Dizzy Pig Dizzy Dust Spare RibsOne of my favorite foods is a well prepared rack of ribs. I don't want them over done to the point where they fall apart when you pick them up. I also don't want to lose any teeth trying to pull the meat off the bone. I like a nice tender rib, where the meat requires just a little tug when taking a bite and comes clean off the bone. With a little practice and knowing what to look for you can produce great ribs right in your own backyard.

Items Needed:

Ribs - Pork Baby Back Ribs or Pork Spare Ribs
Spray Bottle
Apple Juice
BBQ Sauce (optional)

In this guide we will be using St. Louis Style Spare Ribs. These are spare ribs that have had the rib tips removed. For the rub we will be using one of my favorite all purpose rubs, Dizzy Dust by Dizzy Pig BBQ.

1. Remove your ribs from packaging. Rinse off and pat dry with paper towels.

2. Place ribs on stable cutting surface and turn the bone side up. There will be a strip of meat along the bottom. Remove this as close to the bone as possible.

Bottom Rib - Before   Bottom Rib - After

3. Remove the membrane from the bottom of the ribs. Some people say this is not needed. Others says it is a must so the ribs can absorb more smoke flavor. The reason I do it? Because of the texture the membrane takes on after being cooked low and slow. I do not like biting into my ribs, only to have a layer of chewy membrane to fight with.

To remove the membrane peel it away from the bone with a butter knife. Then grab it with a paper towel to get a good grip. Sometimes you can get it off in one piece. Other times it may take several tries.

Rib Membrane - Before   Rib Membrane - After

4. Coat both sides of your ribs with a heavy coating of your favorite BBQ Rub. Let ribs rest for at least 15 minutes.

Ribs BBQ Rub

5. Prepare your cooker for indirect heat at 225 degrees. I am using a Primo Oval XL Ceramic Grill. Since this is a charcoal grill I also added in a few peach wood chunks for additional flavor. Place ribs on your smoker and do not open or look at the ribs for 3 hours.

Ribs on Primo Oval XL

6. After 3 hours the ribs should have a nice crust forming on the surface. Spray ribs with apple juice and repeat every hour until ribs are done. If your smoker has any hot spots, rotate ribs for even cooking.

BBQ Ribs after 3 Hours

7. As a guildeline, spare ribs usually take around 6 hours until they are done. This time can vary depending on size of the ribs, type of cooker, outside conditions, etc. I usually begin checking for doneness around the 5 hour mark

I use two methods to determine when my ribs are almost done. First, the bend test. Pick up your ribs with a pair of tongs on the end of the slab. If they are done, the ribs will bend and start to crack on the surface. If the surface only cracks a little, the ribs need more time. If they break, they are over done. Second, I use the toothpick test. Take a toothpick and slide it into the meat between the bones. If it slides in without resistance, your ribs are done. Check multiple spots on your ribs.

8. If you have determined your ribs are almost done, it is time to sauce the ribs. (optional) If you prefer dry ribs, skip to next step. Flip your ribs over so the bone side is up. Using a mop or brush coat the bottom of the ribs with sauce. Close your cooker and let the sauce set for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, repeat the process on the other side of the ribs.

9. Remove the ribs from your cooker and place on a cookie sheet. Loosely cover with foil and allow the ribs to rest for at least 15-20 minutes.

10. It is now time to serve your ribs. If cooking for a group of people I like to cut my ribs into 1 or 2 rib sections. This allows guests to take the portion they want. Place the ribs on cutting surface bone side up. Using a sharp knife cut along each bone in the portion you prefer.

BBQ Ribs Cut


Finished BBQ Ribs