Baby Back Ribs, Baby!

Being married to the Butcher Man means I get to cook all sorts of meaty goodness! One of the things we love to eat are ribs! We love them smoked, grilled, in the instant pot, and even steamed to tender goodness in the oven (I will do a post about this eventually)!

Now that the weather is warming up (50 degrees is warm after a cold winter) I am going to share with you our Baby Back Ribs on the smoker! If you haven’t tried cooking/grilling with a smoker, or are on the fence about buying a smoker- take my advice- DO IT! You will not regret it! We love ours!

So here we go! Grab a rack of ribs from your local butcher or your favorite store. (I love my meat coming home all perfectly wrapped in the crisp white butcher paper! I can think of anything better except maybe an ice cold Diet Coke)!

Unwrap the ribs (I just leave them on the butcher paper while I am getting them ready) Remove remove the silverskin. What is a silverskin you ask? Its that slimy, thin film of who- knows-what on the bone side of your ribs- trust me, you want to remove it! You want your rub and seasonings to be able to sink right in to your meat! If your butcher already removed it, skip this step. My Butcher Man usually does this for me, but I had him leave it on so I could show you how easy (and necessary) it is to do!

To remove this lovely silverskin I take a knife and make a shallow cut length-wise down the length of the ribs. Then wedge your finger or a knife (carefully) under that slimy film and start tearing. You can also grab a paper towel and use that to get a good grip, but I usually am able to just pull that right off!

Next its time for the rub-season the ribs with a rub of your choice. (If your ribs came seasoned, skip this step.) Now the Butcher Man always tells me to season less than you think. I love things to be seasoned, so I tend to go overboard a bit at times, but I have learned less can be more in many instances! I love the Spade L Ranch Seasoning (ok, I love a lot of different rubs, which I will do a post about at a later date) but today I used the Spade L Ranch and it does not disappoint! (And I am not getting paid to say that)!

Once your meat has enough rub on it- just make sure its evenly rubbed on but not completely covered that you can scrape it off-then its time to put them on your smoker.

Many people set their smoker to 180-200 degrees to smoke, but we don’t! We heat the smoker on the smoke setting for 5 minutes then place the ribs, meat-side up, on the rack and let smoke for about 2 -2 1/2 hours. A little longer is ok but I would make sure they aren’t out there any longer than 3 hours. (And don’t forget to make sure your smoker has enough pellets in the hopper … I laugh every time I say that!)

After they are done smoking, bring them inside. You will do another rub of honey and brown sugar (YUM!) and then add a little liquid to them as well. At this point they need to be wrapped tightly in foil. As you can see I set the ribs meat-side up, right on the foil length wise (Heavy Duty Extra Wide works the best to prevent holes so the heat stays locked in) and then I spread the honey and brown sugar on them. Just a side note-I used way more honey and brown sugar than this picture shows, but my hands got all gooey so I didn’t snap a picture before they were wrapped!

Next, pour in a liquid of your choice- 1/2 cup is all you need. We have used all sorts of liquid from apple juice, Coke, Dr Pepper, and even just plain old ice cubes (sounds weird but they turned out amazing!) I pour the liquid right next to the ribs on the foil. Don’t pour it directly on them, as you don’t want that sugary goodness to fall off. I fold up the sides of the foil a bit to create a “bowl” so the liquid won’t spill out of the foil. Now wrap them up!! I double wrap with the Heavy Duty Extra Wide foil (Extra wide is so much easier than piecing the smaller foil together- who has time for that, right?) and double wrapping ensures that you will get a tight seal so the ribs can cook to tender goodness! A tight seal is key!

Back on to the smoker they go, this time at a temperature of 225 degrees. We keep them out there for about another 2 hours. I always second guess myself and worry they won’t be done, but they are done to perfection every single time! (If they happen to stay on a bit longer don’t panic- a little extra time is always good!)

Bring the ribs inside and open them up. BE CAREFUL-they are full of hot steam, but with that steam comes a delicious smell of meat!

Ditch the foil, and grab the BBQ sauce of your choice- there are so many good ones out there, and it seems like everyone has their go-to sauce that they love! Slather the ribs with your sauce (Don’t be stingy) and then put them back on the smoker, same temperature! You can also fire up your grill if you want that seared in grill taste…but today I am sticking with the smoker!

