Baby Back Ribs – 2 Ways

We were having guests recently and I wanted to prepare something a bit special for them. I decided on baby back ribs with a plan to spice them 2 different ways for a little excitement in the meal. One rack was prepared by my traditional method while another went close to the route a competition team might use for their ribs.   The ribs cooked in the Traeger pellet-feed smoker leaving the BGE for baking a great loaf of Parmesan bread

Spices and Olive Oil

Spices and Olive Oil

The day before cooking, I gathered my spices, stripped the membrane off the back of 2 racks of baby back ribs and went to work. Obviously, one rack received a good dose of my own Rib Rub.   Before I apply rubs to meats I like to give them a good massage with some olive oil – it relieves stress and gives a good moist base for the rubs to adhere and soak into the protein. My technique is to coat each side twice with rub.   I shake on a generous amount then let the meat sit for 10 – 15 minutes before coating the other side.   The competition style rack was rubbed with 2 of Ryan Lane’s spices. On the top (meaty side) of the rack I used Lane’s Signature Rub and on the back side for just a little bit of kick on the tongue I used their SPF53.   Like the other rack each side received two coats of rub with a little rest along the way.   I covered the pan and refrigerated them overnight.

After an Olive Oil massage liberally apply rubs to both sides.

After an Olive Oil massage liberally apply rubs to both sides.

I set up the pellet smoker for 275 degrees and let it get hot & smoky. (same would work in the BGE with plate setter) I’m using Hickory pellets.  The two rack went on with the meat side up and we closed them in for about 2 ½ hours.   Some folks like to spray, mop or just look a lot – I usually don’t disturb my ribs at all for this initial cook time.

Baby Back Ribs 2 Ways in the Traeger Pellet Smoker

Baby Back Ribs 2 Ways in the Traeger Pellet Smoker

Now it’s time to wrap!   The Angry Man Style Rack received a light drizzle of my Sweet Vinegar Rib Sauce before being wrapped in butcher paper.   This is plain, uncoated butcher paper. I have a large roll hanging in a closet so I can tear off just however much I need. Wrap like a butcher wraps – place the rack at the end of the paper and make one fold over to just cover the meat. Fold over the ends over the meat at a slight angle and then roll the meat up once or twice before folding the ends again. It’s really easy and creates a nice tight & sealed package.   It goes back in the smoker continuing with the meat side up.

Angry Man Style Ribs wrapped in butcher paper

Angry Man Style Ribs wrapped in butcher paper

The competition style rack got a great sweetening – though not as much as a competition rack would receive.   I sprinkled brown sugar across a large piece of foil (I was conservative where a completion team would use about ½ a box), then squirted in some liquid margarine and drizzled honey on the ribs. Put the ribs meat first into the sugars and wrap up the foil.   These too go on the cooker with the meat up. Some like to go meat down so the meat sits in the melted sugar. I was trying to ad the flavor while not going to excess with sugar.

Competition style ribs have brown sugar, honey and liquid margarine added

Competition style ribs have brown sugar, honey and liquid margarine added

I used way less sugars than a competition cook would - way less!!!

I used way less sugars than a competition cook would – way less!!!

We let these run for another 2 hours. At that point they passed a bend test and were amazingly flexible – meaning done! Ribs are almost impossible to use a thermometer on so most of us like to pick them up and see if the rack bends easily to check for done.   At this point I took the racks out of the wraps and give them about 15 minutes in the cooker to finish off. (sometimes I pass on this step).

I put the ribs in a baking pan and gave them a good 15-20 minute rest before we sliced them apart for serving.

Baby Back Ribs 2 Ways ready to serve with BGE baked Parmesan bread.

Baby Back Ribs 2 Ways ready to serve with BGE baked Parmesan bread.

Both styles were fantastic!   Our guests were not rib fans but admitted afterwards that they were converts.   While we all enjoyed the sweeter version we had a unanimous vote for the non-sugar style. I want to be plain that it was the sugar/honey/butter that made the real difference in our opinions. Ryan Lane’s spices were “on-target” for the ribs!!!   The little bit of pop that the spicy rub gave to the backside of the rib was excellent. I will add that in on a rack without the sugar the next run of ribs we prepare.

Baby Back Ribs - 2 Ways Header

Baby Back Ribs – 2 Ways Header

Sugar is king on the competition circuit. However, remember that judges usually get just a few bites of any product entry so it’s got to grab the palate quickly and efficiently – hence, sugar!   For most of us, trying to make a meal of such sweet treats just isn’t enjoyable. Keep in mind here that I used at best about ¼ of the sugar, honey and margarine that a competition team would add to a rack. Can you believe it?

BBQ too often has a reputation for not being a healthy way to eat – and with all this added sugar and fat that would be a most correct assumption.  However, my style with just a little sugar and fat in the sauce, which is applied minimally, is a way to compliment the true flavor of the meat.  I love judging at BBQ competitions – but I like even better to enjoy a meal of well prepared, simply seasoned baby back ribs!   Let’s leave the smoked lollipops for someone else.

 

Written by

12 Responses to "Baby Back Ribs – 2 Ways"

  1. Joy Poole says:

    Looks delicious. I have enjoyed the Lane spices too!

    • admin says:

      Thanks, Joy. You are the very first one to comment on Angry Man BBQ’s blog! Ryan Lane does have some great spices and I’m glad that your discovered them.

  2. Creede Hinshaw says:

    Mouth-watering! I enjoyed the luncheon with you yesterday but wish that you’d been doing the cooking instead!

  3. Carl Gandolfo says:

    Yummy!!
    Good luck with the new website/blog!! I will be following for sure…already bookmarked!!

    • admin says:

      Thanks Carl. We still have a lot of work to do on the site to get it as we would like – but we can post good food and that’s what counts!

  4. Lisa says:

    Great blog, Glenn. Can I get automatic emails whenever you post?? Your adoring fans want to know it all!

  5. Robin Moreman says:

    Always love your cooking, especially your ribs!!!

  6. Tom Dancy says:

    Glen,

    Tried to send email under “Contact” but got error message. Anyway, I am enjoying the info on your site. I will have to try some of your recipes this summer. Will keep you posted on the outcomes.

    • admin says:

      Thanks, Tom. That’s one of the problems we are currently working on with the site. Lot’s more recipes and inspiration to come – thanks for following!

Leave a replyLeave a Reply to Robin Moreman