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Before the Derecho hit us yesterday, we were able to hit the lab to smoke up some St. Louis Spare ribs.
St. Louis Spare ribs are just spare ribs with the breast bone removed. They come from the belly section of the hog, so they contain a little more fat than loin ribs and are flatter than baby back ribs.
Here is the breakdown of the action:
The Meat: All Natural St. Louis Pork Spareribs, 1 rack
The Rub: Burn Pit BBQ All-American Rub
5 tablespoons paprika (sweet or smoked)
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons Pink Himalayan salt
2 tablespoons coarse black pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
*Mix and cover to use again – you won’t need it all!
The Mop (1 cup):
1/3 apple cider vinegar
1/3 homemade apple cider mix
The Smoker: Char-Griller Pro Deluxe with side fire box
The Fuel: Kingsford Original Briquettes with Maple wood chunks
The Method: 3-2-1
The Process: The ribs were purchased from a local grocer and already cut. Once removed from the package, we flipped them over and trimmed off the flap of meat against the bone and removed the membrane (removing the membrane is a personal preference, but you can leave it on if you choose). To remove the membrane simply stick a fork under the membrane to raise it and then use a paper towel to slowly pull the membrane off. This can be a little tricky, so keep working at it. We then trimmed any excess fat underneath the membrane.
Next, we gave both sides a good coat with our All-American Rub. Some like using a binder like yellow mustard before putting on the rub, for this smoke, we went without it. We set them in the fridge uncovered while the smoker was getting up to temp.
We started our chimney of coals right before we started prepping the ribs. By the time we were done prepping, the coals were about ready to be dumped into the firebox. It didn’t take long to get the smoker temp to 225, right where we wanted it. We threw some maple wood chunks on for great smoke flavor and then put the ribs on bone side down.
After about an hour we hit the ribs with a mop baste of apple cider vinegar, home made apple cider, water, and a sprinkle of the rub. We lightly basted the meat every 45 mins to help keep them moist. At the same time, we needed to replenish the firebox with exactly 17 new briquettes to help keep the temp at 225.
After about 3 hours, it was time to wrap so they didn’t get too dark or develop an over-smoked flavor. We used heavy duty foil. Before putting the meat in the foil, we put down a layer of light brown sugar, butter, and honey. The ribs were placed meat side down and wrapped with a tight seal. Once in the foil, we placed the ribs back on the smoker, meat side down, for another 2 hours. Keeping the temp at about 225, we had to replenish the coals every hour.
After we reached the 2-hour mark, it was time to check the internal temp. They were at 193, which is right where we needed them to be (the internal temp for ribs should be around 190-203, that’s when the collagens and fats melt to make them more tender and juicy!)
For the last part, we unwrapped them and cranked up the heat a little to 250. Some like to put on their favorite BBQ sauce at this point to let it caramelize, our ribs were looking great and had some nice juices from the butter/honey/brown sugar mix they were wrapped in. We decided not to add any additional sauce on the top. We kept a close eye on them from that point, we didn’t want any of the sugars or glaze to burn. 45 minutes later they looked perfect, so we took them off to rest.
To serve, we cut them up in single bone pieces and served with a BBQ sauce on the side.
Overall, the ribs turned out great and family loved them! That’s what it’s all about right! What we would do differently next time: Check the forecast! We hope you got some value out of this recap.
What’s your go to recipe for ribs? Let us know in the comments….
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