I had a craving for ribs this week so it was inevitable that I would be firing up the smoker early Saturday morning. To cook spareribs right you need to take your time, so plan to spend a minimum of six hours cooking the ribs.
I like to prepare my sauce in advance so that it’s one less thing to do while I’m barbecuing. This recipe is a jazzed-up version of Steven Raichlen’s Basic Barbecue Sauce.
Sweet Barbecue Sauce
- 2 cups ketchup
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon of your favourite barbecue rub
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan. Heat over medium-low heat until the sauce comes to a boil. Reduce the temperature to low and simmer uncovered until the sauce reaches the desired consistency, approximately 30 – 45 minutes.
I prefer to cut my spareribs St Louis Style rather than serve as an entire slab. This gives the ribs a nice uniform appearance and eliminates all the cartilage of the rib tips. You can either do this yourself or ask your butcher to trim the ribs for you. I like to throw the rib tips on the smoker for three hours and have them as a snack while I’m waiting for the spareribs to finish cooking.
Once the ribs are trimmed, rub them down on both sides with a light coating of prepared yellow mustard. This will help the dry rub adhere to the ribs, which will be our next step.
Sprinkle the ribs on both sides with your favourite barbecue rub. For a good recipe, check out Meathead’s Memphis Dust. You want the rub to cover the whole surface, but don’t apply it too heavy.
Prepare your smoker for indirect cooking over low heat (225° to 250°F).
It’s really up to you what type of wood you use for smoking the spareribs. I’m partial to hickory but this time I decided to mix it up and use a combination of apple and cherry wood. The cherry wood adds a nice red colour to the ribs! I used 3 cups of woods chips (by volume), soaked in warm water overnight.
We will be using the 3-2-1 method for cooking spareribs. In my experience this yields the absolute best result for spareribs; tender meat that tugs off the bone cleanly, but still has a little chew to it.
- Add the ribs to the smoker, meat-side up, and smoke for 3 hours.
- After 3 hours pull the ribs off the smoker, wrap in foil, and add half a cup of apple juice in the foil packet. Place the ribs back on the smoker meat-side down and cook for 2 hours.
- Remove the ribs from the foil and discard (the foil and juice, not the ribs). Re-apply a light coating of the dry rub as some of it will have come off in the juice.
- Return the ribs to the smoker and cook for 1 hour. In the last 15 minutes you can apply a light coating of barbecue sauce and allow it to bake onto the ribs.
Cut the ribs into individual pieces and serve.