Smoked Baby Back Ribs

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Here in the lovely Pacific Northwest, when the sun is out, I like to move my cooking outdoors!  After a long, wet winter, it was time to break out the smoker and make some ribs. 

So how do you get from this


 to this? 



It is not a quick process, but worth every minute of love and care required to make succulent, tender ribs you won’t soon forget.

First, if you are not familiar with smoking meat, there are several methods, but I use an entry level electric smoker from CookShack.  These ribs can also be made in other types of smokers, barbeque or in a pinch your indoor oven (skip the wood chips if cooking indoors). 

The magic begins at least 12 hours before the meat ever goes into the smoker.  Select  2-3 racks of good quality baby back ribs.  Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs by slipping the tip of a sharp knife under the membrane between the 2nd & 3rd ribs at the small end of the rack.  Then carefully, wiggle your fingers under the membrane until you are able to loosen it from the short end and then firmly pull the membrane toward the long end and it should pull off in one piece.  This is an important step because it allows the fat to drip out when cooking and backs them much more pleasant to eat.  Once you have removed the membrane from all of the racks, cut off any excess fat and then lightly rub both the front and the back of each with yellow mustard, set aside.

The “secret” to great ribs is in the rub, so although many rub recipes are guarded as if they were a matter of national security, I am about to share my rub recipe:

  • 2 tbsp. Kosher Salt
  • 4 tbsp.  Hungarian Paprika
  • 2 tbsp.  Turbinado (Raw) Sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Brown Sugar
  • 2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 4 tsp. Lemon Pepper
  • 1 tbsp. Chili Powder
  • 4 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 tsp.  Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 tsp. Cumin

Mix all of the ingredients together thoroughly.  Rub down each rack front and back and then wrap tightly with plastic wrap.  Then wrap again in foil.   If you want to keep you refrigerator from smelling like ribs for the next few days, I highly recommend putting the wrapped ribs in a jumbo zip lock bag.  Refrigerate at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours.

You will need wood chips if using a smoker  – I use 2 ounces of apple wood and 2 ounces of pecan wood.  Set smoker up with 3 racks.

Ready to go into the smoker

Cut the racks in half if you haven’t already done so and put two  ½ racks on each shelf, MEAT SIDE DOWN and set smoker to 225 degrees.  Now the easy part, close the door and don’t do anything except set the timer for 4 hours.

At the 4 hour mark, you will need to rotate the racks, flip the ribs over and spritz with apple juice.  Now close the door again and set the timer for 2 ½ hours.

At the 6 ½ hour mark, sprinkle with a little bit of rub and little brush on the barbeque sauce of your choice.  My personal two favorites are Emeril’s Bam! BQ Sauce, Kicked Up  and Sweet Baby Rays.

Let cook for another ½ hour for a total cook time of 7 hours.

7 hours later....Yum!

Cut the ribs between bones for easy serving and eating.  Serve with potato salad (recipe to follow tomorrow).

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4 Responses to “Smoked Baby Back Ribs”

  1. Marlon

    – The smell of boiling pasta or siienrmmg homemade sauce is the smell of home (Mom is 100% Italian).Grilling, however, is for me the smell of family, friends, and summer, so any time I go for a walk and smell the characteristic strains of smoke I get hungry and just a tad lonely, even though I’m a vegetarian and there’s not too much in the ordinary grilling repertoire that appeals (though when I’m at my Uncle Scott’s house, he will get steak from the free-range-organic-farmer next door and smoke it to tenderness, and then I pig out).Thanks for the beautiful photography, and writing as always

  2. steve

    this look great and tasty, it is very delicious food you get after smoking.

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