Holy Cow – Smoked Ribs Recipe

Smoking ribs is an art form and the best rib smoker will tell you that there is not a better meal to be had. I've been smoking baby back ribs and pork loin ribs for eleven years and I have made plenty of mistakes. I've had to regrow my arm hair on three different occasions and have been introduced to the nice nurseries down at the emergency room twice. We will not discuss eyebrow hair.

I've used about every combination of ingredients in my rib rub and marinades only to realize that making the perfect smoked ribs is not so much dependent on the spices or marinades as it is on the method with which you smoke the ribs.

Having said that, I realized that submitting a specific recipe for smoked ribs is not necessarily what you need. Although I have submitted some recipes, I now want to just discuss how to smoke ribs instead of focusing solely on ingredients. Many different ingredients for rubs do well and it really just depends on your tastes. Some like their smoked rib quite spicy while others prefer a sweet or citrus taste. So, I will leave the experiment to you with regard to the seasonings; for now let's just talk about the how-to smoke ribs part.

One of the main keys to quality smoked baby back ribs or St. Paul. Louis smoked ribs is in the cooking method. Start by making sure that you have good quality wood to smoke your spare ribs with. This means untreated (no chemical treatments such as stains or pretreated, duh!) Wood. Look for wood pieces that do not have rotting bark, have not been burned before, do not have insects in them. Nice, clean pieces, regardless of size, work the best. Not too green either. Many rib smokers prefer to soak the wood in water or spiced water prior to using.

If you do not already have a smoker, please consider getting one. They can double as a charcoal grill so you will get plenty of usage out of it. For now, let's assume you have one.

Build your fire in the lower smoking section of the smoker. I start out with a normal charcoal fire before wasting wood on it. After the fire is ready, place your racks of babyback or spare ribs in the meat compartment of the! smoker. Make sure that the meat is as far away from the fire and heat as possible. If you smoke does not have a divider or some sort of heat diffuser between the fire area and the meat area then try to make one. You can use bricks or foil or just large rocks. The point here is to allow the smoke to get to the meat without allowing so much heat. We do not want to thoroughly cook the meat in this part of the process.

Shut your air valves (my wife has told me this on occasion. She is so nice to offer me smoking tips now and then), leaving only enough air flow to keep the fire at a low smolder. Rotate the ribs every couple of hours from rack to rack and turn them as well. Add wood as necessary to keep the fire alive. A note here about smoking meat and airflow: you should not shut the exhaust vent or smokestack part of your wood smoker or grill because this is the part of the smoker that allows the toxic part (carbon dioxide aka CO2) of the air to escape. Many of us are tempted to keep that smokestack valve closed thinking that it will force more smoke into the meat. While all meat is smoked with the product of the fire, you should allow the airflow to escape normally. You can counter the surge in the smoking fire from opening the exhaust lid by closing the air intake valve a bit more. Others have asked me about keeping a constant and consistent flow of air and how it can best be done. Well, the short answer is: when it comes to smoking meats, it can not be done. The fire is naturally going to get hotter and larger when you feed if more wood. And unless you have one of those giant meat smoking rigs that allows you to add in wood only once or twice, you're going to see some ups and downs in the airflow and smoke. The entire reason that more fuel is added to the fire is because the fire or smoke is becoming low; my only advice is to counter the high intense fire by closing the intake valve more and the as the wood burns down you can open the valve a bit more to allow more airflow when smoking. Smoked ribs will taste great even if your airflow and smoke exposure times are not perfectly consistent. The one thing that you do not want to do when smoking ribs is to let one fire completely die out and for the baby back ribs or spare ribs to cool down, only to be heated up again when you restart the fire source. You do not have to keep it consistent, but keep the fire going.

After about 3 to 5 hours of smoking, bringing ribs inside to cool. Double wrap smoked ribs with a quality foil. Seal them good. Wrap each slab individually. Refrigerate overnight or for several hours. The ribs should not be cooked at this point, but they should have about a quarter of an inch of smoke penetration on all sides. I have not disclosed what the experts know about smoking ribs yet, but I will.

These are not quite perfect yet, so check our website link below as we've got some great tips on how to finish these smoked ribs off so that they are perfectly smoked but still still tender as can be. Remember, we all like our smoked ribs to be tender, but not so tender that you can not pick them up. The old phrase 'fall off the bone tender' should be forgotten because nobody likes that much tenderness.