Smoking Spare Ribs

Discussion in 'Pork' started by states4, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. states4

    states4 Newbie

    Hubby and i are having another throw done but this time im going to smoke my ribs instead of cooking them in the oven. I will using a charcoal grill. I like appllewood chunks. I just don't know how much i need. here are some questions i have.

    1. Can i use charcoal and wood chunks or chips togther?

    2. How much will i need for two racks?

    3. I like my ribs sweet with honey. Should i wait till the end to put the honey on or putting it on with the rub a good idea?

    4.Is it ok to lay them flat on the grill or should buy a rack?

    4.Does the wood/charoal have to be to the side of the rib?

    Cooking it in the oven was easy but the grill is different. This will be my first time. I only used the grill to do hamburgers, hotdogs and steaks. I want my ribs to fall off the bone. I cant wait to hear everyones suggestions.
  2. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    1 & 2 -  I use lump charcoal and use a mixture of chips and chunks in my smoker. I usually put a small handful of chips and 2-4 nice size chunks you don't need a lot. Some times less is more. And make sure you are getting thin blue smoke not billering white smoke. White smoke is bad and will make your meat taste bitter. If you can smell the smoke you are smoking. Like I said less is more in this case.

    3. - You can add the honey when ever you want either way will work. I like to use the 3-2-1 method for spares and 2-2-1 for Baby Backs. (3 hours on the smoker, 2 hours wrapped in foil, 1 hour back on the smoker) Check out Jeff's explanation on the 3-2-1 method. I usually put some brown sugar, butter and honey on my ribs once I put them in the foil.

    4 - I always lay mine flat on the grill.

    The main thing you will learn is there is no one right or wrong way to smoke your food. Some do it one way and some do it another and they may contradict each other a bit. Experiment and find out what YOU like the best and go with that. Welcome to the forum and stop by Roll Call  and tell us a little about yourself and also so everyone can give you a warm welcome.
    shearmayhem likes this.
  3. Hi States. Spare ribs are delicious! And you have some good questions about cooking them... I'm not an 'expert', but hopefully my comments can help...

    1: You can definitely use charcoal and wood together! Most people would use the charcoal as a base (for the heat), and then add about a handful of chips or chunks every 30 - 45 minutes for that good smokey flavor.

    2: You could get by with 1/2 to 3/4 of a bag of charcoal for the smoke, and probably 6 or 7 small handfuls of wood chips/chunks. The wood amount is kind of a personal preference matter - it doesn't take a whole lot to get that good apple flavor, but too much can have negative effects on the taste.

    3:  Honey? Great on Spare ribs! You can add the honey as a base to hold the rub prior to cooking, or you can make a glaze to add during the cooking process. Either way works and tastes delicious... or you could do both [​IMG]

    4A: If you're cooking only two racks, and you have the real estate, you don't necessarily need a rack. I've never used one, so I can't speak of all the benefits, but it seems like they're used mainly to maximize your grill estate availability.

    4B:  If you want 'fall off the bone' good ribs, you would want to keep the meat off of the direct heat, so keeping the coals and wood to the side would probably be a good idea.  The general rule for Spare's is about 6 hours at anywhere between 225º and 240ºF. Some people like to foil-wrap the ribs with a little added juice for the 3rd and 4th hours to help with the tenderness.

    I hope this helps. Keep us posted on how it goes. Oh, and if you have any pictures of the event... hook us up[​IMG]
  4. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    What kind of grill are you using? The advice you're getting is good but we may be able to do better if we knew what you are cooking on, brand, size, shape. What kind of charcoal will you be using? 
  5. states4

    states4 Newbie

    I have a gas/charcoal combo from Char-Griller. Hubby likes gas and i like charcoal. Next week i am hoping to get the smoke box. I will be cooking out on June 19th. I will post several pictures. We are puting fathers day, my birthday(wjich is on the15th) and my sons pre-k graduation all together.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2010
  6. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Well, it's time to get a new hubby! No self respecting man prefers gas over charcoal[​IMG]
  7. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yep, those Gas ribs are disgusting!! [​IMG]


