You just purchased a new electric smoker and want to start making delicious BBQ? Follow these simple steps and after 6 hours you will have some delicious, tender, juicy, fall of the bone ribs.
This guideline outlines how I do my ribs. Everyone who BBQs has their own special tricks or steps they add to make their BBQ special. This outline is meant more for the novice as an example on my method. As you BBQ and smoke more and talk to people who do as well, you will develop your own techniques which will make your BBQ yours. I hope you find my instructions helpful and hope your ribs come out delicious!
Step 1: Prepare Ribs for Rub
Most grocery store ribs will come with the membrane removed nowadays. The ribs I purchase from my local store come this way. NOTE: the membrane is like a sticky layer of fatty saran wrap on the bone side. removal can be done by peeling up the edge of the membrane with a kitchen knife, then grabbing and peeling the membrane with a paper towel. it may come off in one clean pull, or it may not. most BBQ people recommend removing it and I have cooked ribs both ways and I prefer to remove it. it never really cooks away so leaving it on leaves a rubbery stringy sheet on the bottom of your ribs. removing it also allows my ribs to pull apart much easier.
Step 2: Rub Your Ribs
There are a MILLION different rib and pork rub recipes out there, pick one OR make one that suits the flavors you and your guest prefer. My rub contains garlic, cayenne, salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika. But the flavor you want is completely up to you! I have had ribs with amazing Cajun rubs and ribs with rubs that use brown sugar, which leaves an amazing sugary sweet crust on the ribs.
Once you have chosen a rub, literally rub and massage it into the meat. apply liberally . use a lot and really work it into the meat. don't worry if some falls off. that will happen. if you lose a lot before putting it into the smoker you can always add more.
Step 3: Start Smoking!
Heat your smoker to 225 F and set your timer for 6 hours. once you reach 225 F put your ribs in the smoker meat side up and let them smoke for 2.5 to 3 hours. cooking a little longer will give you the "fall of the bone" ribs that most people prefer. if you cook them a little on the shorter side you will get a slightly tougher rib that will still be plenty tender and should pull clean off the bone with just a light tug.
I use a blend of hickory and mesquite wood for my ribs. Add chips to keep the smoke going for the 2.5 to 3 hours you are cooking "smoking" during this step.
Step 4: Foil Ribs
After 2.5 to 3 hours remove your ribs and tightly Wrap in foil. place the ribs back in the smoker, Bone side up. I like to have a bunch of sheets pre torn and stacked on top of each other so I can quickly wrap the ribs and return them to the smoker. at this point you do not need to add any more chips as the ribs will not absorb the smoke flavor anymore (tightly wrapped in foil.) continue cooking at 225 F for another two hours.
Step 5: Unfoil Ribs and Sauce
After two hours remove your ribs and quickly unfoil them. be careful as the foil will be full of hot juices and could burn you. paint your favorite BBQ sauce on the meat side of the ribs and return them to the smoker. there is really no need to add more chips and "smoke" the ribs more. The meat will not really absorb any more of the smoke flavor, and it is possible to over smoke the meat. Just return the ribs unwrapped in foil and coated in your favorite sauce meat side up in the smoker. Let the ribs cook at 225 F for another hour.
Step 6: DONE!!
after an hour remove your ribs and bring them inside.....Here comes the hard part. Let them sit for 20-30 minutes before serving them. allowing the ribs to rest will help them retain more juice and they will be more flavorful. This part of cooking is pure agony. Staring at a huge plate of delicious ribs and not touching them. When it is time to eat however, add some of your favorite BBQ sauce and enjoy!