Smoked spare ribs injected with butter mixed with my original rib rub (purchase recipes here) and cooked 4-1-1 style (explained below) are just what the doctor ordered and they are a nice way to do ribs just a little different.

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recipe-ad-rubIn this wonderful smoked spare rib recipe, the rub gets injected into the meat and rubbed onto the outside. Prepare to be amazed!

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Smoked Spare Ribs 4-1-1 Style w/ Butter Injected Inside

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 225-240°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: n/a
  • Recommended Wood: Pecan
What You'll Need
St. Louis Style Trimming

I found these ribs already trimmed and membrane removed and they were at a great price. If you have regular spare ribs, you will need to remove the membrane and trim off the bone on leading edge so that you are only left with actual ribs.

2014-IMG_4973

For instructions on how to trim the ribs to St. Louis style yourself, see my instructions HERE

Season the Ribs

Brush some oil onto each side of the ribs to help the rub to stick. I often use mustard, honey, and an assortment of other things as well to serve this purpose.

2014-IMG_4988

Then apply Jeff's original rub (purchase recipes here) to the ribs generously.

2014-IMG_4990

Wait until it has that “wet” look, flip the ribs over and apply oil and rub to the meaty side.

2014-IMG_5004

Once both sides are oiled and rubbed with Jeff's original rub (purchase recipes here), the ribs will be wrapped in plastic wrap and allowed to marinate for 8-10 hours in the fridge.

2014-IMG_5006

I usually do this right before bedtime so they can marinate all night.

The next morning, pull the ribs out of the fridge and remove the plastic.

2014-IMG_5032

Making the Butter Injection

I usually make the butter injection right before I pull the ribs out of the fridge.

To make the injection you will probably want to run about a cup of my original rub (purchase recipes here) through the coffee grinder to powder it.  This helps it to not get stuck in the small holes in the injector.

These coffee grinders are cheap on amazon.com and you might even be able to find them locally. If you have a good blender or food processor, it might also work ok for this.

As a powder, my rub becomes an entirely different and delicious product that will not only work great for injections but it becomes even more useable as a seasoning for lots of other things.. let your imagination soar!

2014-IMG_4971

Mix a heaping tablespoon of the powdered rub into a stick (¼ lb) of melted butter and mix thoroughly.

Inject the Ribs

Lay the marinated ribs on a piece of plastic wrap then cover the ribs with a piece of plastic wrap. This prevents the butter from becoming a geyser that can shoot across the kitchen suddenly. The plastic is not required but don't say I didn't warn you!

Fill the injector with hot melted spicy butter and push the needle into the meat between each bone so that the tip is about 1 inch into the meat. Depress the plunger as you move the needle left and right at different angles to ensure that the butter is getting in there real good. Slowly pull it out as you continue to depress the plunger.

2014-IMG_5034

My general goal is to keep injecting butter until I see it seeping out somewhere.

Once I am done with one side, I flip the ribs around and do the same on the opposite edge at about 1 inch into the meat.

If you need more butter, make another batch so you don't have to scrimp on it. Give it all it will take!

You can expect some of it to come out but more stays in than what comes out and it does seem to make a big difference in the end product in my opinion.

Rub it Down Again

You will notice after injecting that you have all of this butter on top of the ribs.

Don't let it go to waste.

Spread the butter all over the top of the ribs and sprinkle on a little more of my original rub.

My rub is not overly salty and complements the ribs really well so you can feel free to use a lot of it if you want to.

2014-IMG_5038

Get the Smoker Ready to Smoke

You can use any kind of smoker you have access to in order to smoke these injected ribs. I used my propane smoker for these with the large iron woodbox full of pecan chunks. I was out of pecan after the first couple of hours so I started up my Stihl chain saw and cut a log into pieces that were about the same size as my chip box.

This Great Outdoors Smoky Mountain propane smoker by Landmann is the next best thing to a real wood smoker in my opinion when you are simply judging on flavor. I get the best flavor out of that thing and it always amazes me.

