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Smoked BBQ Pork Baby Back Ribs
A guide to preparing smoked barbecue pork baby back ribs using a propane grill, smoker box, and Hickory wood chips.

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Char-Broil Smoker Box

 
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The first time that I attempted to "barbecue" pork baby back ribs, I posted my pictures online and was informed by a group of BBQ connoisseurs that my methods were flawed.

For BBQ Baby Back Ribs Part I, I had used a spice rub with 16 ingredients (way too many) and the oven (a major BBQ faux pas).

In preparation for my second attempt at this culinary delicacy, I visited The Home Depot and purchased a Char-Broil cast iron smoker box for $11.99. Then in the Publix supermarket, I picked up 2.2Lbs of fresh pork baby back ribs ($12.19) and a bag of Hickory smoking wood chips ($4.99).

So now I had all the necessary equipment to prepare smoked barbecue baby back ribs. Well, at least as close as I could get with my propane grill rather than a true full sized wood smoker grill.

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Hickory Wood Chips
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While standing in the Publix aisle that contained all the barbecue accessories, I was presented with the option of either Hickory or Mesquite wood chips to smoke my BBQ baby back ribs.

I called my friend in Atlanta to ask for his advice since he grew up in a traditional southern home with countless barbecuing experiences.

He went on a extremely educational 10 minute rant about all the different kinds of smoking wood chips or chunks.

Some of the varieties of BBQ wood chips that he mentioned were cherry, oak, apple, alder, maple, pear, elm, beech, mesquite, pecan, and of course hickory.

After he shared a wealth of his knowledge on the subject, I was finally advised to purchase the hickory chips based upon his palate preference mini-questionnaire.

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Soaking In Flavorful Beer
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Pork BBQ Baby Back Ribs
I started off by filling the Char-Broil cast iron smoker box with the hickory smoking wood chips and soaking them in a bath of flavorful beer for 15 minutes.

By soaking the wood chips in liquid, they will smoke slowly rather than burning up quickly, which wouldn't allow enough time for the meat to absorb the smoky flavor.

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2.2 Pounds For $12.19
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Removing Ribs Membrane
I had purchased both pork and beef ribs for my last BBQ'ing attempt, but the beef ribs were very fatty so this time I just went with the pork ribs.

Another piece of advice that I received from the barbecue newsgroups message board was to remove the membrane that clings to the underside of the ribs.

By using a paper tower and a butter knife, it was fairly easy to get almost all of the membrane removed.

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Spice Rub Mix
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Smoker Box Heating Up


 
As I mentioned previously, my last spice rub mix recipe contained 16 ingredients and had a tasty but almost overpowering flavor.

For this rack of ribs, I chose the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) method and used only 4 ingredients: salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.

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Ribs Rubbed With Spices
I had the smoker box heating up over a low flame for a few minutes on one side of my Great Outdoors Ironware propane grill before I put the ribs on the other side with the burner off.

As the wood chips slowly smoke and add flavor, the indirect heat will cook the ribs to fall of the bone tenderness.

Here's where the waiting begins. I left the ribs to barbecue for 3 hours at about 225 degrees Fahrenheit.

Don't sneak a peek at the ribs during these three hours or the loss of heat will delay your meal.

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225 Degrees Fahrenheit
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Ribs Almost Done!
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Jack Daniels No. 7 Sauce
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While the ribs were barbecuing on 225 degrees of indirect heat, I mixed some Jack Daniels No. 7 BBQ sauce with a splash of a spirit that carries the same brand name.

Once the 3 hours had elapsed, I used a medium sized food brush to coat the ribs on both sides with the sauce mix.

Then I turned on the flame under the ribs for a few minutes to caramelize the sauce and give them a slightly crunchy coating.

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Glazing & Caramelizing
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Finally, my ribs were almost ready to be devoured. But rather than break them apart immediately and let the juices rush out on to the cutting board, I covered the ribs with aluminum foil to allow the meat some resting time.

My first bite confirmed that the barbecue pros really did know what they were talking about.

These ribs were delicious with the meat falling off the bone, a smoky flavor, and satisfying yet not overpowering spices.
 

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