Monday, September 30, 2013

Smoked Pork Spare Ribs

Followers of this blog know that I ditched my smoker a few years back. It was a Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker and it required a lot of labor to smoke ribs. Charcoal, water pan, cooking grates and adjustable air vents...all had to be kept in perfect synch to make the smoking process come out right. Way too much work for me.

But I missed that taste of pork ribs slow cooked over hickory. My friends Ron Benza, John Ebeling and Jeff Pinkham were always posting about their smoking endeavors...and it started gnawing a little hole in my brain. I started researching smokers and after consulting with Jeff Pinkham, I decided to follow his lead and get a Cookshack Electric Smoker.

Their smokers are built like the Rock of Gibraltar. All stainless steel and the temperature is maintained by a computer controlled thermostat. No charcoal. No water pans. No vent management. All you need are two ounces of hickory and some meat. Plug it in, set the temp, seal the door and that's it.

On my maiden voyage, I smoked pork spare ribs. I was skeptical that just two ounces of wood would be sufficient, but it was the perfect amount of smoke in the meat. Now I followed the Cookshack recipe to a "T", which said to cook the ribs at 225º for four hours. I did that, but the ribs came out a little too rubbery for my tastes. I like my meat so tender that it literally falls right off of the ribs.

I talked to Jeff Pinkham about my results and he said I need to wrap the ribs in foil to achieve the tenderness I was looking for. I did some research online and found what many consider to be the bible of the smoking cognescenti. Jeff Phillip's book, "Smoking Meat" went into great detail on how to achieve the tender meat I so desired. He calls his method 3-2-1. Three hours of smoke, two hours in foil and another one hour in smoke.

So I tried that Saturday night and the ribs came out perfectly. The perfect amount of smoke and the most tender meat I have ever tasted. Nirvana. While you can serve them up with your favorite BBQ sauce, I find these ribs absolutely delicious as is. This recipe serves four.

 Now that I have conquered ribs, I will be moving on to beef brisket! Watch this space.....

2 racks pork spareribs
6 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 bottle Famous Dave's Rib Rub
2 ounces hickory
12 ounces beer


  1. Preheat smoker to 225º.
  2. Remove ribs from package and pat dry with paper towels. 
  3. Put 3 heaping tablespoons of Dijon mustard on the top each rack (bone side down). Spread mustard to coat entire top of ribs.
  4. Sprinkle Famous Dave's Rib Rub on top of mustard to fully coat the ribs.
  5. Place ribs in smoker. Add hickory. Close door and cook for 3 hours.
  6. After 3 hours, remove ribs and wrap each rack separately in foil. Before sealing foil, add 6 ounces of beer to bottom of each foil pack.
  7. Put foiled ribs back in smoker and cook for 2 hours.
  8. After 2 hours, remove ribs from smoker and toss foil. Put ribs back in smoker and cook for 1 more hour.
  9. Remove ribs from smoker and slice between each bone. Serve.

Wine pairing: A big, fruity Zinfandel

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