Anyway, whatever smoker you have needs to be pre-heated to between 225 and 240°F and make sure you have at least 3-4 hours of smoking wood available. I humbly recommend pecan if you have it available. Cherry, apple, hickory and even mesquite are also great choices or a mixture of these in any ratio works great.

Note: if you need further help with your smoker, please see the following pages:

Smoking the St. Louis Style Spare Ribs

I wanted to use a Bradley rack (I love those things in case you haven't noticed) so I cut the rack of spare ribs in half as you'll notice above. This makes them very easy to maneuver, flip over, wrap, etc.

Make sure the rack of ribs on the Bradley rack are bone side down.

Place the ribs or Bradley rack of ribs on the smoker grate and let the smoking begin!

I usually tout the 3-2-1 method as a great way to smoke ribs if you like them to be really tender. This is against competition rules but then, I don't like competition ribs all that much. I like them to be pretty darn tender but not quite falling off the bone.

I usually tend to do something closer to a 4-1-1 method to get them tender but not overly tender.

For those of you saying, “what the heck is 3-2-1 and 4-1-1 'cause that sounds like an area code for someplace I've never been?”

Well, I'm going to explain it in the next section so don't get your knickers in a knot!

Here we go..

The 4-1-1 on Smoking Delicious Spare Ribs
Step One

Place the ribs on the smoker bone side down, as mentioned above, and let them smoke their little porky hearts out for about 4 hours at 225°F .

Here's what they look like at the end of this first step:

2014-IMG_5113

Step Two

Wrap the ribs in a double layer of heavy duty foil, not real tight but tight enough so they can steam real nice inside and find their tender side.

I was using the Bradley rack so I just wrapped the entire rack in extra wide, heavy duty foil and it worked like a charm. That is not my normal procedure but I decided to try it and it worked just fine.

You can also just wrap the ribs with foil but I do recommend a double layer.

I placed the wrapped Bradley rack back into the smoker for 1 hour at the same exact temperature.

2014-IMG_5116

Step Three

After the ribs have tenderized for 1 hour, remove the foil and place the ribs back into the smoker, just like in step one, for one additional hour.

This additional hour, resets the crust, brings a little more color to the outside of the ribs and can even give them an extra bit of smoke should you choose to add smoke during this time.

Serving the Smoked Spare Ribs

When the ribs are finished, bring them in, let them rest for about 10 minutes then slice them up.

2014-IMG_5120

I recommend placing them bone side up to slice since that allows you to see the direction of the bones making it easy to slice between them.

2014-IMG_5204

Notes/Comments:
  1. If you are a garlic lover, add some roasted garlic paste to the butter. Just cut the top ¼ inch or so off of a garlic bulb (no need to peel). Drizzle a little oil onto the cut top of the bulb and place it in the smoker right on the grate for about 1.5 hours or until the garlic is so soft you can squeeze it out like toothpaste. 1 bulb to a stick of butter is about right!
  2. I'm not much of a meat mopper but if you are so inclined, it never hurts to spray a little apple juice on the ribs about every 30 to 45 minutes while they are unwrapped. Do it quickly to minimize heat loss.
  3. If you like the spare ribs to have a fair amount of tug to them then you might consider just leaving them in the smoker, no wrapping, until they are as tender as you like them. This usually takes about 6-7 hours.
  4. It is perfectly acceptable to use a vertical rib rack if you have limited space and need to cook a lot of ribs.
  5. Make a bunch of these up ahead of time skipping the last 1 hour step in the 4-1-1 or the 3-2-1 and take them tailgating still wrapped in foil! Heat them over indirect heat on the grill until they are slightly warm then unwrap and finish right on the grill grate (still indirect heat) until they are as warm as you like them. Sauce as desired.

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.

We are now running a limited-time 25% off sale on the DOWNLOADABLE RECIPES. Click HERE to purchase the instantly downloadable recipes (formulas) for both of my rubs and barbecue sauce at an unbeatable discount. Somebody pinch me! Or better yet, just go get them 😉 Note: The coupon should be automatically applied OR use SM25 during checkout if necessary.
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"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.
"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.
"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.

