I had two things I wanted to do on Father’s Day–play golf with my dad and try out the new smoker. The problem is, smoking and golf both take a long time. But dad got an early tee time and I figured five hours would be just enough to have dinner ready by six. Golf was the almost perfect part–I missed my first career ace by less than the width of the ball. 185 yards with a 6-iron on the 15th hole and I hit the edge of the cup on the fly, but it spun out to about 8 feet. (Sadly I missed the putt.) Still, it’s always great to play golf with my dad.
As for the smoker, well, that was pretty darn near perfect too. We got three slabs of ribs from Costco. I thought there were only two in the package, so when we opened them last night and saw how many ribs we had, we quickly called mom’s parents to join us for Father’s day dinner. Step one was to make the rub, which we did the day before.
It’s made of about half brown sugar and half other spices. After that, we slathered the rub over the ribs. It goes on thick and puts something of a crust on the ribs. Once rubbed, we brushed a little apple cider vinegar on top and threw them in the fridge overnight.
Today, after golf, I immediately tossed the hickory chips for smoking in a bowl of water and started the charcoal. We have an offset barrel smoker and according to the interwebs, the retail-grade versions are just OK for this, but you can’t believe everything you read on the internet (near-hole in-one stories excepted of course). When the charcoal was ready, I dumped it in the firebox, tossed some woodchips on top and threw the ribs on the grill.
It’s near impossible for me not to want to poke at my cooking, but with smoking, the trick is to keep the lid shut and keep the temperature steady which is difficult with the crummy temperature gauge on the grill. After an hour, I opened the grill to brush the ribs with some more apple cider vinegar and put the deep fry thermometer in there for a minute. It was about 250-275 so it looked like we were on target.
The process goes through a lot of wood chips and no matter how long they soaked, they seemed to catch fire a lot. Tossing wet ones on the flaming ones was a good way to keep the smoke going. Two more hours of brushing and wood chips and things were looking good.
After three total hours of smoking, I wrapped the ribs in foil and brushed one more round of apple cider vinegar on them before letting them cook for another hour and a half. At about 5:30 I took the foil off and brushed both sides with barbecue sauce, then took one slab at a time and finished them in the firebox.
The ribs were a hit all around. They were tender though not quite falling off the bone. The rub was fantastic, and the smoke flavor was perfectly ingrained in the meat. Mom liked hers, Mr. N had seconds, and Miss A liked the one bite she had, but she had too many other things to nibble on to have any more. I had thirds. I’m looking forward to bringing out the smoker again soon, but for now I’m happy to look back on a wonderful father’s day.
Print this recipe: Smoked BBQ Ribs