Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible


Rob’s Real BBQ Baby Back Rib Sandwich

Recipe by Steven Raichlen

Photo credit: Richard Dallett


  • Yield: Makes 2 large sandwiches, enough to serve 6 to 8 people generously when sliced
  • Method: Hot-smoking
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  • 2 racks baby back ribs, each 2 to 2-1/2 pounds
  • Your favorite all-purpose barbecue rub
  • 1 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup beer or apple juice
  • Sweet and Smoky Barbecue Sauce, or your favorite barbecue sauce
  • 2 loaves Italian-style bread (softer crust than French bread), sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced into rings, for serving
  • Dill pickle slices, for serving

Step 1: Set up your smoker (or set up your grill for indirect grilling) and preheat to 250 degrees F.

Step 2: Remove the membrane from the backs of the ribs. With the ribs meat side down, use a sharp knife to make shallow lengthwise incisions on either side of the rib bones (close to the bones). This step makes it easier to remove the bones once the ribs are cooked.

Step 3: Sprinkle the rub on both sides of each rack, using your fingertips to rub it into the meat.

Step 4: Smoke the ribs for 2 hours. In the meantime, lay 2 large sheets of aluminum foil (approximately 18 by 24 inches) shiny side down on a counter or work surface. Sprinkle 1/3 of the brown sugar in a rectangle that approximates the size of a rack of baby backs. Lay one rack, meat side down, on top of the brown sugar. Sprinkle another third of the sugar on the bone side of the rack. Top with half the butter and drizzle with half the honey. Lay the second rack of ribs on top of the first, meat side down. Sprinkle the bone side (which will be facing up) with the remaining brown sugar. Top with the remaining butter and drizzle with the remaining honey. Bring up the sides of the foil and pour the beer evenly over the ribs. Tightly roll or crimp to completely enclose the ribs.

Step 5: Return the foil-wrapped ribs to the smoker or grill grate and continue to cook until the ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender, another 2 to 2-1/2 hours. (Be very careful when unwrapping the ribs as steam will escape.) Pull on a bone: It should come out cleanly and easily.

Step 6: Remove the remainder of the bones from both racks of ribs. Generously brush the ribs on all sides with the barbecue sauce. Place one rack of deboned ribs, meat side up, on the bottom half of a loaf of bread. Top with onion slices and dill pickles. Top with the other bread half. (Trim the ends of the bread if the ribs are slightly shorter than the bread.) Slice into individual sandwiches, each about 2 inches wide. (If desired, pin the sandwiches together with a toothpicks or short bamboo skewers.) Repeat with the remaining rack of ribs and loaf of bread. Serve additional barbecue sauce on the side, if desired.

Tips:

Get the recipe for Sweet and Smoky Barbecue Sauce.