Pork Spare Ribs


With the right rub, a great glaze and about 6 hours of steady temp, you can make amazing ribs.


For this cook I'm going to deviate from the 3-2-1 method I've been using for a while. For those unfamiliar, the 3-2-1 method smokes the ribs for 3 hours uncovered, then wraps and cooks the ribs for 2 hours in aluminum foil or butcher paper, then finishes the ribs with 1 hour unwrapped and sauce applied. It's a method that produces consistently good meat, but the bark can be mushy.

For this cook I'm taking St. Louis cut spare ribs, removing the silver skin using the butter knife method, and covering in a basic barbecue rub. In order to develop smokey tender rib meat and a tasty bark, I plan to not wrap the rib rack, knowing that the time to cook will likely increase. Also to aid in keeping the meat from drying out, I will spritz with juice every 30 to 60 minutes, being careful to not spritz too soon in the cook, which could wash away our flavorful rub.

With about 1 hour left in the cook (after 5 hours-ish), I'll baste the meat side (up side) of the ribs with a honey and hot sauce glaze. That should give the bark a nice layer of sweet heat. We might not even need to sauce these meat treats.

So a plan is in place, lets see how it goes.

  • 2 Hours Before Cook - Make Rub - Takes 10 minutes.
  • 2 Hours Before Cook - Prep Ribs and Apply Rub - Put in Fridge - Takes 10 minutes.
  • 30-45 Minutes Before Cook - Preheat Smoker to 250° F - Takes about 30-45 mins.
  • Cook - Takes about 6 hours.
    • During 5 hour initial cook - Make Glaze Mixture: Honey (4 TB), Water (1 TB), Hot Sauce (1 TB)
    • After 5 hours cooking - Apply glaze
    • Cook approximately 1 hour more.
  • Rest 15 minutes.
  • 1-2 Racks of St. Louis Cut Pork Spare Ribs.
  • Basic Barbecue Rub.
  • Mustard Binder (Optional).
  • Apple Juice Spritz.
  • Honey
  • Hot Sauce
Fire and Fuel:
  • Rockwood Lump Charcoal.
  • Cherry Wood Chunks.
  • Tumbleweed starters.
  • Offset Smoker - Traditional Offset (not reverse flow).
  • Fill charcoal box unlit coals. Leave spot for hot coals.
  • Place temperature sensor at grate level.
  • Light 1 chimney of coals to fill spot left in charcoal box.
  • Remove silver skin
  • Coat ribs with thin layer of mustard (optional)
  • Coat ribs with Basic BBQ Rub
  • Preheat smoker to 250° F
  • Add wood for smoke
  • Put ribs in smoker
  • After approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours start to Spritz apple juice every 30-45 minutes
  • Cook for 5 hours
  • Brush with glaze mixture: honey (4 TB), Water (1 TB), Hot Sauce (1 TB)
  • Cook for 1 hour more (approx)
  • Cook until toothpick goes into meat with very little effort in multiple places.
  • Foil tent and rest for 15 mins
  • Cut and serve with your favorite sauce and sides. Might not even need sauce :).