Right before the end of cooking, chef Tyler Florence likes to sprinkle his ribs with more rub—"like Cheetos dust," he says.
3 cups applewood smoking chips
1 1/2 slabs pork spareribs (about 8 lbs. total)
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
1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
How to Make It
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.
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.
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.
Meanwhile, mix vinegar, 1 tbsp. water, and the lemon juice in a small bowl.
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.
Make ahead: Dry rub can easily be doubled or even tripled. Store it, airtight and at room temperature, for up to a month.
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.
Never walk away from your grill. Out of sight, out of mind; you're going to have something burn every single time.
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.
Use a water-filled drip pan. Put this in the empty section to catch the fat as it melts, preventing flare-ups.
Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.
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Good flavors in the rub and interesting technique to spray or "towel" on the vinegar / lemon juice mixture at the end to dust with more rub. We enjoyed it and were glad we tried it once even if we didn't find it special enough to add to our "keeper" file.
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