Note: This is a recipe for ribs smoked using an indoor smoker. For ribs smoked and cooked outside on the Big Green Egg, go to this blog entry.
So, it's Monday night after work, and I'm prepping a rack of spareribs for Tuesday dinner. I did my normal version of a dry rub, which consists of generously covering both sides of the ribs with kosher salt, pepper, paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder, and onion powder. I also added a sprinkling of cumin, cayenne, dried mustard, allspice, and nutmeg. I rubbed this all into the meat.
If you like to measure things before putting the dry rub on the ribs, I've included a standard dry rub mix recipe below. Or you can use a packaged mix like Penzey's BBQ 3000 or one you can get in the grocery store. Personally, I don't think it matters that much as long as you season the ribs well with some sort of spice rub.
I stuck the ribs in my Cameron's indoor smoker (highly recommended for its convenience and results when you don't have the time to fire up the smoker outside or you don't have an "outside") for 45 minutes over hickory. OMG. The lovely and light perfume of wood smoke wafted through the house. If we were cartoon characters, we would be floating through the air with dreamy looks on our faces, hooked to the aroma streams coming from the kitchen.
I then wrapped the ribs in foil and transferred them to a 250 degree oven to cook another 3-4 hours. They were done around 10:30 p.m. My poor daughter Christina. She kept getting out of bed, saying "Mmm, those smell so good."
When I pulled them out, I couldn't resist pulling off a couple pieces from the edges, even though it was way past dinner. The smell was intoxicating, hickory wood interlaced with smoky paprika, toasty brown sugar, and that little high note of allspice. I reluctantly put the rack in the fridge, to cool down and be ready for grilling tomorrow.
The next night, we couldn't wait to get home. I fired up the gas grill and heated it on high for about ten minutes. I then turned down the grill to medium, seared the ribs on both sides, turned the grill down to low, brushed it with BBQ sauce, and grilled it again on both sides enough to caramelize the sauce and warm the ribs through.
I served the ribs with a confetti coleslaw and extra BBQ sauce. We went through the rack in minutes. They didn't need any sauce -- they were that good. Sigh. If only there were more.
NOTE IF YOU DON'T HAVE A SMOKER OR A GRILL: You can still enjoy great ribs even if you don't have a smoker or a grill. Season your ribs as indicated above. Put on a cookie sheet, add a little (like a 1/2 cup) of beer or water, and cover with foil. Cook until tender and coming apart a little at the bottom of the bone). If you're making BBQ sauce, add a drop of liquid smoke, which is literally just liquid smoke and A-okay. Brush ribs with sauce and put under the broiler until caramelized.
Dry Rib Rub
2 tbs. paprika
1 tbs. brown sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. cayenne
Feel free to add additional spices as you desire. You can put any leftover spice rub in a jar.
2 cups ketchup
1 cup apple cider or juice
2 tbs. worcestershire sauce
2 tbs. molasses
2 tbs. cider vinegar
2 tbs. brown sugar
2 tbs. yellow mustard
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne
Some of the dry rub spice mix
In a saucepan, mix together ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook down to desired consistency.