Smoked BBQ Pork Ribs

St. Louis Ribs are the best bet in this recipe. They are spareribs (cut from where bacon from) that have been trimmed so that they are a little smaller and more manageable on a smaller grill. Back ribs work, too, they come from the loin and have more meat and less fat, but dry out much faster and are a lot more expensive.

Serves 6


Aluminum foil - wide sheets, if possible

2c. hickory chips or 3 lemon-sized chunks


6 pounds of pork ribs: St. Louis Style ribs, side ribs, spareribs, country-style (boneless) or back ribs are all acceptable. Spare-rib and country style have more fat and are more tender.


1/2 c. salt

1/2 c. sugar

6 quarts of water


Dry Rub

2 tsp. Pepper

2 tsp. Cayenne pepper

3 Tbsp. Brown sugar

2 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. coriander

1/3 c. Chili powder


The day before or the morning before: Dissolve sugar and salt in water. Add a couple of cups of ice. Rinse the meat under cold water and add to brine mixture. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Alternately, you can leave out on the counter and keep adding ice to keep the temperature under 40F.

Drain the meat and blot dry with paper towels. Place and a baking sheet. Combine ingredients for rub and sprinkle on the meat the coat and rub evenly into both sides of the ribs. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour; overnight works the best.

Place hickory chips or chunks in 2 cups of water and allow to soak for 15 minutes (1 hour if using chunks). Drain. Place chips on a large sheet of foil and then wrap into a package. Poke 6 or 8 holes in the foil package. Place chips on one side of the grill. Chunks can just go on a sheet of foil or an old pan. Light all burners on high and preheat grill for 30 minutes - until chips are smoking.

Turn off 1/2 of the grill, leave the other on lowest setting. Place ribs on the cold side of the grill. If you lack room, you can also place them on that warming rack you never use above the main grill! Cover, cook for 1/2 hour. Flip and grill for another 1/2 hour on cold side of grill. Repeat 2 more times for a total cooking time of 2-3 hours. Temperature should be around 250F throughout the cooking. Increase or decrease heat to adjust. Don't let the grill get too hot 200-250F is ideal.

Remove ribs from grill, wrap each rack tightly in foil. Place in a paper bag and roll top tightly. Allow to sit for 1 hour. Cut the ribs, place on a platter and serve. These don't even need BBQ sauce, and the meat should fall from the bone. With country ribs, the brown bag step isn't nearly as important.