Rib time!

Cooking ribs is a constant work in progress for me.  Add this, remove that, more time / less heat, higher heat / less time, foil time, type of wood for smoke, new rubs, types of sugar, etc.  There are so many variables in cooking ribs that unless you only change one at a time, it is quite hard to exactly replicate the taste and texture once you finally get your ribs to a perfect 10.  What works for me may not always work for you, but here is something to try. A word of caution……I really, really like sweet ribs.  If you don’t like sweet ribs, skip this post and go read about something else.

Ingredients:

Fire up your smoker and get the temperate as close to 245 as you can.  Don’t overshoot the temperature if you are using a kamado style egg cooker or it will take a significant amount of time to drop the temperature back down to a reasonable level.  Use a liquid pan in the smoker.  I have used water and apple juice at different times, but can’t tell the difference between the two in the finished product.

Pull the membrane off the back of the ribs and apply a thin layer of yellow mustard to each side.  Apply the Rebel Butcher rub evenly across both sides of the ribs.  I buy this rub in a large box that is roughly 20 pounds if I remember correctly.  Then break the rub down into small zip lock bags for storage in the freezer until ready for use.

Always use fresh rub.  If the rub has been in your cabinet for over a month, toss it out.  At best, the flavor will be weak.  At worst, the old rub will have absorbed something from your cabinet that makes your prized ribs taste like cinnamon, cilantro or ginger.

Once you have the rub on the ribs, let them sit in a refrigerated environment for an hour or so while your smoker is getting up to temp.  Then place the ribs bone side down and cook with a smoker temperature as close to 245 degrees as you can for 2 hours.  While the ribs are sucking up heat and smoke, spray them with pineapple juice every 30 to 40 minutes.

After your ribs have cooked for 2 hours, you begin the wrap process.  Tear off a large section of heavy duty aluminum foil of sufficient size to completely wrap each slab of ribs.  Do not skimp on the heavy duty foil with some cheap store brand.  With the aluminum foil down, evenly spread a thin layer of turbinado sugar.  Then a stripe of the Tiger Pepper Jelly.  Then a stripe of Parkay squeeze butter. Then a layer of Blackburn syrup.  Then a layer of honey.  Lay a slab of ribs meat side down on the ingredients.  Repeat all of the ingredients to the bone side that is now facing up.  Wrap the foil tightly around the slab of ribs and return to the smoker.  Cook the wrapped slabs for somewhere between 45 minutes to an hour.

There are plenty of people out there advocating what is known as the 3-2-1 method of 3 hours on the grill, followed by 2 hours in foil and then finished with 1 hour back on the grill.  In my experience, a 3-2-1 cook results in ribs that are well overdone.  Ribs should have some slight degree of resistance.  Ribs aren’t pulled pork.  If you disagree and want your ribs to fall completely off the bone, go with the 3-2-1 method or just toss them into a crockpot you rib hating communist.

After the ribs have been in the foil cooking for their 45 minutes to an hour, use gloves to remove them from the cooking area.  They will be incredibly hot……close to napalm.  If, contrary to my advice above, you skimped on the heavy duty foil it will now fail.  The liquid will fall on your feet causing burns and you will probably drop your ribs on the ground.  Good news for the dog, but not so good for you.  Go with the heavy duty foil!

Open the foil and return the ribs to the smoker with the meat side up.  Retain the liquid from the foil and mix it half and half with Sweet Baby Ray’s.  Brush on a layer of your retained liquid/Baby Ray’s to the ribs and then dust them very lightly with turbinado sugar and the Rebel Rub.  Wait 30 minutes and apply another layer of flavor by repeating the process.  Given them another 30 minutes on the smoker and you will have finger licking ribs.

That’s all.  It isn’t hard, but the process is time consuming.  About the only way to ruin ribs with this recipe is to get distracted during the cook and overshoot the times or temp.

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