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Our experts recommend St. Louis-cut pork ribs (taken from the midsection of the rib cage) for their density and fat content, or spareribs (located toward the hindquarters). Baby backs are quality cuts of meat, but they’re leaner so you miss out on some of the flavor. To ensure uniform cooking, ask your butcher to trim rib racks into an even rectangle. Perfect Form • Cooked right, an uncut rack should form a nice arc that either holds firm or begins to crack in the middle when you grip it at one end with a pair of tongs. • Keep an eye on how far the meat pulls away from the end of the bone—at the right finish temp, the distance should be about a half inch. • Begin saucing toward the end of the smoking process to allow the dry rub time to mature and caramelize. Pay close attention to sauces with a high sugar content, as they burn quickly.
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Courtesy of Aaron Siegel 2 racks (6-8 lbs.) St. Louis-cut pork ribs 2 cups of your favorite dry rub Firefly Sweet Tea Bourbon Barbecue Glaze
For the Firefly Sweet Tea Bourbon Barbecue Glaze: Heat 4 cups (32 oz.) Firefly Bourbon in a large saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until it reduces by three-quarters (roughly one cup), or about 15 to 20 minutes. Add 4 cups tomato ketchup, 2 cups cider vinegar, 4 Tbs. brown sugar, 4 Tbs. molasses, 3 Tbs. black pepper, 1/4 cup orange juice, 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce, and 2 Tbs. kosher salt. Cook on low heat for 30 to 45 minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat and cool. Rinse the meat. Pat dry and place on a large metal baking sheet or foil pan. With your hands, season the meat with the dry rub on all sides. Let stand at room temperature 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, light the grill. If using charcoal, bank the briquettes along the sides of the basin and leave only a few in the center. For propane grills, light half the burners to 250°F. Place a handful of wood chips in your grill’s chip tray or wrap into a foil ball, poke holes in it, and place directly over the flame. Place the ribs (bone side down) on the center of a charcoal grill, or over the unlit burners on a propane grill. Place cover on grill with ventilation holes open (the grill temp should range from 220 to 275°F). Add hot charcoal with shovel to maintain desired temperature. When the internal temperature of the meat reaches 190 to 195°F, remove from grill. Allow meat to rest 10 minutes. Flip racks so the meat faces down and slice between the bones. Turn meat side up and brush with Firefly Sweet Tea Bourbon Glaze. Serve immediately.