The best smoker can easily produce the spicy, smoky slabs that are any backyard barbecue’s ultimate prize. Follow these 6 marvellous steps to make the best smoked apple ribs!
You can make it happen. Here’s the real smoked apple ribs recipe, good enough to bring home a trophy in a cook-off. There may be a few more steps in this process than you like, but it’s not hard and we’re talking restaurant grade here. Better. You will need a Bradley Smoker for this.
You may have thought such alchemy possible only at the best barbecue joints. But great ribs are surprisingly easy to make at home, which is good news at a time when eating out can be fraught.
I won’t say that cooking them is a quick process. If you want speed, grill a steak instead. But if ribs take two to three hours in all, the actual prep can be done in 30 minutes. But the results are achievable by all, and definitely worth the effort.
Just follow these 6 steps. No special equipment is needed beyond the smoker you probably already have in your backyard.
What You’ll Need
- Bradley Smoker
- Bisquettes…. I like apple
- Brown sugar
- Mustard Dijon
- Apple juice, spray bottle
- Aluminum foil
- BBQ sauce (whatever works for you)
Step #1: Choose the Right Ribs
Four types of ribs are supplied by the pig: baby backs (sometimes called top loin ribs), spareribs, rib tops, and country style ribs.
You want to use the baby backs that are taken from the top section of the hog (like the backbone, literally). Baby backs have the most generous marbling and the tenderest meat, making them cook fairly fast — and a natural for newbies.
Purchase ribs from a heritage breed of pork, such as Berkshire (sometimes called Kurobuta) or Mangalitsa, wherever possible. They cost more but the price is justified by their strong porky taste.
Step #2: Layer the Rub
A process that produces layers of flavours is one of the secrets of smoked ribs. Begin with a slather, like the mustard Dijon, that is then brushed on both sides of every rib rack.
Then apply a rub. Put it on just before putting it in the smoker or preferably a couple of hours prior. The rub is liberally applied next, don’t miss anywhere. My rub is made up of:
- 5T brown sugar
- 1 1/2T kosher salt…. Less if you like
- 1/2T chili powder
- 1/4t black ground pepper
- 1/4t cayenne pepper or more for more heat
- 1t garlic powder
- 1/2t onion powder
- 1t red pepper flakes
Step #3: Smoker Time
The smoker is heated to about 270 F. Remember to add the bisquettes in the pipe at this point and when everything is up to temperature, the ribs are put in meat side up for 1.5 hours. Then flip, meat side down for another 1.5 hours.
At this point, they might look a little dry but they’re not. If you want, spritz them with apple juice after the first hour and a half.
Pro Tip: Ribs should be tender, but they should definitely retain a little chew. That’s why we have teeth.
Step #4: Put on the Goodies
Preparation for the next step: Use 2 sheets of foil for each rack. This is to wrap the ribs in, then put some brown sugar on the ribs, honey on top of the brown sugar, and spray with some apple juice on top of the honey. Wrap tight, 1 seam down, and 1 seam up. Put it back in the smoker.
After 2 hours, remove the ribs from the smoker, and then uncover the ribs.
Pro tip: Be very careful, as the ribs and juices will be super hot.
Step #5: Time to Baste the Ribs with Sauce
Baste the ribs with your favourite BBQ sauce and as in the picture put them back in the smoker for about 1 hour.
The sauce recipe:
- 3 cups brown sugar
- 3 cups ketchup
- ¾ cup red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup water or beer.
- 2T worcestershire sauce
- 2T garlic powder
- 3T dry mustard
- 2t paprika
- 5t salt
- 5t ground black pepper
- 2-3T lemon juice
- 5T hot sauce or to taste
Remove the ribs wrapped in foil from the smoker then baste them with BBQ sauce, wrapped them back up and just let them rest. This cuts about an hour off the cooking time and they still taste excellent!
Now you got meaty slabs stung with spice, bronzed with smoke and slathered with sticky sweet barbecue sauce. The meat is tender, but not too tender, with a profound pork flavor enhanced by the pit master’s art.
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