Episode 101: Smoking 101

Smoked Baby Back Ribs with Prickly Pear Barbecue Sauce



Smoked Baby Back Ribs with Prickly Pear Barbecue Sauce

Recipe Notes

  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8
  • Method: Hot smoking
  • Equipment: Pit Barrel Cooker; pecan chips


  • 4 racks of baby back ribs (8 to 10 pounds)

For the rub:

  • 5 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard

Recipe Steps

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.

Recipe Tips

Use a rib rack to fit more ribs on your grill or smoker.

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Steven Raichlen, a national barbecue treasure and author of The Barbecue! Bible, How to Grill, and other books in the Barbecue! Bible series, embarks on a quest to find the soul of American barbecue, from barbecue-belt classics-Lone Star Brisket, Lexington Pulled Pork, K.C. Pepper Rub, Tennessee Mop Sauce-to the grilling genius of backyards, tailgate parties, […]

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