Growing up in the South ribs were a pretty common commodity at dinner, picnics and barbecues. In Texas the golden trumpet of barbecued meats was the brisket. While here in California is seems the beloved Tri-tip takes 1st place. I have never cooked ribs before, ok once at a friends house but my sister was co-chef and we ended up charring them to death; which was not much different from the way my father grilled them. It has been 11 years since I left the Sunshine state and even longer since I had rib because I was a pour college student. I was not about to let another summer go by without the taste of ribs. Yes I have been to a BBQ restaurant our here but what they served up did not constitute fine finger lick’n Southern barbecue goodness. The worst part was what they tried to charge for the monstrosity.
This recipe was tucked away in my file folder of ‘need to try’ recipes. It is not Dale’s BBQ but they were tasty and satisfying. I have to confess though I do not have a grill so our ribs were roasted in the oven. It is not the same as eating real slow cooked smoked ribs where the meat just falls off the bone but they were moist and tender so if you do not have access to a grill it is doable.
1/2 cup plus 2 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
2 1/2 tbsp hot paprika
4 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
2 racks pork spareribs (7 pounds total)
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
For Grill: Soak 3 cups woods chips in water according to the package directions or for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, combine 2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar, paprika, onion powder, celery salt, salt and pepper. Run a knife down the length of the bone side of each rack to split the skin, then season all over with the rub.
Remove the grill racks, arrange a drip pan or disposable baking sheet on one side of the grill to catch drippings. Drain the wood chips and transfer to a 2-foot long sheet of heavy duty foil. Wrap tightly creating a secure pouch, then poke 10 holes in the top to create a smoker box. Place the pouch on the side of the grill opposite the drippings pan. Set the grill racks into place, close the grill and preheat to 325 degrees.
Working quickly, arrange the ribs, meaty side up, over the drip pan. Grill, covered, turning occasionally, until the meat shrinks away from the bone and is fork tender, about 3 1/2 hours.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combing the remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, the ketchup, honey and vinegar over medium high heat and season with salt and pepper. Bring just to a boil, then lower the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally until smooth, about 5 minutes.
Brush the ribs all over with the sauce, arrange meaty side up and grill uncovered, turning once at 200 degrees for 20 minutes. Cut the racks unto individual ribs and serve with the sauce on the side.
For a tangier less sweet sauce add more vinegar.
To bake in the oven: prepare ribs as above with rub. Wrap ribs in heavy duty foil and bake at 300 degrees for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. Check ribs after 2 1/2 hour mark if they are tender coat with sauce and continue to bake 20-30 minutes.Watch the ribs like a hawk. The oven tends to dry meat out especially pork.