Note: I recommend prepping the ribs the night before you want to cook them. The fridge time amps up the flavor and improves the bark on the outside.
Place the pork ribs meat side down on a good flat surface or your cutting board.
Use a knife or other semi-sharp utensil to pry up on the thick plastic-like skin that covers the bones.
Once you have it started..
..grab it with a paper towel for good grip and tear it clean off in one fell swoop.
It doesn't always come off that easy but it does get easier with practice. Cook a lot of ribs and practice, practice, practice!
Pour about 1 cup of Jeff's barbecue sauce (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled sauce) into a small bowl.
Then add about ½ cup of honey and stir well until combined.
Set aside for a moment.
We will be using some super flavorful rub to make these ribs taste amazing but since we don't want to lose any of it, it's wise to add a little stickiness to the meat.
I often use yellow mustard and it works well but this time, we are pulling out the stops and going big!
Let's brush on some honey barbecue glaze!
Spoon about 2 or 3 TBS of that glaze you just made onto the boney side of the ribs and then use a sauce mop or a basting brush to spread it all over.
You can also use your hands if you like to get up close and personal with what you are cooking.😁
My original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) is undoubtedly the best thing I've ever tasted on ribs.. in fact we used to call it Jeff's naked rib rub because it was designed to be used solely on pork ribs.
We found out by accident that it was good on a lot more stuff but let's not get sidetracked.
After making a batch I always eat a spoonful (it's that good) but I'm still digressing!
Sprinkle the original rub generously on the bone side of the ribs. You are looking for complete coverage.
As I mentioned earlier, you can use a different rub if you really must but make sure it's low in salt. Rubs based on salt are not worth their salt in my opinion.
Let them ribs just sit there for a bit as the rub and the glaze sort of get to know each other. You want that rub to start getting a “wet” look before flipping them over.
If you get impatient (as we all do at times), you can use a fork to press down on the rub all over to speed up the process.
Flip the ribs over to meaty side up and once again, spoon about 2-3 tablespoons of the honey barbecue glaze onto the top of the ribs.
Spread it out with a sauce mop or a basting brush and don't forget the sides and edges.
Sprinkle on more of Jeff's original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) on the top of each slab of ribs. Be generous as this is the main layer of flavor and it's doggone important I tell ya'!
This is optional but I highly recommend it.
Place the ribs onto a pan with a rack (like this one) or just put them down in a full size foil pan if that's all you have. Cover with foil.
Place into the fridge overnight.
This gives the seasoning and the meat time to really marry together and sets the stage for a much better bark on the outside of the ribs.
Take the time for this and it will reward you!
Right before you're ready to cook or the next morning, get the ribs out of the fridge and set them on the counter while you go get the smoker ready.
Set up your smoker for cooking at 225-240°F using indirect heat and a cherry/mesquite mix for smoke. If your smoker uses a water pan, fill it up.
Place the ribs directly on the smoker grate or if you used a pan with a rack, you can also just place that on the smoker grate without removing them from the rack.
Let them smoke for about 3-4 hours in this configuration while maintaining the set temperature.
Note: if you are using a pellet smoker such as the Camp Chef Woodwind, start it up on the special “smoke” setting for the first hour. After 1 hour, you can turn it on up to 225-240°F and continue as normal.
Here's some tips for pellet grills
After hour 4 is a great time to go ahead and apply a layer of the honey barbecue glaze we made earlier. If you don't have enough, make up another batch.
Use a sauce mop or a basting brush and apply it generously to the top of the ribs.
You can expect these St. Louis style spare ribs to take about 6 hours depending on how thick they are.
We are looking for a temperature of about 195°F for tender meat that pulls easily from the bone without falling off on it's own.
If you like them more tender, you can use the 3-2-1 method which is described on the website on other rib recipes.
If you don't have a thermometer, ribs are one of those meats that you can easily check using other methods.
- When you can pick the ribs up in the center and they almost bend in half without breaking in half, they are perfectly done.
- You can also grab two adjacent bones and pull them away from each other to get a sense of the tenderness.
When the ribs are done to your liking, bring them into the house and place them onto a cutting board for slicing.
With a good sharp knife cut them up right between the bones and serve immediately.