It used to be that when I was planning on heading home for a visit, my mom would ask me “Is there anything special you’d like to have for dinner?” For at least the last five years the question has been, “What would you like to have with your ribs?” I have become obsessed with my dad’s smoked ribs. If you tasted them, you would be too.
I’m here visiting my parents for the week of the 4th, and of course we are having ribs. I decided to ask for a lesson. Not because I want to start making them for myself — no, I’d rather he keep making them for me — just because I am curious.
So first he says to use Baby Back Pork Ribs because he finds that they have less gristle and aren’t too thick, so they cook more evenly. Step one is to remove the membrane, cut them into 3-4 rib slabs, sprinkle and rub both sides with Famous Dave’s Rib Rub, cover them with foil, and refrigerate overnight.
This morning he loaded them in the smoker — on a side note, he prefers a gas smoker over charcoal because the heat is even and consistent — with a water bath to add steam and keep the heat from getting too intense as well as hickory chips for a smokey flavor, on high until they started smoking then he turned them down to 200 degrees for approximately 3 hours.
Then he pulled them out, wrapped them in foil with some apple juice, and placed them back in the smoker for 3 more hours. Why? Because the juice makes them even more moist and also tenderizes them.
Finally, he took them out of the foil, placed them back in the smoker with an extra sprinkle of Dave’s, for another 30 minutes….then they were done.
As I probed him with questions, I asked him how long it took him to perfect this recipe. He wasn’t quite sure. He started smoking meat about 15 years ago after having something at a friend’s house. It reminded him of growing up on a farm where they smoked ham and bacon after butchering a hog. So he tried a number of cuts of meat and tweaked recipes. I think he’s perfected these three – ribs, pork butt, and pork loin. So now there’s nothing left to say but, “Let’s Eat!”