Smokin’ good pork spare ribs

I’m reasonably sure that my dad could make a living cooking things. His tailored smoker has seen its fair share of cooking endeavors. For years the Mayfield-Fisher Fourth of July Hog Cookin’ was a must-attend for many of our friends. My earliest accounts of this party (it started when I was not yet 1) were two whole hogs thrown on a pit and cooked to pulled-pork perfection.

The interesting thing that Dad discovered around year 23 of this party was this: by cooking the whole hog all at once, you are basically ruining the ribs. Ribs cook much faster, and if they are still attached to said piggy . . . then they’ll be mired in drippings and rendered inedible. Needless to say, the Fourth of July party menu got even better when they decided to order the hog already quartered and cooked the ribs separately.

Some like ’em dry, some like ’em wet. If you have some wet revelers coming over for dinner, maybe whip up a batch of BBQ Sauce (recipe here) for them to pour over their ribs when you serve them.

3–4 pounds (2 kg) pork spare ribs
1 cup dry rub (see pages 118–119 for recipes)

  1. Begin by pulling the filmy membrane off the back of the ribs. Spread the dry rub all over.
  2. Once covered, place in refrigerator for 2–3 hours (you can leave them overnight if you want). Remove and allow to come to room temperature.
  3. Get your grill or smoker running at around 250°F (120°C) with no direct heat to the meat. If you have soaked wood chips, use them. Place a drip pan under your meat underneath your cooking rack filled halfway with water.
  4. Place ribs meaty side up onto your rack and over pan. After 1 hour of smoking, flip ribs over.
  5. Allow to cook for 1 more hour and then pull ribs from grill. Cover in aluminum foil and put back in the smoker for 1 more hour.
  6. Pull from grill and let sit for 10 minutes before cutting into serving sizes.

Variation—You can use baby back ribs for this recipe too.

Tips & Tricks—Don’t have a smoker yet? Use your oven with the heat set to the same specifications and follow instructions as if in a smoker.

Ingredient Notes—Use one of the dry rubs from our book or create your own. We always have some dry rub sitting around waiting for the smoker.