Today was a perfect day for “smokin” some ribs… The temp hit about 80 degrees this afternoon, so I uncovered the smoker and got busy. I have a Great Outdoors Smokey Mountain smoker that I purchased from Wal-mart a couple of years ago. It was inexpensive and does a great job of smoking meat. Smoking ribs are a several step process, so I’ll explain as I go. I had intended to take a photo of the ribs as soon as they came off the smoker, before they were cut, but with 3 other hungry people waiting and drooling, I forgot all about it. Take my word for it, these ribs were as good as I’ve had in any rib joint and so easy that anyone can do it, even if you don’t have a smoker. Any grill can be set up for indirect heat for smoking ribs. For expert advice about smoking ribs, go to Amazing Ribs.com
2 racks pork baby back ribs (you can also use St. Louis style ribs, but we prefer baby backs)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1/4 to 1/2 cup Rib Rub (recipe found here)
1 1/2 cups hickory chips or 4-5 hickory wood chunks, soaked for about 30 minutes (I prefer the chips, both can be purchased at Walmart)
Your favorite BBQ sauce (We like Stubbs and Sweet Baby Rays and mix the two together to get just the right amount of spicy and sweet)
Step 1: Set up your smoker. Fill the water pan with water and the wood box with drained soaked hickory chips or wood chunks
Step 2: Open your package of vacuum sealed ribs and rinse them off. I usually put down foil on the countertop, but was out today, so I put plastic wrap all over my kitchen island to keep the mess to a minimum.
Step 3: Turn the ribs over and take a knife and insert it under the membrane on the back of the ribs and lift it up, pulling it all the way off. Once you get a hold on the membrane it will come off very easily and in one piece. The membrane is tough and removing it also allows the smoke to permeate the meat better.
Step 4: Rub 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil on each side of both racks of ribs. This will help your rib rub to stick to the ribs better. Then take your rib rub and sprinkle liberally over both sides of both racks, patting down lightly with your hands to help the rub stay in place.
Preheat your smoker to 225°F and put the ribs inside. One on each rack.
Close the door and smoke for about 4 hours, or until done. Because of all the bones, you cannot take a temperature reading to see if the ribs are cooked properly. But when you lift them with your tongs, they should almost start to crack or come apart when you pick them up. I started my ribs at 1:30pm and they were ready at 5:30pm.
It is very important that you maintain a steady temperature of 225-250 degrees during the entire smoking process. For tender ribs, you want “low and slow”.
When done, remove the ribs from your smoker and brush lightly with your favorite barbecue sauce. You may serve them at this point, but I prefer to put them back in the smoker for another 15 minutes to “set” the barbecue sauce.
Enjoy!! Ribs done right are simply scrumptious!