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  • Nathan Castleberry

Spare Ribs

Just about everybody loves bbq ribs. I'm more into spare (St. Louis style) than baby back. It took me ruining a few racks of ribs before I started feeling good about serving them to friends and family, let alone posting pics on social media. Unlike other cuts of smoked pork, ribs can be easily overdone and dried out. It's a delicate process, but when done correctly makes the whole family happy. Here is a link to how they do it at Kamado Joe. Below I'll share share my own modified version of the 3-2-1 method.


The Prep

-Fire up your grill/smoker to about 225-250 degrees.

-Follow the instructions in the Kamado Joe I linked to above for trimming

-Pick out a dry rub or make your own with spices in your pantry like salt, pepper, garlic, brown sugar, and paprika (about 1/3 of the rub should be salt)

-Give both sides a generous coat of rub

-Once your grill is up to temp, add some wood chunks. For ribs I recommend applewood or cherry.


The Cook

-Ribs need to cook with the bones down over indirect heat to take smoke without drying out.

-The 3-2-1 methods claims your ribs need 3 hours of smoke. This is where you make the judgement. The bark on your ribs is created by the rub taking smoke which causes caramelizing and crisping. When you're happy with the look and texture of your bark, it's time to wrap. This is usually around 2.5 hours for me.

-Remove the ribs from the grill and brush over the top your favorite bbq sauce. I recommend slicing a few tablespoons of butter into 5-6 squares onto the top.

-Place the ribs upside-down on a sheet of foil.

-Pour a few ounces of apple juice over the bones. This helps keep the meat juicy.

-Wrap up the ribs fully in foil and place back on the grill upside down (bone side up)

-Let them cook like this for about 45 minutes to an hour. If you have a meat thermometer, you're wanting to cook them wrapped until about 175-185 internal temp. -Remove and unwrap ribs. Brush on a little more sauce. Place back on the grill for another 30-45 minutes or the internal temp is at 190.

-Remove and re-wrap the ribs so they can rest for another 30 minutes.

-Slice and serve


Good luck!



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