Can you imagine a smoked juicy delectable hunk of smoked baby back ribs, bones removed, on a sandwich bun or a french loaf? Its the smoked baby back rib sandwich!

Well, this idea came to me a while back although I figured that it had been done before (I was right). I have never served a rack of smoked baby back ribs deboned much less on a sandwich before and as this idea formed in my brain, it made more and more sense to me and my mouth watered at the mere thought.

In the spirit of the mantra, “Go big or go home” I give you the biggest, baddest sandwich you'll ever sink your teeth into!

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 225°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: n/a
  • Recommended Wood: Apple & Mesquite
What You'll Need
Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats-- you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.

Remove Membrane

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.

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Season the Ribs with Jeff's Original Rub

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.

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Then apply the Jeff's original rub very generously to the top side of the ribs.

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Let them sit for about 5-10 minutes while the rub mixes with the mustard and rib juices to form a really nice paste.

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Refrigerate the Pork Ribs Overnight

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.

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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 😉

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Leave them on the counter for a few minutes while you go get the smoker ready.

Ready the Smokers

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.

Smoke the Baby Back Ribs

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.

Step 1

Place the ribs directly on the smoker grate bone side down.

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Let them smoke away for about 2 hours.

Step 2

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.

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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.

Step 3

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.

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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.

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Resist the urge to tear into them.. I know it's difficult but you can do it!

Remove the Bones

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.

2014-IMG_4685 2014-IMG_4688

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.

Make the Smoked Baby Back Rib Sandwich

Brush a little melted butter onto the inside of the bread and give it a good toasting in the oven or grill.

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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.

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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.

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Top the sandwich and take a minute to marvel at the wonder of it all!

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Notes/Comments:
  1. 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!
  2. 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”.
  3. 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 😉
  4. 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.

Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats– you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.

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Jeff's Original Rub Recipe
Jeff's Barbecue Sauce
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I recently purchased both recipes. The files did not come thru right but Jeff was prompt to get it fixed. I tried them both last weekend and they were a huge hit. I followed his burnt ends recipe to the letter and my neighbors thought I was some master chef! Thanks Jeff!  -Susan T.

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Thank you for the great advice. Followed your rib recipe and everyone loved them. Used your rub and sauce. On point!  -Charles W.

Love the sauce and rub recipes. So far I have used them on beef ribs, pork ribs, and different chicken parts. Can't wait to do a beef brisket. Texas rub is great as well!  -Peter S.

Love the original rib rub and sauce! We have an annual rib fest competition at the lake every 4th of July. I will say we have won a great percent of the time over the past 15 years so we are not novices by any means. However, we didn't win last year and had to step up our game! We used Jeff's rub and sauce (sauce on the side) and it was a landslide win for us this year! Thanks Jeff for the great recipes. I'm looking forward to trying the Texas style rub in the near future!  -Michelle M.

I tried the rub on a beef brisket and some beef ribs the other day and our entire family enjoyed it tremendously. I also made a batch of the barbeque sauce that we used on the brisket as well as some chicken. We all agreed it was the best sauce we have had in a while.  -Darwyn B.

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Printable Recipe

Smoked Baby Back Rib Sandwich

Can you imagine a smoked juicy delectable hunk of smoked baby back ribs, bones removed, on a sandwich bun or a french loaf? Its the smoked baby back rib sandwich!
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time5 hrs
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Hot Smoking
Servings: 4 -6
Author: Jeff Phillips

Ingredients

  • 2 Racks of Baby Back Ribs
  • Yellow Mustard
  • Jeff’s original rub
  • Jeff’s barbecue sauce
  • Heavy duty foil (18″ – 24″)
  • 2 French loaves (or similar sized bread)

Instructions

Remove Membrane

  • 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.

Season the Ribs with Jeff’s Rub

  • Coat both sides of the ribs with yellow mustard.
  • Apply the mustard to the bone side first, then generously apply the original rub.
  • Wait about 5 minutes or so for the rub to start looking wet.
  • Turn the ribs over and apply mustard and then rub to the meaty side of the ribs.
  • Then apply the rub very generously to the top 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.

Refrigerate the Pork Ribs Overnight

  • Once they are seasoned well, 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.
  • Leave them on the counter for a few minutes while you go get the smoker ready.

Ready the Smokers

  • Set up your smoker for cooking at about 225°F.
  • 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.

Smoke the Ribs

  • Place the ribs directly on the smoker grate
  • Let them smoke 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 rub on the top of the ribs and wrap them up individually.
  • Place the wrapped ribs back into the smoker at 225°F.
  • 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.
  • Sprinkle them once again with more rub on the top side and place them back onto the smoker grate for 1 hour.
  • After the single hour, they are done and ready to come into the house

Remove the Bones

  • 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.
  • Note: there are sometimes some small bone pieces in the more narrow tip of the baby backs. Be sure to check for those.

Make the Smoked Baby Back Rib Sandwich

  • Brush a little melted butter onto the inside of the bread and give it a good toasting in the oven or grill.
  • 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 Jeff’s BBQ sauce to add yet another layer of flavor.
  • Top the sandwich
  • Serve Immediately
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