Recipe: Best-on-the-Block Baby Back Ribs

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(Photo from Weber's Smoke™ by Jamie Purviance. Used with permission.)

Recipe from Weber’s Smoke™ by Jamie Purviance. Used with permission.

IDEAL GRILL: gas
SMOKE INTENSITY: moderate
PREP TIME: 30 minutes
COOKING TIME: about 3 hours
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: rib rack, small spray bottle
SERVES: 6 to 8

RUB:

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon pure chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 racks baby back ribs, each 2½ to 3 pounds
  • 4 large handfuls hickory wood chips, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes

 
SAUCE:

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ½ cup unsweetened apple juice
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Hot pepper sauce (optional)

 
MOP:

  • ½ cup unsweetened apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

 

  1. In a small bowl mix the rub ingredients. Using a dull dinner knife, slide the tip under the membrane covering the back of each rack of ribs. Lift and loosen the membrane until it breaks, then grab a corner of it with a paper towel and pull it off. Season the racks evenly with the rub. Arrange the racks in the rib rack, standing each rack up and facing in the same direction. Let the racks stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour before cooking.
  2. Prepare the grill for indirect cooking over low heat (300° to 350°F).
  3. Brush the cooking grates clean. Drain and add two handfuls of the wood chips to the smoker box of a gas grill, following manufacturer’s instructions, and close the lid. When the wood begins to smoke, cook the racks over INDIRECT LOW HEAT, with the lid closed, for 1 hour. Maintain the temperature of the grill between 300° and 350°F.
  4. In a medium skillet over low heat, cook the bacon until brown and crispy, 10 to 15 minutes, turning occasionally. Drain the bacon on paper towels and eat the bacon whenever you like, but reserve the bacon fat in the skillet and let it cool to room temperature. In a medium saucepan combine all the remaining sauce ingredients, except the hot pepper sauce. Add 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat, whisk until smooth, and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes. If you like a spicy sauce, season with hot pepper sauce. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
  5. In a small spray bottle or bowl combine the mop ingredients. After the first hour of cooking, drain and add the remaining wood chips to the smoker box. Lightly spray or brush the racks with the mop, particularly the areas that are looking a little dry. Close the lid and cook for a second hour. Maintain the temperature of the grill between 300° and 350°F.
  6. After the second hour of cooking, lightly spray or brush the racks with the mop, particularly the areas that are looking a little dry. If any racks are cooking faster than the others or look much darker, swap their positions for even cooking. Cook for another 30 minutes or so.
  7. After 2½ hours, the meat will shrink back from most of the bones by ¼ inch or more. If it has not, continue to cook until it does. Then remove the racks in the rib rack from the grill. Close the lid of the grill to maintain the heat. Remove the racks from the rib rack and lightly brush each rack on both sides with some of the sauce.
  8. Return the racks to the grill over INDIRECT LOW HEAT. At this point you can pile all the racks on top of one another or stack the racks two to a pile. Continue to cook over INDIRECT LOW HEAT, with the lid closed, until tender and succulent, 15 to 30 minutes. They are done when you lift a rack at one end with tongs, bone side up, and the rack bends so much in the middle that the meat tears easily. If the meat does not tear easily, continue to cook until it does. Just before serving, lightly brush the racks with sauce again. Cut the racks into individual ribs and serve warm.

 
©2012 Weber-Stephen Products LLC.