Recipe courtesy of How-to-Grill, by Steven Raichlen
If you are planning to serve ribs at this weekend's Father's Day barbecue cookout, or at any other barbecue bash this summer, this is the go-to rib recipe! It makes for some of the best tasting ribs I've ever had.
What I like best about this recipe is the use of a dry rub. While the recipe calls for a light brushing of barbecue sauce, I actually prefer the juicy, sweet and savory coating and flavor of the rib rub alone, and will serve the bbq sauce on the side for dipping. Included below is a link to Steven Raichlen's basic rib rub and barbecue sauce recipes. Another option for a great rib rub is Williams-Sonoma's Memphis Rib Rub. My friend Charlie turned me on to it last year, and I have kept a can of it on hand ever since. And I always swear by Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce.
Also, the ribs work well both with and without the smoked wood chips, in case you don't have any on hand.
Kansas City Sweet-and-Smoky Ribs
4 racks of spareribs (4 to 6 pounds total)
6 cups apple cider, plus additional for spraying the ribs
2 whole lemons (optional), halved
2/3 cup Basic Barbecue Rub or your favorite commercial brand (I prefer Williams-Sonoma's Memphis Rib Rub)
3 cups of your favorite homemade barbecue sauce or your favorite commercial brand
3 cups wood chips (preferably hickory), soaked for 1 hour in apple cider to cover, then drained; spray bottle; rib rack (optional)
1. Trim each rack of ribs or have your butcher do this for you.
2. Place the ribs in a large nonreactive roasting pan. Pour the cider over the ribs. Squeeze the juice from the lemons over the ribs, catching the seeds with your fingers. Turn the ribs a couple of time to coat all over with marinade. If desired, let the ribs marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for 4 to 6 hours, turning several times.
3. Drain the ribs and blot dry with paper towels. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the rub on both sides of the ribs, patting it onto the meat with your fingers. Let the ribs stand in the refrigerator, covered, for 1 to 2 hours.
4. Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium. If using a charcoal grill, place a large drip pan in the center. If using a gas grill, place all the wood chips in the smoker box or in a smoker pouch and preheat to high until you see smoke, then reduce the heat to medium.
5. When ready to cook, if using charcoal, toss 1 cup of wood chips on the coals. Place the ribs in the center of the hot grate, away from the heat. Cover the grill and cook the ribs for 2 to 3 hours. After 30 minutes, spray the ribs with apple cider and continue to spray every half hour until ready to brush with the sauce. If using a charcoal grill, you'll need to add 12 fresh coals and 1/2 cup wood chips per side after each hour.
6. Lightly brush the ribs with 1 cup of the sauce 20 minutes before the ribs are done. When the ribs are fully cooked, the meat will have shrunk back from the bones about 1/4 inch, and the meat will be tender enough to tear apart with your fingers. But don't overcook; the ribs should have some chew to them. If the ribs start to dry out, wrap them in aluminum foil for the last hour of cooking.
7. Transfer the ribs to plates or a platter. Sprinkle the ribs with the remaining rub and lightly brush again with barbecue sauce. Let the ribs rest for a few minutes, then serve with the remaining barbecue sauce on the side.
You can also cook the ribs in a smoker. Smoke them for 4 to 5 hours at 225°F
ALSO GOOD FOR:
This is a wonderful way to prepare baby back ribs. In this case, you'll need to allow 1 to 1 1/2 hours for indirect grilling or 2 to 3 hours for cooking in a smoker.