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How-To Tuesday – How to Smoke Ribs


This How To Tuesday post is brought to you by the pork that was in my freezer, and the letter N. Now there is a difference between grilling and barbecue. Grilling is what you do to a steak when you cook it on direct heat for a short amount of time. Barbecue is cooking on indirect heat for a long time so the long “low and slow” cooking process breaks down the tissues inside the meat making it more tender. If you have a hot fire directly under the food, you are not barbecuing, you are grilling. Indirect heating is easy to set up on gas or charcoal. For gas, turn off the center burners and light the side burners. Place the food in the middle and slow cook on medium to low heat until the meat gets to safe cooking temperature. For charcoal, lower the basket to the lowest setting, put a drip pan in the middle, and put the coals on the outside. Put the food in the middle and cook until desired temperature is reached. You can soak wood chips and put them on top of the charcoal to add an extra smoky flavor. Lets not get ahead of ourselves…

The grill is set up for indirect heating. Notice the coals on the outside, with a drip pan on the inside. The drip pan helps keep the food moist. I like to put apple juice or other flavored liquid in mine to spice it up a little.

Step 1. Set up your grill for indirect heating. Light a chimney of charcoal, place a drip pan in the middle. (To make a drip pan, you can take 2 sheets of aluminum foil and fold up the edges.) Lay the charcoal evenly on both outer sides of the drip pan. If you want to smoke the ribs, soak the wood chips in water for 30 minutes, drip dry them off and put them on top of the coals. Put 1/2 cup apple juice in the drip pan. Replace your grill grates.

You can tell when charcoal is lit when you see little flames in between them.

Plastic mushroom trays from the grocery store are perfect containers for soaking wood chips.

World’s cheapest drip pan: Foil folded up on the edges.

Step 2. Prep the meat. I use the “Kansas City Barbecue Rub” available here.

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 3 tablespoons seasoned salt
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon celery salt
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground sage
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard

Make it ahead of time, put it in a pint jar and you’ll always have it on hand. When you rub the meat with any seasoning, give it a little massage, and get the spices worked in well. I used country spare ribs, owing to their cheapness and easy-to-cookness.

Step 3. Put the meat on the grill and set the timer. Once I got it settled, I poked a meat thermometer through the smoke vent, and it registered about 190-200. I set a timer for 1 hour to remind myself to go out and turn the ribs. After half an hour, start a second chimney of charcoal.

Step 4. After an hour, turn the meat. It’s important that you don’t open the lid unless you are turning the meat, adding coals or other necessities. After about an hour, you will need to add more coals. Add the coals by squeezing them through the grates on the edge. Most grills have spots on the sides for adding more coals.

Step 5. 20 minutes before the meat is done, baste with barbecue sauce:

  • 1 cup your favorite barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup honey

Heat the barbecue sauce and honey over medium heat until boiling. Baste the meat with the glaze and turn one last time, basting both sides.

Step 5. Stick a fork in them, they’re done. Check the ribs internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Pork should be cooked to 160 degrees.

Step 6. Serve with something tasty, like Grilled Potatoes and Cobbler.

  1. Yum. This looks so easy that even I might not screw it up. Please come here and make it for me, will you? Thanks for linking up, brotha!

  2. Right up my husband's alley! Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Nice! This is good stuff. I'll still leave it to my husband, but he'll appreciate it too! Thank you!

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