Smoked BBQ Baby-Back Ribs
By: Justin Rampert
Perfecting my skills as a backyard pitmaster should tighten any grip of a dog walkers leash. The sweet smoky aroma bellowing out from the steel barrels gut is a certain cause for spastic salivation. Even Scooby-Doo would jump off his screen to take a bite. Cooking is unmistakably my hobby of generosity. If there’s a hungry pack in the distance I’ll be waiting to feed and clear any unpaid debts between them and myself. Anyway, this Summer ‘s heat was the lone opportunist towards fueling me to work on my golden crisp tan meanwhile keeping an unkempt eye on whatever laid in the belly of the beast. The most common of my American Barbeque cuisine was smoked baby back ribs.
Baby-back ribs, something Mark Zuckerberg is familiar with (if you know, you know), have become the staple of my pitmastery. Cheap, easy and one of the least time consuming things to cook, BBQ baby-ribs are essential to any outdoor gathering. For anyone who’s looking to make a dinner for a family or snack with some friends should pay close attention to what I’m about to share. First off you’re going to need a smoker and get it pre-heated while you do prep work on the meat. For beginners I recommend using charcoals briquettes as fuel because they burn slow and even during the entirety of the cook. As for the wood you’ll be smoking in I recommend Applewood, Hickory or my favorite Cherrywood. While your smoker is heating up to 225-250 degrees fahrenheit, prep your ribs by cleaning off any dangly pieces of fat and peel off the tough membrane from the boneside of the rack. After that, apply a generous coating of mustard: NOTE this is optional and only helps when binding your seasoning to the meat and the taste is relatively non-existent to the end product. Sprinkle on a generous or light coating of your favorite seasoning and let the meat sit for maybe 10-20 minutes until some of its moisture is drawn out.
Now that prepping is done you're going to cook the ribs based on a timed method called the 2-2-1 (traditionally 3-2-1 but these ribs are smaller allowing for shorter cooking time). Essentially this means they’ll cook two hours on the pit to grab as much smokey flavor as possible. During this time you should gently baste or “mop” your ribs every 30-45 minutes to keep the outer coating nice and moist. THIS IS IMPORTANT for keeping the ribs from drying out and creating a nice “bark” on the exterior of the meat. For the next two hours you’ll want to remove them from the pit, grab a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil and add about 3-4 Tbsp. of brown sugar, 3 Tbsp. of butter and a light drizzle of honey. Gently place your ribs meat side down on the ingredients and tightly wrap them in the aluminum foil. Carefully add the ribs back to the smoker and let them cook for 2 more hours. When times up use a meat thermometer to probe the thick part of the ribs and look for a temperature of 195-205 degrees fahrenheit. This is the target range when they’re done. If they’re not done by the end of the next 2 hours, that’s okay just let them go a little longer till they’re done.
When they hit the desired internal temp, remove the ribs from the smoker, unwrap them and make sure they rest for 20 minutes before cutting and serving. Each time I smoke ribs I can notice them getting tastier and tastier with each rack. It just takes time and practice and the most beautiful thing about it is, it doesn't have to be perfect. With the Fall season quickly approaching I know I won’t have as much time to make succulent BBQ, but this recipe is one that has me coming back every time and everyone surely enjoys it!
Preheat your smoker to 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit with charcoals and set aside any wood you’ll be using to smoke.
Trim/clean your ribs, apply your favorite BBQ rub and let them sit for 10-20 minutes.
Place your ribs on the smoker bone side down and let them smoke for 2 hours
Remove the ribs and wrap them in the aluminum foil with more brown sugar, butter and honey and
place them back on the smoke meat side down for another 2-3 hours (temperature dependant)
They’re ready to serve when you register an internal temperature of 195-205 degrees fahrenheit.
After they’ve hit your desired temperature let them rest for another 10-20 minutes and they are ready to slice and serve!