Mandy's Marvelous Meals

Recipes, tips, tricks, and my journey into cooking fabulous food!

Smoked Baby Back Ribs


Finally the weather stayed nice and I was able to use my new smoker! I made baby back ribs and they came out awesome!

After a lot of reading about how to smoke meat I think I did pretty darn good for my first time. They got done a lot sooner than I had anticipated, so they did get a little over done and were just a tad bit dry on some of the thinner pieces of meat, but the flavor was so good and the meat was really tender.

The whole process was actually quite simple.  Choose your meat, make a spice rub, and cook it “low and slow”…that is low heat over a few hours time, checking on it occasionally.

I do have a “pork rub” that I usually make, but since I already had a batch of spice rub made up I just used that and then topped them with my sweet and tangy barbecue sauce.

To prep the meat, I removed the thin membrane from the back of the ribs by inserting a butter knife and pulling it up just enough to get a good grip on it. Then, using a paper towel, I pulled it off. I’ve made ribs before but never did this, but apparently it is an important step so that the flavor can get into the meat and it also makes the meat more tender. I then spread Dijon mustard over both sides of the ribs and added the spice rub (be sure to actually RUB the meat with the spices, just sprinkling it on is not good enough). I then vacuum sealed the ribs with my Food Saver and allowed it to sit over night in the refrigerator. The reason I decided to use my Food Saver is because this allows the spices to really soak into the meat. If you don’t have a Food Saver you can just wrap the ribs tightly with plastic wrap. When it was time to put the ribs into the smoker, I removed them from the wrapping and made sure they were still seasoned well, which they were. If you take off the plastic wrap and notice that the rub is looking thinner or it’s stuck to the plastic wrap, you should go ahead and rub some more of the spice rub into the meat. I preheated the smoker to 200 degrees and then added the ribs bone side down, checking on them every 30-45 minutes. I didn’t open the smoker door each time (wanted to maintain an appropriate temperature), I only checked to make sure the smoker was actually producing a good amount of smoke (I kept having to add water to the pan, the smoke seemed to decrease when the water evaporated from the tray). After about an hour I flipped the ribs over and then let them cook for another hour. I then removed the ribs from the smoker and wrapped them in foil. At this point, however, I noticed that the ribs were looking done so I used my meat thermometer to see where they were at and I was right…they were done. Even though they were done, I still wrapped them in foil and put them back in the smoker for another hour…only because I had anticipated a 3-4 hour cooking time and really wasn’t ready for them to be done in 2 hours. Ultimately this really didn’t do too much “damage” except for a little bit of dryness in some of the thinner parts of meat, like I mentioned earlier. Next time I will definitely make sure to have an oven thermometer and meat thermometer inside the smoker. I had read that these are important but I didn’t have them, so just went by the thermometer on the smoker door. Throughout the cooking process the thermometer remained between 200-220 degrees, but I am thinking that it was actually hotter inside the smoker.  After about a total of 3 hours I did remove the ribs and left them wrapped in the foil to rest. I had made our sides on the grill so right before everything was done I spread some barbecue sauce on the ribs and grilled them for a minute or two on each side just to crisp them up a bit.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with my first attempt at smoking meat. These were definitely the best ribs I’ve ever made!!

 

Smoked Baby Back Ribs

1 rack of baby back ribs (or 2 half racks)

Spice Rub

Dijon Mustard

Barbecue Sauce (optional)

  1. Prepare the ribs the day before you plan to smoke them by removing the membrane from the back of the ribs, spreading the ribs on both sides with Dijon mustard and adding the spice rub thoroughly to both sides of the meat. Wrap in plastic wrap and keep in refrigerator for about 24 hours until ready to cook.
  2. Preheat smoker according to manufacturer’s directions to about 200 degrees F.
  3. Place ribs in smoker and allow to smoke for about an hour. After the first hour flip the ribs over to the other side. Allow to cook for another hour. Be sure to maintain heat between 200-220 degrees F.
  4. After 2 hours remove ribs and wrap in foil. Return to the smoker for another hour.
  5. After 3 hours, check the ribs for doneness. If they are not done, return to the smoker.
  6. If ribs are done, allow to rest in the foil for 10-15 minutes.
  7. If desired, coat ribs with barbecue sauce and grill for about 2 minutes per side.
  8. Serve with barbecue sauce on the side and enjoy.
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2 for 1: 12 Spice Dry Rub Mix and Sweet & Tangy Barbecue Sauce


Grilling season is in full effect and I am loving my new grill!! Since tomorrow is Saturday and the weather is supposed to be nice again I’m going to attempt to make smoked baby back ribs. In preparation, I’ve made a nice big batch of barbecue sauce to go with them. My inspiration for this recipe comes from Monica at The Yummy Life.  The recipe calls for her 14-spice dry rub mix, so I’ve also included my modified version of this recipe as well (ergo the “2 for 1”), which is actually a 12-spice dry rub mix which can be used on pork or chicken and can also be used in sauces, such as the barbecue sauce I’m sharing with you today.

Stay tuned for my smoked ribs adventure…it’s going to be an interesting journey into unknown territory! 🙂 Until then whip up this tasty barbecue sauce and throw some meat on the grill!!!

Sweet & Tangy Barbecue Sauce (Makes approx. 2 1/2 cups; Weight Watchers Points Plus = 1 for 2 tbsp of sauce)

Source: “Barbecue Sauce” @ The Yummy Life

2 tbsp. brown sugar

1/2 cup cider vinegar

2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp. yellow mustard

2 tbsp. honey

2 cups ketchup

2 tbsp. 12-spice dry rub mix (recipe follows)

1 1/2 tsp. liquid hickory smoke

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Store in a plastic container in the refrigerator.

12-Spice Dry Rub for Pork or Chicken (Makes approx. 1 3/4 cups)

Source: “14-Spice Dry Rub Mix” @ The Yummy Life

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp. salt

1/2 cup smoked paprika

1 tbsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. onion powder

1 tbsp. celery salt

2 tbsp. chili powder

1 tbsp. black pepper

1 tbsp. dried sage

1 tsp. ground allspice

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. ground mace

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

  1.  Place all ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk until well combined.
  2. Keep rub in an air-tight container and use as desired.
  3. For use on chicken or pork sprinkle rub on meat and rub in on all sides. For best results, wrap seasoned meat in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours. When ready to cook, remove meat from refrigerator and sprinkle a little bit more of the rub onto the meat.
  4. Cook meat as desired (grill, bake, broil, etc.).
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