Sir Dave is not going to be super thrilled that I’m sharing this recipe since it uses a pre-made rub and a pre-made sauce. He is typically very serious when it comes to making his own rubs and bbq sauce, especially for ribs. But one Saturday a few weeks ago, we had the hankering for some smoked ribs and we happened to have Lillie’s Q’ Carolina Dirt Dry Rub and Brownwood Farms Cherry BBQ Sauce on hand, so we figured we’d kind of wing it and see if these flavors worked together.
OOH BUDDY! It worked.
These ribs ended up being my favorite, maybe of all time. Like, I kind of got mad every time Dave took another rib, because it meant one less for me. And I’ll give you the caveat that I think in general fruit BBQ sauce is a little weird but it worked perfectly here. I went right on Amazon and bought more right away for my ‘in case of zombie apocalypse’ stash in the basement.
Knowing the magic of these ribs, I obviously had no choice but to ask my dreamy Sir Dave to make them for my upcoming 35th birthday soiree with my best pals. And of course he couldn’t say no to the birthday girl. 😉 Recipe below!
2 slabs baby back ribs
1 1/2 cups of Lillie’s Q Carolina Dirty dry rub
2/3 cup Brownwood Farms Cherry bbq sauce
3 tbs butter
1 can of beer
As a quick note on the type of ribs – you can also use spare ribs, but keep in mind the cook time differences – we prefer baby back ribs, which need 3-4 hours of smoke time at a temperature of 225 while St. Louis or spare ribs take 5-6 hours of smoke time at the same temperature.
First things first, remove the membrane from the underside of the slabs, to do this you need to get a knife under the membrane. Once you have a slit in the membrane, use a paper towel to help you grip the membrane and just peel the whole thing off. This piece is chewy and keeps the flavor out so you really do need to remove it. Then trim any excess fat.
Next up rub the rub (yep, that’s what I said) all over the slabs liberally, about 1/2 cup a slab (the remaining 1/2 cup will go in the mop), then let the ribs sit for at least 3 hours in the fridge. In the meantime, get your smoker preheated and up to the temperature of 225 degrees, which needs to remain consistent through the smoking process. A digital thermometer works best to track the temperature accurately.
Before you get the ribs on the smoker, you need to make the mop. Add 1/2 cup of the rub, one can of beer and 3 tbs of butter to a small sauce pan and simmer this together until well mixed. Set aside.
When you’ve got the smoker up to temp, add the ribs meat side up. Once on the smoker, add wood chips every hour on top of the charcoal to get some good smoke flavor. Dave uses a mixture of wood chips, but many people use hickory for ribs. After the first hour, begin using the mop to baste the ribs (if you mop right away all the rub will come off). Also if you’re looking you’re not cooking so only open the smoker when necessary.
The above in-action shots were taken by the fabulous Dana J. Ardell.
For the last hour, wrap each slab individually with heavy duty foil and put a bit of the mop in there. This tenderizes the meat a bit.
The ribs are done when the meat has pulled back about a quarter inch from the bone (you can see the bone sticking out) and when they pass the bend test – pick the slab up with tongs on one end, the surface of the meat should “crack” if they are done.
Last, glaze the ribs with the bbq sauce and crank the heat a bit to about 275-300 degrees if you can get it that hot for a few minutes just to caramelize the sauce. Be sure to just glaze it – don’t put too much sauce on the ribs because you still want to taste the rub and the smoke. Some people don’t even do this step and just serve the ribs dry with sauce on the side.
Voila, delicious ribs!