Here's a recipe to make these mouthwatering ribs:
- 2 racks of baby back pork ribs (approximately 4-5 pounds total)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, adjust to your desired level of spiciness)
- 1 cup apple juice (for spritzing)
- SGT. Hart's BBQ sauce (optional, for glazing)
- Smoker (charcoal or electric) or a grill set up for indirect cooking
- Smoking wood chips or chunks (applewood, hickory, or cherry are great options)
- Aluminum foil
- Instant-read meat thermometer
Prepare the ribs:
- Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs by sliding a butter knife under the membrane and then pulling it off with a paper towel for a better smoke penetration and tenderness.
- Rinse the ribs under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels.
Create the dry rub:
- In a bowl, mix the brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, black pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper until well combined.
Apply the dry rub to the ribs:
- Generously coat both sides of the ribs with the dry rub, pressing it into the meat to ensure good adherence.
- Place the ribs in a large resealable plastic bag or wrap them in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight. This allows the flavors to penetrate the meat.
Prepare your smoker or grill:
- If using a charcoal smoker or grill, light the charcoal and wait for it to become white-hot. Arrange the coals on one side of the smoker or grill to create an indirect cooking zone.
- Soak the wood chips or chunks in water for about 30 minutes, then drain them. Place them directly on the charcoal or in a smoker box if using a gas grill.
Smoke the ribs:
- Once your smoker or grill is ready and holding a temperature between 225°F to 250°F (107°C to 121°C), place the ribs on the side of the smoker or grill opposite the coals or heat source. This ensures indirect heat for slow cooking.
- Add a water pan underneath the ribs to keep the cooking environment moist and prevent the ribs from drying out.
- Smoke the ribs for approximately 4 to 6 hours, depending on their thickness and your desired level of tenderness. Maintain the smoker or grill's temperature and add more wood chips as needed to keep the smoke going.
Spritz the ribs:
- Every 45 minutes to an hour, open the smoker or grill and spritz the ribs with apple juice. This helps keep the ribs moist and enhances the flavor.
Check for doneness:
- After about 4 hours, check the ribs' internal temperature with an instant-read meat thermometer. They should reach an internal temperature of 195°F to 203°F (90°C to 95°C) for perfectly tender ribs.
- If desired, during the last 30 minutes of cooking, you can glaze the ribs with your favorite SGT. Hart's BBQ sauce flavor. Brush it on both sides and let it caramelize slightly.
Rest and serve:
- Once the ribs reach the desired tenderness, remove them from the smoker or grill and wrap.