Applewood-smoked Spareribs with Paprika Chili Spice Rub

Photo: Thayer Allyson Gowdy

Right before the end of cooking, chef Tyler Florence likes to sprinkle his ribs with more rub—"like Cheetos dust," he says.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8
Total:
Recipe from Sunset

More From Sunset

Recipe Time

Total: 2 Hours, 45 Minutes

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 752
  • Calories from fat: 66%
  • Protein: 54g
  • Fat: 56g
  • Saturated fat: 20g
  • Carbohydrate: 9.8g
  • Fiber: 2.3g
  • Sodium: 661mg
  • Cholesterol: 214mg

Ingredients

  • 3 cups applewood smoking chips
  • 1 1/2 slabs pork spareribs (about 8 lbs. total)
  • Dry Rub
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons celery seeds
  • 6 tablespoons hot paprika
  • 6 tablespoons chili powder
  • Wet Rub
  • 1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preparation

  1. 1. Soak chips in water 20 to 40 minutes. Meanwhile, light a full chimney of charcoal briquets. When they're ash-covered, bank to one side in cleaned firegrate of a large (22-in.) charcoal grill. When coals are 250° to 350° (you can hold your hand 5 in. above cooking-grate level only 8 to 10 seconds), sprinkle 1 cup soaked chips over coals. Next to coals, set a large disposable aluminum pan and fill it halfway with warm water. Set cooking grate on top.
  2. 2. Cut the full slab of ribs in half. Combine dry-rub ingredients; rub 3/4 of it onto both sides of ribs. Set remaining 1/4 of rub aside. Lay ribs on cooking grate over drip pan.
  3. 3. Smoke ribs, covered, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add 8 to 10 briquets to the lit coals (enough to keep heat constant) and 1 cup chips. Turn ribs over. Cook, covered, 45 minutes to 1 hour; add another 8 to 10 briquets and 1 cup chips. Turn ribs and cook for 30 minutes to an hour, or until meat is starting to pull away from tips of bone.
  4. 4. Meanwhile, mix vinegar, 1 tbsp. water, and the lemon juice in a small bowl.
  5. 5. When meat is almost done, use a spray bottle or paper towels to thoroughly baste top of ribs with wet rub, then sprinkle with remaining dry rub. Cook ribs a few minutes more. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
  6. Make ahead: Dry rub can easily be doubled or even tripled. Store it, airtight and at room temperature, for up to a month.
  7. TYLER'S FIXES
  8. Pack dry rub onto the meat. The little bits of fat on the meat's surface are going to melt to form a nice crust.
  9. Never walk away from your grill. Out of sight, out of mind; you're going to have something burn every single time.
  10. Cook over the cool zone. Large cuts like ribs will burn over direct heat. To create a cool, indirect-heat zone, bank the lit coals to one side of the firegrate, leaving the other side empty. The empty side is your cool zone. On a gas grill, turn one burner off and put the ribs over it; then lower the other burners to get the right heat.
  11. Use a water-filled drip pan. Put this in the empty section to catch the fat as it melts, preventing flare-ups.
  12. Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.
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