3-198-20 Smoked Ribs
A good rack of ribs can come from almost anywhere and most stores sell them. We will typically pick up at pack at our local Costco, they are decently priced, feed my clan of 6, and we usually have a ton leftover which makes for fantastic meals to take to work the next day or for a snack.
I’m not picky when it comes to Baby Back’s versus St. Louis cut ribs. We aren’t cooking competition ribs and we aren’t going to trim these to perfection, we are going to make delicious backyard BBQ that your family and friends will rave about.
You have the ribs? Perfect.
Here is your checklist:
Heat your pit to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. We want your ribs to be exposed to good, clean smoke for at least 3 hours. For pork ribs, I highly recommend using a mix of Cherry and Pecan wood/pellets. Why? These are not overpowering woods. You don’t want to bite into ribs and taste nothing but smoke.
Remove the membrane. What does that mean? See the video below.
Use a binder. For ribs, I like to switch up what I use as a binder. Most often, I will use yellow mustard, Worcestershire, or hot sauce. Think of a binder as a seasoning adhesive for the meat, it helps draw moisture out of the meat so the seasonings can penetrate the meat.
Apply binder and seasonings 30 minutes prior to throwing the ribs on the pit. This is a good amount of time to allow the binder to work its magic. Can you do longer? If you do, I recommend placing the ribs in the fridge and removing them 30 minutes prior to cooking.
For this cook, we are using Hooks Rubs & Seasonings. See the link for product information and to save 15% off your order.
Layers of flavors. I recommend layering your seasonings when doing ribs. For this cook, I do a base layer of Cajun Red for a little kick and then do a much heavier, second layer of Smokin' Sweetness.
Once you have let the ribs sit for 20-30 minutes to absorb the seasonings, go ahead and throw them on the smoker.
Close the lid and walk away. Seriously, walk away for 3 hours if you are running a smoker that has automated temperature control. If not, do what you need to keep the smoker as close to 225 for 3 hours.
After 3 hours, the seasoning on the ribs should have set and the color should have taken on a darker, smokier look. Pull them off the grill because they are ready to wrap.
We are going to keep it simple with wrapping. Two layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil and a cup of a liquid of your choice. I usually use Apple Juice or Dr. Pepper. I find sugary beverages like these produce my favorite ribs.
When wrapped, return the meat to the smoker. Leave it at 225 degrees. This is the most difficult portion of the cook, and it's not difficult. After an hour or so, check the temperature of the ribs. I highly, highly recommend investing in an instant-read thermometer, and none are better than the Thermapen from ThermoWorks. We are going to put the thermometer in between the thickest ribs and check the temperature. If they are not in the 198-200 range, close the foil and walk away for a little bit. The frequency you check the ribs will depend on the temperature. If the ribs are 190 degrees, I will check every 15 minutes or so until they are done.
When ribs hit 198 internal, pull them from the smoker. When you carry the ribs inside and open the foil, chances are you will want to dive face-first into these right then and there. We aren't making dry ribs this time, we need to sauce them first. Pull a rack from the foil and sauce the bottom of the ribs, flip and sauce the top. Any sauce will do, pick a favorite.
Once sauced, return ribs to the smoker for 20 more minutes. Why only 20 minutes? This is probably the most common question I get asked, "why not 3-2-1?" That's easy. I think the sauce absorbs too much smoke sitting on the meat for that long. Most sauces have some base of sugar and it tends to absorb a lot of smoke flavor. Hence 3-198-20, 3 hours of smoke, wrap until 198 internal, smoke with sauce for 20.
There you have it!! Cut them up and dive in!
I would LOVE to know what you think! If you try the #3-198-20 method, tag me and show off your cooks!
If you have any questions, shoot me a message and let me know!