Baby Back Ribs Two Ways

A backyard basic, we’re talking about baby back ribs today. I’ve done them two ways, one sweet one hot, both smokey, tender, and delicious.

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These ribs were cooked the same way, at the same temperature, the only difference was the rubs.  This isn’t so much a recipe post, as a method for cooking baby back ribs.

To begin with, get your smoker settled in at 225F. While the smoker is getting up to temperature, get your smokables ready. In this case, my Sweet Heat rub as well as my Modified Memphis rub, the ribs themselves, and whatever else you may be smoking today. Liberally coat both sides with rub, and actually rub it in. Wear gloves, and work with one at a time. Once they are well coated, let them sit while your temperature stabilizes. Put the ribs in, and wait. At the two hour mark, open the smoker, and wrap your ribs in foil. I didn’t add anything at this step but some people do. This is known as the “Texas Crutch“, and while everyone has their own opinions, I find it helps cooking at home.

After one hour in foil, return the ribs to the rack in the smoker and check for doneness. This can be accomplished several ways, and I find it hard to use a thermometer to check ribs. A great way to check is to pick the rack up with a pair of tongs, and see if it cracks. If it cracks, it’s ready. Seeing meat retract from the bone tips, twist, or fall out easily can be signs they are done, but also signs of too much heat, overcooking, or other problems.

I usually let them go and check every half hour or 45 minutes. These ribs in particular took 5 total hours, but it was a cool day with new mods on the smoker to try out.

Notes

  • Using the foil wrap is optional, so is putting liquids or seasonings in it. Experiment, there is no wrong answer
  • Cooking times can vary greatly by conditions. Plan for six hours, be happy if its less, and understand it could be longer still. Perfection takes time
  • Left overs (haha) go great carved off the bone and put on a homemade pizza or nachos.

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