I got into the hobby of smoking meat about a year ago when I received my Masterbuilt Electric Smoker. There have been some winners (smoked beer can chicken) and some losers
(way-overcooked tri trip).
I've done a few racks of ribs and they were all pretty good, but I wasn't achieving that great "bark" that competition smokers are able to achieve nor was the meat on my ribs falling off the bone. That all changed when I tried the recipe described below.
I started by buying my St. Louis ribs at Cash n' Carry, a restaurant supply store with a walk in fridge so large it has sections. Same stuff my local smokehouse is probably buying.
Next step is the rub, most rubs are about 1/4 brown sugar so I started with a small bowl and big clump of brown sugar. To that I added smoked paprika, pepper, salt, chili powder and Montreal steak seasoning and few pinches of other items including taco seasoning, white sugar, garlic powder and onion powder. The important thing to know here? For at-home smokers, making a rub is not rocket science. It should taste sweet, salty and peppery (the paprika flavor activates during cooking) and I like my rub with some spice as well.
Again, not too difficult and always fun to make. BBQ sauce as the base, honey, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire Sauce, Frank's Red Hot and some Beaver Hot Mustard Sauce. This will be applied prior to the last hour of cooking.
I also made a bottle of apple cider vinegar and water to spray the ribs with, never took this step before, I think it made a difference.
After getting the ribs out IT IS CRITICAL THAT YOU REMOVE THE MEMBRANE FROM THE BONE SIDE OF THE RIBS. Use a dry rag or paper towel to get a grip on it and pull all of it off. This will negatively affect mouth feel and flavor if left on.
Now that the ribs were ready for rubbing I covered them with a layer of standard yellow mustard to help the rub stick. I rubbed them the morning of the smoke and put them in the fridge.
I used the 3-2-1 method of smoking with one change to the 2 hours in the middle. After 6 hours in the smoker, these ribs were absolutely money. 250 degrees the entire cook.
3 hours - Straightforward smoking:
I spritzed the ribs with my apple cider vinegar and water mix and smoked them with the vent closed for 3 hours. I added chips halfway through this step to make sure I had alot of smoke. Used my phone timer to tell me when this was done.
2 hours - Most important step:
Removed the ribs from the smoker and wrapped them tightly in foil, meat side down with butter and some vinegar spritz. This cooked the ribs all the way through while adding moisture and tons of flavor. Set my phone timer again.
1 hour - Sauce and finish:
Removed the ribs from the smoker, unwrapped them, sauced them liberally and placed them back in for one last hour of cooking.
When I started cutting these I knew they were going to be money! I had a good buddy in town, between he and I and the kids, these disappeared quickly and were enjoyed by all. Can't wait to make them again!
• Most people use Applewood chips for pork, I did as well
• It's good to have latex or rubber dipped gloves, it makes you more efficient when wrapping, unwrapping and saucing the ribs
• I really enjoy letting the youngsters help, having them add chips to the smoker, taking them out and showing them the progress