A recent thread about spare ribs being too sweet got me thinking. My wife likes REALLY sweet BBQ sauce on both her spare ribs and her baby backs. Me, not so much, but we all know who we need to please under your roof. I decided to try something new and was pleasantly surprised at the result.
My wife's on the road this weekend so it was the perfect opportunity to experiment. As I was loading the smoker this morning just before she left she made me promise there would still be ribs left when she returns tomorrow. I promised there would be and she went on her way.
Knowing I was going to make ribs this weekend I concocted a less sweet rub Wednesday night, making about a quarter cup, enough for a light sprinkling on two sides of four racks of ribs. Here's the recipe. I might tweak it in the future but it was pretty good. I buy the cheap spices by the way in the "international" section of my supermarket, generally avoiding the spice isle unless I can't find what I need in the cheap seats.
1 Tbs brown sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp New Mexico chili powder
1/8 tsp mustard powder
Throw all ingredients in a blender and blend until the peppercorns are broken up. Put it in a shaker and seal until ready to use.
I loaded the WSM this morning with KBB, hickory, oak, and a gallon of hot water, just enough to go dry about halfway through the six hour smoke. I set the BBQ Guru at 235F.
I didn't bother to remove the membrane, another experiment, rinsed, dried, then sprinkled two racks with the rub. (BTW, the membrane in the WSM became paper thin and basically unnoticeable).
One the smoker they went, meat side up, membrane down toward the fire. Left them alone for three hours. Then sprayed with a small mixture of olive oil, orange juice, and triple sec. The mix was probably 1 part olive oil, four parts OJ, 1 part triple sec. There was less than a cup in the spray bottle so I didn't make much. (I have this HUGE jug of triple sec left over from a party so what the heck). I sprayed them at 3 hours, 4 hours, and 5 hours.
At 5.5 hours I laid down a medium layer of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce that had a little maple syrup and Laird's Apple Jack stirred in.
Removed them at 6 hours.
They were good, juicy, nice bark, but surprisingly needed to be just a little more sweet. I sprinkled one rib with Turbinado (aka Raw) sugar. Wow. The nice bark on the ribs, the sauce, and the crunchy sweet of the turbinado sugar on the tongue on each bite REALLY made the ribs pop! I sprinkled the sugar on the rest of the ribs. The sugar may dissolve into the sauce as the day progresses but I'll be doing the turbinado sugar sprinkle again!
Just trying something new.