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Barbecue baby back ribs

OUR first week in Los Angeles, a neighbor invited us over for barbecue. For a couple of 'cue junkies fresh from Texas by way of North Carolina, this was a sure sign we had landed in the right place. We ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour, plus 4 to 5 hours smoking time, plus soaking time for wood | Serves 6

Dry rub

  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly cracked pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

Step 1In a bowl, combine the salt, pepper, cinnamon, paprika, cayenne pepper, mustard powder and coriander, reserving 1 tablespoon for the mop.


  • 1 tablespoon dry rub
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup homemade or your favorite commercial barbecue sauce

Step 1In a jar with a lid, combine the dry rub, vinegar, ketchup, mustard and barbecue sauce and shake well until combined. Makes one-half cup.


  • 3 (2 to 2 1/2 pound) racks of baby back pork ribs
  • 1 recipe dry rub
  • 1 recipe mop

Step 1Soak 5 to 6 almond logs (with bark) or hickory or mesquite logs (without bark) in a bucket filled with water. Choose the largest logs that will fit in your smoker firebox (about 12 to 14 inches long for the Silver Smoker). If you do not have logs, you can use hickory or mesquite chunks. You will need 15 to 20 chunks, depending on the size of the chunks. Soak for at least 30 minutes and up to several hours.

Step 2On the underside of the ribs, remove the silverskin (whitish membrane) covering the ribs. Using a sharp knife, wriggle the knife beneath the silverskin, starting next to a bone. Pull off the silverskin from entire rack (if it breaks, start pulling it off from next rib bone, working your way through the entire rack).

Step 3Sprinkle the remaining dry rub evenly onto all 3 racks, front and back; rub thoroughly into the meat.

Step 4In the smoker's offset firebox, build a charcoal pyramid with about 20 briquettes. Light the charcoal. When all the charcoal has caught on fire, use long tongs to spread the briquettes in a single layer on the bottom of the firebox. Place 3 soaked logs (2 if they are large) on top of the charcoal. When the wood has caught, close the firebox, leaving the firebox vent halfway to oxygenate fire.

Step 5Let smoke for 10 minutes, then put the ribs on the cooking chamber grates. Close the cooking chamber lid and the open smokestack halfway. Smoke for 4 to 5 hours, basting with the mop hourly. Add a soaked log as needed, checking hourly, to maintain constant smoke at about 200 to 250 degrees. (Check the temperature with a grill thermometer the first few times you smoke. Eventually you will be able to gauge doneness by the quantity of smoke.)

Step 6The ribs are ready when they are blackened and the meat shrinks from the bone slightly. (The ribs should be so tender that they will bend in half between the bones when lifted from the grill with tongs.)

Step 7Break the racks in half between the bones and serve with your favorite barbecue sauce on the side, if desired.

Note: From Kevin Garbee. Almond wood logs are available at Hollywood Firewood. Hickory and mesquite chunks are available at many barbecue and gardening stores such as Home Depot and California Charcoal & Firewood.
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