Smoked Ribs RecipeAuthored on August 12, 2020
By Alex Smyth
Interested in taking your ribs to the next level? You have to try out my recipe for delicious smoked ribs!
This smoking method is commonly known as the 3-2-1 method of smoking. Simply put, it is three hours of smoking with the dry rub, two hours of braising in liquid, and one hour of smoking, covered in barbecue sauce.
I use a digital smoker to make my ribs as it makes the whole process a breeze. You can set the temperature, timing, and adjust the smoke amount easily, which helps to take the guesswork out of it.
To start, I like to use St. Louis cut pork ribs, I find they are the best to smoke with because they are uniform and have consistent meat from end to end.
The first step with ribs is ensuring that the silver skin, or translucent membrane, is removed from the bone side of the ribs. If not, the smoke won’t penetrate the meat as well and the ribs will not be tender. To do this, I use a table knife and slide the tip of the blade between the second and third rib and wiggle the tip to separate a bit of the silver skin from the meat. Continue to do so until you loosen it enough to grab hold. I use a paper towel to grab the silver skin so that it won’t slip in your hands when pulling! Holding the ribs down, pull the silver skin until it is removed from the rack.
Now it’s ready for the rub! To make the rub, combine:
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Once combined, generously cover the ribs with the spice mix and rub it in so the rack is completely covered. I typically like to let the ribs rest after being rubbed for a few hours in the fridge, but that step is up to you.
To prep the smoker, set the temperature at 225 degrees Fahrenheit and set the timer for three and a half hours. (The first half hour allows the smoker to reach temperature). Another thing to consider is the type of wood you will use for the smoke. I prefer whiskey oak or pecan, as they provide a subtle flavour to the ribs.
Place the ribs in the smoker and let them smoke for three hours, uncovered. After three hours, remove the ribs from the smoker.
Now it is time to braise the ribs. This stage is really important and what helps make the ribs super moist and tender.
In a bowl, combine the following ingredients to make the braising liquid:
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons honey
- ¼ cup butter
- ½ cup apple juice
Place a sheet of foil on the counter and fold the edges into a bowl shape so no liquid can escape. Add half of the braising liquid to the bottom of the foil, then place your ribs meat side down in the foil. Add the remaining liquid on the other side of the ribs, and cover with more aluminum foil, sealing it so no liquid can escape.
Now the ribs go back on to the smoker for two hours at the same temperature of 225 degrees Fahrenheit. During these two hours, you do not need to have the smoke on. After the ribs braise for two hours, remove them from the smoker and from the foil. Reserving some of the braising liquid, combine a small amount with your favourite barbecue sauce, and generously cover the ribs in the sauce.
Return the ribs to the smoker for one final hour with the smoke on. This final hour of smoking creates a beautiful glaze with the barbecue sauce and really takes the ribs over the top!
Finally, after the last hour of smoking, the ribs are done! Take them out of the smoker and enjoy the results of your hard work!
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