The membrane on ribs is a thick, plastic like material that stretches over the bone side.
To remove, lay the ribs bone side up on a flat surface.
Work your fingers or other semi-sharp object under the membrane in the center of the rack of ribs and pull upward. With a little practice, the entire membrane will pull off in one piece.
On ours, we got so excited about this monster rib sandwich that we totally forgot to do this step until after we'd applied rub to the top and sides. Trust me.. it's much better to do this step FIRST thing.
With that pesky membrane out of the way, coat both sides of the ribs with yellow mustard. It don't take a lot but don't be afraid to be generous either. The rub does a great job of helping the rub to stick to the ribs and it won't taste anything like mustard when it's all said and done.
Don't fear the mustard!
Apply the mustard to the bone side first, then generously apply Jeff's Original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub).
Wait about 5 minutes or so for the rub to start looking wet. This means it is mixing with the mustard.
Turn the ribs over and apply mustard to the meat side of the ribs.
Then apply the Jeff's original rub very generously to the top side of the ribs.
Let them sit for about 5-10 minutes while the rub mixes with the mustard and rib juices to form a really nice paste.
I don't always apply the rub the night before, but we are trying to infuse as much flavor as possible into these ribs so I recommend that you do the rub the night before on these.
Once they are rubbed down good, lay the ribs on a piece of plastic wrap and wrap them up nice and tight.
Place the wrapped ribs in a pan (to prevent possible leaks) and put them in the fridge overnight.
The next morning, remove the ribs from the fridge and unwrap them.
You will notice that the rub has turned into this beautiful paste and they will smell good enough to eat right then and there. I recommend you do not eat them just yet 😉
Leave them on the counter for a few minutes while you go get the smoker ready.
You can easily turn out great tasting ribs using charcoal, gas, electric or wood smokers (this includes pellet smokers) following my time and temperature recommendations.
Set up your smoker for cooking indirect at about 225°F and if your smoker uses a water pan, fill it up.
Make sure to have enough smoking wood to last about 2-3 hours. Mesquite mixed with equal parts of apple is a great combination but any smoking wood will work.
Once your smoker is set up and ready to go, the ribs are ready to go into the smoker.
It is vitally important that these ribs end up super tender (what some people call overcooked). If you don't like tender ribs normally that is fine but they need to be really tender for this sandwich.
In order to get super tender baby back ribs, I recommend a method known as the 2-2-1 method.
This is simply a 3-step method that allows the ribs to smoke for 2 hours, tenderize in foil for 2 hours then an additional hour to add more smoke and crisp them back up on the outside.
Follow these steps, and you will not be disappointed.
Place the ribs directly on the smoker grate bone side down.
Let them smoke away for about 2 hours.
After 2 hours, remove them from the smoker with a spatula or something that does not disturb the rub and place them on a long sheet of heavy duty foil (I use a 30-inch piece).
Sprinkle extra original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) on the top of the ribs and wrap it up.
Place the wrapped ribs back into the smoker at 225°F.
Please note: smoke does not hurt anything here but technically there is no need for smoke if you are using an electric, charcoal or gas smoker since the ribs are wrapped in foil.
After 2 hours, remove the wrapped ribs from the smoker and take them carefully from the foil. Be careful when you open them up, they will be very hot and the steam and rib juices in the bottom of the foil will be very hot.
They will also be very tender so you'll want to be easy with them.
Sprinkle them once again with more of the original rub on the top side and place them back onto the smoker grate for 1 hour.
You will notice that the ribs may look a little soft at this point, placing them back into the smoker for 1 hour at 225°F, keeps them very tender on the inside but improves the bark on the outside.
After the single hour, they should be really tender and ready to come into the house.
Resist the urge to tear into them.. I know it's difficult but you can do it!
Lay the racks of ribs bone side up on the cutting board and very carefully twist the bones while pulling upward to separate them from the meat. Making a cut along both sides of the bone helps if they are a little stubborn.
I think you'll find that if you followed the 2-2-1 method above, the bones will usually pull right out.
Note: there are sometimes some small bone pieces in the more narrow tip of the baby backs. Be sure to check for those.
Brush a little melted butter onto the inside of the bread and give it a good toasting in the oven or grill.
Then lay the entire rack of ribs onto the top of the bread using a long wide knife or something similar underneath to keep the super tender ribs from breaking into pieces.
Top the ribs with a generous slathering of Jeff's barbecue sauce (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled sauce) to add yet another layer of flavor.
Top the sandwich and take a minute to marvel at the wonder of it all!
- I prefer to just have ribs and sauce on the bread with nothing else but if you feel so inclined, you could add tomatoes, raw onions, grilled onions, cheese, slaw, relish, bacon, fried eggs.. the list is practically endless!
- I have noticed that some of the baby backs I have purchased recently, are extra meaty. This is because they have left more of the lean loin meat attached to the top of the ribs. Loin meat on baby backs is not a good thing as it will end up dry and tasteless if cooked as long as baby backs. For this reason, try to find baby backs that are thin, not “extra meaty”.
- You will noticed that I added rub 3 times during the preparation and cooking portion of the ribs. My rub is not very salty, and because the rub does such a great job of complimenting the meat, I highly recommend that you do not skip this step if you use my rub. If you use a different rub, you are on your own 😉
- To make smaller individual sandwiches, prepare ribs as directed then cut deboned slab into 3 equal sections. Place the meat on large buns with sauce and other toppings.