The original version of these ribs isn’t that hard to make, but not every backyarder has a smoker that will run all day at 275°F and have enough room to comfortably spread out three slabs of ribs. So this is a good substitute for using a kettle, a smaller smoker, or a gas grill. The only catch is that you’ll have to adjust the times and temperatures to your cooker. It may be a little tricky at first, but take notes and you’ll have it down perfectly after a few tries. The first couple of batches will be pretty good anyway.
- 1Prepare your cooker for indirect grilling at about 325°F, using cherry and hickory wood for flavor.
- 2In a bowl, stir together turbinado sugar and Big-Time Barbecue Rub, and spread it on the ribs (use about 2/3 on the meaty side and 1/3 on the bony side). Let rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
- 3Put ribs in the smoker, meaty side up (use a rib rack if necessary so that there is enough space). Cook ribs slowly until they are nicely caramelized, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on your equipment.
- 4Remove ribs and place on a platter or baking sheet; brush on both sides with the honey.
- 5To tenderize ribs, pour apple juice in the bottom of an aluminum foil roasting pan to a depth of about 1 inch and add the ribs, standing them on end in the pan if necessary to fit.
- 6Cover with aluminum foil, and put the pan on the grill over indirect heat at about 325°F until ribs are tender (this step can also be done in the oven). Test ribs by sticking them with a toothpick; they should be soft and tender. It should take about 1 hour, but this will vary depending on your equipment. If you have a hard time keeping your grill on low, check the apple juice frequently to make sure it doesn’t cook off; replenish as needed. At this point the ribs can be allowed to cool, wrapped separately, and reheated later. This is a great way to take ribs to a tailgate party or to prepare ahead for a party at home.
- 7When ready to serve, transfer the cooked ribs to a medium-hot grill. Brush with Thick and Sticky Barbecue Sauce and heat for just a few minutes, flipping several times, and brushing again with sauce, if you desire, until they are heated through and the sauce is caramelized. Cut into pieces and serve.
Beverage pairing: Rosenblum Aparicio Vineyard Zinfandel, Amador County, California. With barbecue you’ve got to go Zin, and you’ve got to go hard with a big one like this, from 25-year-old, dry-farmed vineyards and featuring a wealth of bramble, pepper, spice, and raspberry fruit.
This recipe, while from a trusted source, may not have been tested by the CHOW food team.