Step 1: Wash the ribs and blot dry. Remove the papery skin on the back of each rack of ribs. (Pull it off in a sheet with your fingers, using the corner of a dishtowel to gain a secure grip.)
Step 2: Make the rub: Place the ingredients in a bowl and mix, breaking up any lumps with the sugar with your fingers. Rub the mixture into the ribs on both sides.
Step 3: Set up your smoker following the manufacturer’s instructions and preheat to 225 to 250 degrees. Add the wood as specified by the manufacturer.
Step 4: Cook the ribs until very tender and the meat has shrunk back from the ends of the bones, 4 to 5 hours. Replenish the charcoal and wood as necessary. Starting after 1 hour and every hour thereafter, spray the ribs with apple cider.
Step 5: The last 30 minutes, brush the ribs on both sides with the barbecue sauce. If you have a grill handy, direct grill the ribs to sizzle the sauce into the meat.
Step 6: Serve the ribs with the remaining barbecue sauce on the side.
Use a rib rack to fit more ribs on your grill or smoker.