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Printable Recipe

Smoked Spare Ribs 4-1-1 With Butter Inside
Prep Time
45 mins
Cook Time
6 hrs
 
Smoked spare ribs injected with butter mixed with my original rib rub and cooked 4-1-1 style are just what the doctor ordered and they are a nice way to do ribs just a little different.
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Hot Smoking
Servings: 4 -6
Author: Jeff Phillips
What You'll Need
  • 1-2 racks of spare ribs (trimmed to St. Louis style)
  • Olive oil
  • Jeff’s rub (purchase recipes here)
  • Butter injection (recipe below)
  • Injector
  • Plastic wrap
  • Heavy duty foil
Instructions
St. Louis Style Trimming
  1. I found these ribs already trimmed and membrane removed and they were at a great price. If you have regular spare ribs, you will need to remove the membrane and trim off the bone on leading edge so that you are only left with actual ribs.
Season the Ribs
  1. Brush some oil onto each side of the ribs to help the rub to stick. I often use mustard, honey, and an assortment of other things as well to serve this purpose.
  2. Apply Jeff’s rub (purchase recipes here) to the ribs generously.
  3. Wait until it has that “wet” look, flip the ribs over and apply oil and rub to the meaty side.
  4. Once both sides are oiled and rubbed with Jeff’s rub, my original naked rib rub recipe, wrap the ribs in plastic wrap and allow to marinate for 8-10 hours in the fridge.
  5. The next morning, pull the ribs out of the fridge and remove the plastic.
Making the Butter Injection
  1. Make the butter injection right before you pull the ribs out of the fridge.
  2. Run about a cup of my rub through the coffee grinder to powder it. This helps it to not get stuck in the small holes in the injector.
  3. Mix a heaping tablespoon of the powdered rub into a stick (¼ lb) of melted butter and mix thoroughly.
Inject the Ribs
  1. Lay the marinated ribs on a piece of plastic wrap then cover the ribs with a piece of plastic wrap. This prevents the butter from becoming a geyser that can shoot across the kitchen suddenly.
  2. Fill the injector with hot melted spicy butter and push the needle into the meat between each bone so that the tip is about 1 inch into the meat.
  3. Depress the plunger as you move the needle left and right at different angles to ensure that the butter is getting in there real good.
  4. Slowly pull it out as you continue to depress the plunger.
  5. Keep injecting butter until you see it seeping out somewhere.
  6. Flip the ribs around and do the same on the opposite edge at about 1 inch into the meat.
  7. If you need more butter, make another batch so you don’t have to scrimp on it. Give it all it will take!
Rub it Down Again
  1. Spread the butter that seeped out all over the top of the ribs and sprinkle on a little more of my rub.
Get the Smoker Ready to Smoke
  1. Pre-heat your smoker to between 225 and 240°F and make sure you have at least 3-4 hours of smoking wood available.
Smoking the St. Louis Style Spare Ribs
  1. I wanted to use a Bradley rack (I love those things in case you haven’t noticed) so I cut the rack of spare ribs in half as you’ll notice above. This makes them very easy to maneuver, flip over, wrap, etc.
  2. Place the ribs on the smoker grate bone side down and let the smoking begin!
The 4-1-1 Style Spare Rib Cooking Method
Step One
  1. Place the ribs on the smoker bone side down, as mentioned above, and let them smoke their little porky hearts out for about 4 hours at 225°F.
Step Two
  1. Wrap the ribs in a double layer of heavy duty foil, not real tight but tight enough so they can steam real nice inside and find their tender side.
  2. Place the wrapped ribs back into the smoker for 1 hour at the same exact temperature.
Step Three
  1. After the ribs have tenderized for 1 hour, remove the foil and place the ribs back into the smoker, just like in step one, for one additional hour. This additional hour, resets the crust, brings a little more color to the outside of the ribs and can even give them an extra bit of smoke should you choose to add smoke during this time.
Serving the Smoked Spare Ribs
  1. When the ribs are finished, bring them in, let them rest for about 10 minutes then slice them up.
  2. I recommend placing them bone side up to slice since that allows you to see the direction of the bones making it easy to slice between them.

 

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