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Smoked Baby Back Rib Sandwich

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Can you imagine a smoky, 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!

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

Someone cue the angel choir because this is heavenly!

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 225°F (107°C)
  • Meat Finish Temp: n/a
  • Recommended Wood: Apple & Mesquite
What You'll Need
  • 2 Racks of Baby Back Ribs (Avoid extra meaty as they won't be as tender)
  • Yellow mustard
  • Jeff's original rub
  • Jeff's barbecue sauce
  • Heavy duty foil (18″ – 24″)
  • 2 French loaves (or similar sized bread)
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 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 .

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 (107°C). 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). Spoiler alert: we are going to remove the bones before placing the meat on a sandwich. If the ribs are cooked correctly for this sandwich, the bones will just slide right out.

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 cook 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  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 (107°C).

Please note: smoke does not hurt anything here but technically the smoke is not doing anything flavor-wise since the ribs are wrapped in foil during this step.

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 at 225°F (107°C). You can definitely add more smoke to the ribs during this step if you want to.

You will notice that the ribs may look a little soft at this point, placing them back into the smoker for 1 hour improves the bark on the outside.

When this last step is complete, bring the ribs 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.

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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 and remove any you find.

Make the Smoked Baby Back Rib Sandwich

The bread preparation can be done while the smoked baby back ribs are finishing up.

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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Lay the entire rack of boneless baby back ribs onto the top of the bread.

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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.

You can also add onions, pickles, whatever you like, here.

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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 preferred to just have ribs and sauce on the bread with nothing else but if you feel so inclined, you can add tomatoes, raw onions, grilled onions, cheese, slaw, relish, bacon, fried eggs..  the list is practically endless!
  2. It is best to NOT purchase baby backs labeled as “extra meaty”. This means 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 notice that I added rub three times during the preparation and cooking portion of the ribs. My rub is low in salt, 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.
5 from 1 vote

Smoked Baby Back Rib Sandwich

Can you imagine a smoky, 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 minutes
Cook Time5 hours
Total Time5 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Lay the ribs bone side up on a flat surface, then remove the plastic-like membrane on the bone side of the ribs.
  • Coat the bone side of the ribs with yellow mustard, then generously apply the original rub. Wait about ten minutes for the rub to start looking wet, then turn the ribs over and apply the mustard and rub to the meaty side of the ribs in the same way.
  • Place 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.
  • Set up your smoker for cooking at 225°F (107°C) using indirect heat. If your smoker uses a water pan, fill it up. Once your smoker is set up and ready to go, place the ribs directly on the smoker grate and let them smoke for about two hours.
  • After two hours, remove a rack of ribs from the smoker and place it on a long sheet of heavy-duty foil. Sprinkle extra original rub on the top of the ribs and wrap it up. Place the wrapped rack of ribs back into the smoker. Repeat the wrapping process if you have multiple racks of ribs.
  • After two hours, remove the wrapped ribs from the foil and let them continue to cook on the smoker grate at 225°F (107°C) for an additional hour to firm up the bark.
  • After this final step in the smoker, they are done and ready to come into the house.
  • 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.
  • Brush 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 bottom half of the bread. Top the ribs with Jeff's BBQ sauce, then place the top on the sandwich.
  • Serve immediately.

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5 from 1 vote

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Recipe Rating




10 Comments

    1. Yes, butcher paper is a great alternative for wrapping almost anything in the smoker. It lets the meat breathe a little while still holding in enough moisture to allow some braising for tenderness.

  1. I make baby backs with your rub often. 4 grandsons that love the ribs. I am definitely going to surprise them and do this soon. Thanks for your BBQ recipes and method emails.

  2. Dang those look good MR Jeff. Question please with adding soo much rub( which is a good one) Does the ribs get any smoke flavoring? People claim smoke cannot get past the spices and mustard.

    1. Daniel, Smoke particles stick to the outside of the ribs whether that’s the seasoning or the meat. Smoke particles do not get absorbed down into the meat. When you eat the ribs, or any meat for that matter, the flavor appears to be all the way through the meat, but in reality, that smoke flavor is just carried into the meat through the process of biting and chewing.

      This should not be confused with the smoke ring which is caused by gases emitted when burning wood, propane, charcoal, etc. There is no flavor in the gases that create the smoke ring. There is only flavor in the smoke particles.

      To answer your question: it is true that smoke flavor (particles) are not much deeper than that outside layer whether that’s seasoning, meat or a combination of the two. However, adding extra seasoning does not reduce the smoke flavor that you perceive when you take a bite.

      To test this theory, you can smoke two racks of ribs in the same environment. Coat one of them heavily with rub and the other can be coated lightly. You will notice a difference in the rub flavor and the crust will differ, but there will be no perceived difference in actual smoke flavor.

  3. Careful with the 2-2-1 method, just like the 3-2-1 method, time doesn’t always equal the desired temp. Monitor the temp. I usually put foil on at about 160 and then wrap for 2 hours or until about 180/190. Then unwrapped until 205.

    That may not work for everyone, but that’s what I’ve found works best with my smoker. Learn your smoker and do what works for you!

    1. 5 stars
      I’m definitely going to give the boneless rack of rib sandwich a run!
      Ditto for me on your 3-2-1 comment. Temp trumps time on my RecTec. MY PROBLEM is that I’ve yet to find a good dense hogie roll here in Ocala. I’m so discouraged with the bread here that I’m about ready to do my own.

  4. Jeff, I did these ribs like you said then cut them into hand size sandwiches and they were gone within 15mins I got one bite out of it LOL so I’ll be doing this again this coming weekend and I will NOT be inviting my friends!!!!!!

  5. I haven’t made this yet but it looks so good. But reading the directions I noticed a problem. Well with my smoker that is. I have a master built electric smoker and when u smoke at 225 degrees there’s not really much smoke. But if its smoked at 250 then there is plenty of smoke. Just a little fyi just incase others have the same problem. But when I make this I’ll be using my offset smoker. Thanks again for your recipes and all your helpful tips. Will be purchasing your book soon