Notes: These ribs were part of an August 1993 story on Texas barbecue, where barbecue means slow-cooked smoked meats with sauce. Back ribs are cut from the pork loin; sometimes they're called baby back ribs. Metal rib racks are available where barbecue equipment is sold.
3 cups hickory or apple wood chips
3 tablespoons ground California or New Mexico chilies
In a bowl, pour enough hot water over wood chips to make them float. Drain chips to add to barbecue.
Mix ground chilies, paprika, pepper, and salt.
Wipe ribs with a damp towel, then rub all over with the chili mixture.
Prepare barbecue for indirect heat.
If using charcoal briqiets, mound and ignite 40 briquets on the firegrate of a barbecue with a lid. When briquets are dotted with gray ash, in 15 to 20 minutes, push equal amounts to opposite sides of firegrate. Add 5 more briquets to each mound of coals now and every 30 minutes while cooking. Set a drip pan on firegrate between coals.
If using a gas barbecue, turn all burners to high and close lid for 10 minutes. Adjust burners for indirect cooking (no heat down center) and reduce heat to low.
For charcoal smoke, add 1/2 cup soaked wood chips with the 5 briquets every 30 minutes of cooking. For gas smoke, as soon as you turn on heat, place 1 cup soaked wood chips in the barbecue's metal smoking box or in a small, shallow foil pan directly on heat in a corner of the firegrate; add 1 more cup chips after each hour of cooking.
Set barbecue grill in place.
Lay ribs on grill but not directly over heat. If there is not enough space for all the ribs, set them upright in a metal rib rack on grill but not directly over heat. Cover barbecue (open vents for charcoal) and cook until meat pulls easily from bones, about 2 1/2 hours. You don't need to turn ribs on a charcoal barbecue, but on a gas barbecue turn ribs occasionally, even in metal rack.
Transfer ribs to a large platter; cut between bones and serve with sweet and tangy sauce
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