Barbequed ribs are initially seasoned with a dry rub, kept moist during cooking with a mop (no, not that mop), and finished off with barbeque sauce. Make the dry rub first and then prepare the mop and sauce as the ribs cook.
2 racks baby back ribs, 2 - 2.5 lbs each
4 chunks hickory wood (not chips), soaked in water for several hours
1 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
3/4 cup apple juice
1/2 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon molasses
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup apple juice
1 1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 table spoon barbeque sauce (from above)
1. Mix the rub ingredients.
2. Remove the silverskin from the back of each rack of ribs. You'll need to loosen some of it with a very sharp knife and then pull it away from the meat with a paper towel while you hold the ribs down. This step is very time consuming if you don't know what you are doing (us included), so get a butcher to do it if you can.
3. Season the ribs with the rub, putting more on the meaty side. Do not press the spices into the meat.
4. Prepare a two zone fire for low heat (with maybe 10-12 coals pushed to the side of the grill), between 250-350 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure the coals cover no more than 1/3 of the surface of the grate. Place a large disposable drip pan on the empty side of the charcoal grate. Fill the pan about halfway with warm water.
5. Arrange the ribs on a rib rack, with all the ribs facing the same direction. Make sure the ribs are as far away from the coals as possible, with the bone sides facing towards the charcoal.
6. Drain 2 chunks of the hickory and place them on top of the charcoal. Close the lid and close the top vent about half way. Let the ribs cook and smoke for about an hour. During this time, maintain the temperature between 250 and 350 by opening and closing the vent.
7. In a small saucepan, mix the barbeque sauce ingredients. Simmer for a few minutes over medium heat, and then remove the saucepan from the heat.
8. After the first hour of cooking, add 8 to 10 unlit charcoal briquettes and the remaining 2 hickory chunks (drained) to the fire. At the same time, lightly baste the ribs with some mop. Leaving the lid off for a few minutes while you baste the ribs will help the new briquettes to light. Close the lid and cook for another hour. During that time, maintain the temperature carefully.
9. After 2 hours of cooking, add 8 to 10 briquettes to the fire. Remove the ribs from the rack, spread them out on a clean work areas and baste them thoroughly with some of the mop. Put them back in the rib rack, again all facing the same direction but this time turned over so that the ends facing down earlier now face up. Also position an ribs that appear to be cooking faster than the others toward the back of the rib rack, farther from the charcoal. Let the ribs cook for a third hour. During that time, maintain the temperature.
10. After 3 hours of cooking, check to see if any rack is ready to come off the grill. They are done when the meat has shrunk back from most of the bones by 1/4 inch or more. When you lift a rack by picking up one end with tongs, the rack should bend in the middle and the meat should tear easily. If the meat does not tear easily, continue to cook the ribs. The total cooking time could be anywhere between 3 to 4 hours. Not all racks will cook in the same amount of time. Lightly brush the cooked ribs with some sauce and, if desired for crispiness, cook them over direct heat for a few minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and tightly cover with aluminum foil. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.