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Recipe: Juicy Spare Ribs

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Since we had a ton of leftover barbecue sauces from our top 5 barbecue sauces post, we were eager to make something to get rid of most of these. Here is a recipe for some juicy spare ribs, made on a standard, double-burner, two-tier back-porch gas grill. We love real barbecue, but not everyone is blessed with a nice cast-iron smoker, or even the room to own one. These are still awesome, and they beat the crap out of what you get at a lot of chain barbecue restaurants. Despite the lengthy instructions, they are simple and well worth the wait.

Spare Ribs

  • A slab of spare ribs (about 5 pounds)
  • Barbecue rub (we use Stubb's barbecue rub)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • First, you want to select a nice cut of meat. Look for pork with even marbling throughout the meat. Coat the ribs well with the rub, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (two hours is better). Lay an aluminum roasting pan on the main rack of your grill and fill with about one inch of water. This is enough water to keep the ribs moist without steaming them. Fire up the grill on one of the burners only and let it heat for about 10 minutes on high. Reduce to the lowest setting.

    Make two packets with wood chips and some aluminum foil. Take a handful of wood chips and wrap them in a single layer of aluminum foil. Stab a few holes in the foil to let the smoke escape as it cooks. Put them alongside the aluminum pan so that they will be over the lit burner. Put the ribs on the top rack on your grill. Close the lid.

    Make a mop sauce of the vinegar, black pepper and garlic. Come back in 30 minutes to make sure the wood is smoking and everything is still intact. Check on it every hour for the next two hours, mopping it a little with the vinegar wash. Flip after two hours. Check back again every 30 minutes for the next 2twohours - you will probably have to switch out the wood chips sometime in here.

    You can tell when your ribs are done three ways: The ribs will pull back from the bone over two-thirdss of the length of the rib rack; a meat thermometer will read 160 degrees in the thickest part of the meat (you will need to cook them for an additional timed 30 minutes after that point); or you will need to do the taste test. You can cut off the rib at the end - it should be pink on the outside, and a beige-white in the interior.

    Tip: Make sure you have your ribs over indirect heat. Otherwise (as we've learned from experience), you end up with chicharrones.

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