It has been awhile since I last posted about ribs.  Well, it’s high time I posted again about them as you can never have too many rib, rub, or barbecue sauce recipes as far as I’m concerned. Besides, it gives me a chance to play with my smoker yet again. Man, I love that thing! While have gotten quite adept at barbecuing on my Weber kettle grill, life has become so much easier with my smoker. Now, instead of having to babysit my barbecue all day, I can load it up and let it go, checking it once an hour or so. The downside to that is I can’t use barbecuing as an excuse not to do things around the house. It won’t be long before my wife catches on, and the days of “tending the grill” all day, while sucking down copious amounts of beer will be at an end. If she hasn’t already caught on, I’m SOL now, as she reads this blog. Don’t worry though, I’ll find another excuse to waste away the day drinking beer and cocktails (if anyone has any good suggestions for such an excuse let me know).

Of course, if you have read my articles, here on Chef Talk, for any amount of time you are well aware of my love affair with all things pork – aka, god’s gift to all mankind. Grilled, roasted, braised, stuffed into sausage casings, cured, and/or smoked, there is nothing that can compare with a piece of well cooked pork. I feel for my friends who, because of religious or other reasons, are forbidden to consume the flesh of the pig. If they only knew what they are missing! While I think this nation as gone a little “bacon crazy” in the last few years, I am fully of the opinion that “everything is better with bacon,” a phrase I have uttered here numerous times, because if pork is delightful by itself, once you pair it with long, slow cooking in a smoke filled chamber it becomes absolutely divine!

In my personal hierarchy of pork, bacon reigns supreme, followed closely by pulled pork – slowly cooked over wood for hours on end. In close third comes ribs, the subject of today’s post. Today I’m just going to focus on a great rub and simple barbecue sauce to go with the ribs. I am going to assume you already know how to barbecue them. If you are not familiar with barbecuing then check out any of the other, numerous articles, on Chef Talk,  on pulled pork or barbecued ribs and it will walk you through how to barbecue on a kettle style grill. The most important thing when cooking in this style is to use an indirect method of cooking and making sure that your grill doesn’t get too hot. I like to barbecue between 225°F and 250°F. Depending on their size, baby back ribs will take you 2 1/2-3 hours to cook properly. Any shorter length of time and you will end up with dry or tough ribs. Talking about tough ribs, there is a misconception, here in the north, that ribs should be falling off the bone tender. I’ve got news for you, if they are then chances are they are dry, and that’s why so many places in the north end up drenching their ribs in sauce. Properly done ribs should still cling to the bone, yet yield easily when pulled, with just the slightly resistance before coming free.

Depending on the thickness of your ribs, your should apply your rub anywhere from 2 hours to overnight before you commence cooking. This will help to ensure the development of the “bark,” or crust. As far a sauce goes, many regions of the US consider sauce to sacrilegious, but if you like sauce, like I do, wait until the last 20 30 minutes of cooking before brushing it on. If you brush it on too soon, chances are the sugars in the sauce will end up burning, creating an unpleasant bitter, burnt flavor to your ribs.

Rib Rub
enough for 4 racks of baby back ribs

1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Combine all ingredients until well mixed. Place in an air tight container and store for up to 3 weeks. To use, sprinkle liberally on both sides of the ribs and gently rub it in. Allow to rest for at least 2 hours or overnight before cooking.

Bourbon Molasses BBQ Sauce
enough for 4 racks of baby back ribs

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup bourbon or whiskey
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 oz. yellow mustard
3/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and simmer over medium heat until onions are tender, about 15 minutes. Blend then cook until thickened and reduced by about 1/3. Brush onto ribs about 20 minutes before ribs are done. Brush again with about 10 minutes. Serve any left on the side for people to add more. Store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.