  8. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I would do how Rbranstner said to do. I know what his ribs look like. Nothing against the smoking fool but I have smoked a many a rack of ribs and his way is just about the same as my way too. Well good luck in your throwdown and please don't forget the Qview so we can cheer one of you on. Now wait a minute with the gas grill/smokers quote I have several gas grills/ smokers and a charcoal smoker too but I prefer gas. I guess you like redheads too.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2010
  9. states4

    states4 Newbie

    Redheads are the! My poor has to deal with 3 of us. My kids and I are! I cant wait till next weekend. I will challenge him tomorrow to a thrown down this saturday. Got to work out the kinks first. Family is coming down next! LET THE SMOKING BEGIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  10. states4

    states4 Newbie

    I got all my seasonings. I bought hickory charcoal and stll need to get applewood chunks and the ribs. I am getting them tomorrow.  Hot damn i can't wait.
  11. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Are you Smoking then on the grill "Low and Slow", will you be foiling as in 3-2-1?
  12. states4

    states4 Newbie

    I am smoking them on the grill. I am going to do the 3-2-1 method. It makes sense. Hubby likes that idea too. I thought you were suppose to wet the chunks??  Do i put the pouch on top of the coals? Everyones suggestions are helping. I am not that nervous anymore. 
  13. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Two notes about the Chargriller-

    If you get the Side Fire Box turn the charcoal grate so the little legs on either end are pointed down, this will improve the air flow to the coals, especially if you are using briquettes and not lump charcoal.

    The factory supplied thermometers are notorious for reading incorrectly, the one on mine is off by at least 25 degrees. You should find some way to monitor the cooking temps or at least check to make sure that the factory therm is somewhat accurate. An El Cheapo $3 oven thermometer from Wal-Mart may help do this.

    As to your charcoal usage, plan on using 1 bag but get another for back up. Better to have too much than not enough IMHO.
  14. states4

    states4 Newbie

    I bought a 15 pound bag. But i will get more. Summer is here so better to stock up!
  15. states4

    states4 Newbie

    I got start on my ribs. I can't seem to find any applewood chunks. So far i trimmed up my ribs. The membrane is the hardest part. I made sure i wrote down excatly how much of each seasoning i put in my rub. Just in case it comes out good i can do it! I also made a mop sauce to use when i wrap it open in foil. I forgot one important thing when using charcoal.....matches. I will post pictures later tonight or tomorrow morning. Super soked! Have a great weekend everyone and happy grilling/smoking! [​IMG]
  16. states4

    states4 Newbie

    I had a hard time maintaining a descent temp. My seasoning needs a little tweeking but all in all they came out really good. They fell right off the bone. Here's a pic. Enjoy!

  17. jaxgatorz

    jaxgatorz Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    your 15th b-day and u have a hubby?? Not that theres anything wrong with or does that mean your b-day is on the 15th??  either way, nice looking ribs !!![​IMG]

  18. states4

    states4 Newbie! My b-day is on the 15th. Thanks for looking at my! It was my first time smoking them with charcoal.
  19. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That plate full looks great, but as soon as I saw you were only 15, I immediately stopped looking at your ribs![​IMG]

  20. squirrel

    squirrel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi States! Great photo of the ribs! I'm doing ribs today, they'll come off in another hour. I like sweet and spicey so I used muscovado sugar, garlic, salt, pepper, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper. I sprayed them with apple juice during the first three hours the were not foiled. I did add a little honey, butter and another spray of apple juice when foiled. I just took the foil off and basted with honey and light touch of my favorite BBQ sauce. These are just spare ribs that I cut St. Louis style and not babybacks (they were on sale!)

    Good luck with your throwdown, that sounds soooo exciting, keep us posted!

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