Photo by Daniel Krieger
Step 1: Make the mop sauce: Throw everything together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cool, pour into a plastic container, cover and refrigerate for later use. Makes 1-3/4 cups.
Step 2: Make the rub: Dump all the ingredients into a bowl and rub them together with your hands. Store in a plastic or glass container until ready to use. Makes 2-3/4 cups total.
Step 3: Prepare the grill: Pull off the grill rack and fire up the grill; then prepare the smoking packets by putting 3 cups of hickory wood chips in a bowl and covering them with water. Soak for at least half an hour. Drain well and divide between 2 squares of aluminum foil. Form into 2 individual packets, poking holes in one side. Set aside.
Spread out the coals once they’re good and hot, piling them on one side of the bottom of the grill. Set the wood chip packets on top of the coals. Stick a drip pan filled with 1/2 inch of water on the side opposite the coals. This will catch the drips from the ribs and keep things moist inside the grill. Reposition the grill rack over the coals and the drip pan. Cover the grill and let the fire simmer down a bit.
Step 4: Make the ribs: Rub the ribs all over with the rub, making sure you are getting it into every surface. (You can even do this step well in advance). Use just enough to coat the ribs evenly.
Grab the ribs and position them on the rack over the drip pan. Cover the grill and test its internal temperature by dropping an instant-read thermometer down the vent hold. You want the grill to be from 225 to 250 degrees (same temperature you would use in an oven.)
Walk away from the grill and let the heat and smoke do their thing. Come back to check on the ribs in about 45 minutes. Then check on things once every hour. If the ribs are looking a bit thirsty, mop lightly with the mop sauce. If the temperature of the grill is dipping below 225 degrees, add a few more coals to the fire.
Step 5: Test the ribs: Test the ribs for doneness once they’ve been cooking for 3-1/2 to 4 hours. You’ll know they are done if you can gently tear the meat between the bones, or poke your finger through the meat, or if they’ve reached an internal temperature of 180 degrees, or if they bend nicely when you grab them in the middle with a pair of tongs. Once you’ve determined that they’re done, get out the sauce and apply another coat.