Barbecue season has started. Well, who am I kidding, does it ever end? With that said, I often look for opportunities to involve my kids in the cooking experience. Now granted, I’m pretty much the dude who refuses help in the kitchen, often times asked by my wife, and rarely if any from my kids, but when it comes to the weekend, I get a chance to slow down just a bit, and cherish moments with my kids. This past weekend was no exception. My boys and I were watching a barbecue competition show late last week as we were winding down for bed, and I think we all said at the same time “Oh man that looks great”, and that let me to say, “Let me teach you what I know about barbecue this weekend, and you two can have a rib smoking competition.” They were excited to say the least, and I’ll admit, I was pretty darn excited as well.
I’ve been tinkering with smoking for a handful of years now, and I think I have learned a lot. I’ve learned that spice, temperature, smoke, and time are all variables in the game of producing great barbecue, and that is all I wanted to teach the kids this time around. So as I prepared the ingredients, I gathered the boys, individually, and had them apply however much spice rub they wanted, and educating them as to how to remove the silver skin on the pork ribs. They were intrigued to say the least. Let’s get started with what I did, and let me just say, and I’m not kidding when I say this, they were probably hands down the best ribs I’ve eaten in some time.
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tbsp cracked black pepper
- 1 tbsp Spanish paprika
- 1 tbsp dry mustard
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 3 racks of baby back ribs, trimmed, silver skin removed
- 2 cups cherry wood chips, soaked for at least 4 hours
- Your favorite BBQ sauce, optional
Start by preparing your ribs. Once prepared, add all of your spices to a mixing bowl, and mix until everything is well incorporated.
Generously season both sides of the ribs, then place in a plastic, sealable back, and place in the refrigerator to marinate overnight.
When you are ready to get the smoker started, heat your charcoal. I use a drum smoker, and it has worked just fine for me over the years. I heat a chimney full of regular charcoal, cooking until they are nice and white hot. Dump these into the bottom of the smoker, and spread around. I add a bit more charcoal on the top. Add the drum portion of the smoker, then add the ribs to the grates. Cover.
Take one handful of the cherry wood chips, about a cup full, and add them to the coals. Make sure all doors and covers are closed, then walk away. The smoke will begin to build, and slowly begin smoking the ribs.
After about two hours, flip the ribs over, and add the remaining soaked wood chips to the charcoal. Cover, and walk away.
After about two more hours, removed them from the smoker, onto a large casserole dish, and cover tightly with aluminum foil.
I let these sit out on the stove, covered, until the were cool enough to place in the refrigerator. Yes, we waited until the next day to make them as we had prior engagements with family. Feel free to place these in a 275 degree oven for another 2 hours, before saucing.
The following afternoon, we placed them in a 275 degree oven for about two hours. Then we removed the aluminum foil, and the boys each picked their favorite sauce. I educated them that they could use as much sauce or as little when painting their ribs. You could tell that they were thinking it through. Let me just say the ribs looked and smelled amazing. We were all excited. After saucing, we raised the heat to 325, and placed back in the oven for ten minutes, uncovered.
We flipped the ribs over, and sauced one more time, then back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
Each kid got their own serving plate, and as soon as we sliced through the ribs, let me just say, wow. I was a proud Dad, I really was. Not just because these looked and smelled great, but the boys were really excited as well. You could tell that they were proud of themselves. After we feasted, I had my son ride a few ribs up to the neighbor, who actually talked about how great they were today. That’s always a good sign. I hope you enjoy.