Take them back out to the smoker. Let them smoke with the BBQ sauce (foil free ) for another 30 minutes, then pull them off and slather some more BBQ sauce on them, if desired! Bring them inside, cut them in to pieces (or eat the entire rack yourself- no judgment here) and Enjoy!

We love to eat our Ribs with Loaded Baked Potatoes, a side salad, fresh garlic bread (and no, I NEVER buy the pre-buttered/garlicked garlic bread at the store- it is a MUST to use a fresh loaf and butter and season it yourself- try it if you haven’t and you can thank me later!). This is the perfect meal for a Sunday Dinner, or Summer BBQ, or Game Night (or as a kickoff to warmer temps!)

Baby Back Ribs, Baby!

These ribs are fall-off-the-bone goodness with a smokey taste that cant be beat! 
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 Rack of baby Back Ribs
  • 3 Tbsp Rub of your choice You can use more or less to your liking
  • 1/2 Cup Honey
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar You can use more or less to your liking
  • 1/2 Cup Apple Juice You can use any sweet juice of your liking or Coke, or Dr. Pepper
  • BBQ Sauce of your choice

Instructions

  • Unwrap your ribs.  Remove the silverskin from the bone-side of the ribs.   You can easily do this by making a cut length-wise down the length of the ribs and lifting up the thin filmy layer of  the silverskin and tearing it off. 
  • Sprinkle your rub on the ribs, making sure the entire surface on both sides is seasoned, but not too thick you could scrape it off!
  • Heat your smoker on the Smoke setting. Place your ribs in the smoker, meat-side up. Close the lid and let smoke 2 hours. (If they stay out smoking a little longer, don’t worry- longer smoking time is never a bad thing!
  • Remove the ribs from the smoker, using tongs and put them on a large plate or platter. (A cookie sheet works great too). Place the ribs, length-wise on a long piece of foil. (I like to use Heavy Duty, Extra Wide Foil because its the perfect width for ribs and it is sturdy). Make sure your piece of foil has extra room on each end of the ribs so you can close it up tightly. Pour your honey on the ribs and rub it in. Add the brown sugar and rub it into the honey. Make sure your ribs stay meat-side up! Next, add your juice to the ribs, on the side/under them-not on top. I slightly fold up the edges of the foil to make a “bowl” so the liquid stays in place.
  • Tightly seal the foil around the ribs. Make sure its air tight. I wrap them in a second layer of foil just to make sure the ribs are tightly sealed and there are no holes for the liquid and steam to escape! (We want that fall-off-bone tenderness after all!)
  • Raise the temperature on your smoker to 225 degrees. Place the foil wrapped ribs (meat-side up) on the smoker, shut the lid and let smoke for about 2 1/2 hours. If they stay out there 3 hours, that’s ok too!
  • After the ribs have smoked for the 2-3 hours, remove the ribs from the smoker. Slowly open the ribs- BE CAREFUL-they are hot and the steam will rush out! Discard the foil. Slather the ribs with your BBQ sauce and then return to the smoker for 30 minutes, same temperature as before (225 degrees). You can also heat up your grill and put them on your grill on medium heat.
  • Once the Ribs are done, remove smoker (or grill), slather with more BBQ sauce if desired (I always do), cut into your desired lengths and Enjoy! 
    Serve with your favorite salad, baked potatoes, fresh garlic bread or fresh veggies!

Notes

A tip from the Butcher Man: After you have smoked the ribs you can add the sugar and honey then wrap them in the poly-vinyl (fancy word for plastic wrap) that they were originally wrapped in from the butcher.  You can add your juice right in the plastic wrap, wrap them up tight, then wrap in the foil. The ribs smoke at such a low temperature that the plastic wrap won’t melt to the ribs but will just be an extra layer to lock in moisture.  The smoky flavor will still get inside the meat (don’t worry it wont taste like plastic)!
Another tip:  A grill is great for the last step after basting the ribs with BBQ sauce.  If you love the grilled flavor and love how the sauce sticks to the ribs when grilled, go right ahead and fire up the grill! Just adjust your time and watch them closely so the BBQ sauce doesn’t burn! 
 

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