quickly.