Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible


Spice-Smoked Lamb Ribs with Cherry Barbecue Sauce

Adapted from Steven Raichlen's Project Smoke

Photo credit: Photo by Richard Dallett


  • Yield: Serves 8 as an appetizer; 4 as a main course
  • Equipment: Bradley digital smoker; cherry wood; spray bottle
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  • 4 racks of “Denver cut” lamb ribs (the ovine equivalent of a pork spare rib—each 1 to 1-1/2 pounds)

For the rub (or use your favorite rub):

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Step 1: Prepare the ribs: Place a rack of ribs meat side down on a baking sheet. Remove the thin, papery membrane from the back of the rack. Turn the ribs over and using a knife, score a crosshatch pattern on the meat side. Make your cuts about 1/2 inch apart and 1/4 inch deep. Repeat with the second rack.

Step 2: Make the rub: Combine the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix with your fingers. Sprinkle the rub on the ribs on both sides, rubbing it into the meat.

Step 3: Set up your smoker following the manufacturer’s instructions. Preheat to 225 degrees.

Step 4: Place the ribs in your smoker and smoke until tender and the meat shrinks back from the ends of the bones, 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Start spraying the ribs with cherry cola after 1 hour and spray once an hour until done.

Step 5: Optional: The last 5 minutes, brush the ribs with the sauce and direct grill over a hot fire to sizzle the sauce into the meat.

Step 6: Transfer the racks to a cutting board and cut into individual ribs. Serve with Cherry Barbecue Sauce.

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Project Smoke

New York Times Bestseller Project Smoke is the How to Grill of smoking, both a complete step-by-step guide to mastering the gear and techniques and a collection of 100 explosively […]

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