I don't know about you but my favorite time of year is summer! This is when I start doing a lot of grilling and now smoking. One of the summer foods that I really love is smoked baby back ribs. This is something that up until about a month ago if I wanted I had to go to my local barbecue carry-out to get. Now I have a smoker and have started to smoke a lot of stuff. Ribs were the first thing that I smoked and then came whole chickens which will be another post (watch out for Apple Wood Smoked Chicken Pot Pie).
When I was first presented with the smoker I was really really scared because it was something that I had never done before and it just seemed really scary! I've now been using it for over a month, and with this being Memorial Day weekend it's going to be working over time. You don't need anything fancy the smoker that we purchased was around $70 at Home Depot, and is electric which even though it is electric it must still be used outdoors, and then you need to purchase smoker wood chips or wood chunks. I like to use fruit woods because they give off a nice sweet taste. A couple accessories that we purchased, but aren't necessary but really really helpful, is a rib rack and a chicken roaster stand. These keep the food off of the grill grate meaning easier clean-up! Two other things that you will want to have that you probably already have in your kitchen are a meat thermometer (don't want to serve undercooked ribs) and an oven thermometer (my smoker didn't come with a temperature gauge and maintaining the correct temperature is very important).
The key to having your ribs turn out right is that you need to keep the smoker at a constant temperature of 325*. The way that you are going to maintain the temperature is by keeping the smoker smoking, and that means that you will need to occasionally add more wood. I have used both wood chip and wood chunks and they both work great the only difference besides the sizes is that with the wood chips you soak them in water for about 30 seconds and the wood chunks have to be soaked for 20 minutes.
Now let's get to the really really yummy recipe!
1 1/4 cups Paprika
1 1/2 tbps packed dark brown sugar
1 tbsp fresh ground pepper
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dry mustard powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1. Mix all ingredients together.
|I only had cumin seeds so I made it in my mortar and pestle.|
Baby Back Ribs
1 rack baby back ribs
Barbecue Rub (see above recipe)
Barbecue Sauce of Choice (We used Wegman's Brown Sugar barbecue sauce which is dairy-free and Gluten-free)
Apple Wood Smoker Chips or Chunks
1. Do not skip this step, unless you like tough ribs!!! Using a paring knife you will need to remove the membrane (or the ribs will be tough). To do this take the paring knife and peel a piece of the clearish white membrane back and then carefully pull it off the entire rack.
2. Once the membrane is removed coat both sides of the ribs with the rub. Then wrap in plastic wrap and let marinate in fridge for at least an hour.
|Ready to go in fridge!|
3. Before starting your smoker add water to the water pan (mine holds 2 liters) and add your smoker wood chips/chunks. I also wrap my grills racks in foil for easier cleanup and helps to prevent flare ups. Heat smoker to 325*.
|Brickman Electric Smoker|
|My applewood chunks|
4. Once the temperature of the smoker is up to 325* you can add the ribs. Cook ribs until the meats internal temperature reads 170*. Next you will brush the ribs with barbecue sauce and cook until internal temperature is 180*. When done let rest on the counter for a minimum of 10 minutes before cutting. If you skip this step when you cut into the ribs the wonderful juices will gush out onto your counter.
|Time to add more wood chunks/chips!|
|Ribs after an hour. The rub has turned into an amazing crust!|
These are two racks of ribs that we cut in half to fit the rack.
These ribs took around 3 - 3 1/2 hours to cook