Barbeque Baby Back Ribs

Barbeque!! Everyone likes barbeque. It’s the universal food.

Depending upon your location, there are different styles of barbeque and everyone believes they make the best barbeque. Barbeque competitions are everywhere. The Carolinas are known for their mustard based sauce. Memphis barbecue is best known for tomato and vinegar-based sauces. In Memphis and in Kentucky, dry rub meats smoked over hickory with sauce on the side is popular. Kansas City-style barbeque is characterized by its use of different types of meat, including pulled pork, pork ribs, burnt ends, smoked sausage, beef brisket, beef ribs, smoked/grilled chicken, and smoked turkey. The sauce is typically tomato based with sweet, spicy and tangy flavor profiles. Texas is renown for its dry rubbed smoked beef brisket with sweet,, slightly tangy and spicy tomato based sauce. I prefer dry rubbed meat with no sauce or sauce on the side. I really love barbeque ribs, especially baby back ribs.

When I first started learning the technique of barbequing I used a chimney-style smoker. Although this method of barbequing always served me well I always yearned for a real smoker so I could smoke bigger cuts of meat. Approximately 24 years ago I made my annual trek to the Texas State Fair. As we were wandering around the Fair you couldn’t help but notice the strong aroma of smoke. Believing there might be someone barbequing, I went to find the origin of the smoke. My search led me to David Klose of Klose Manufacturing (now BBQ Pits by Klose) in Houston. David was burning oak in one of his smokers knowing the smoke would draw Fairgoers like myself to his site. He had a large sampling of various of his BBQ Pits and was selling them at the Fair. These smokers were solidly built with 1/4 inch downhole drill pipe for the smoker and fire pit. They were well made and would last (and have lasted) a lifetime. It was just what I wanted, so I bought the smallest unit he had for $450. Shipping from Houston to Dallas was free. This was a great deal and I couldn’t wait to receive it. It took approximately 30 days. As I was sitting in my office one afternoon I received a call from Central Freight Lines informing me the smoker had arrived and wanting to know if someone would be home the next day so they could deliver it. I was so anxious I couldn’t contain myself. A close friend of mine was running a day labor service so I told Central Freight Line I would call them back and let them know. In the meantime I called my friend and made arrangements with him to get a couple of day laborers and his truck to go get the smoker that evening from the Central Freight Lines yard in South Dallas. I called Central Freight Lines back and told them I was coming to pick up the smoker that evening. I informed the clerk of my intentions and got approval to pick up the unit when the clerk pointedly asked me how I was going to accomplish this task. I explained we had a truck and two day laborers. The man chuckled and asked me if I was sure I wanted to do this inasmuch as shipment to my door was included in the shipping cost paid by David Klose. I asked him why did he ask. He said it’s very heavy. I asked “How heavy”? He advised the gross shipping weight was 450 lbs. Realizing the foolishness of my plan I then told him I would be home the following morning. 😮

Over the next 24+ years I have truly enjoyed this smoker and have honed my barbequing skills. This is my recipe for barbeque baby back ribs. My kids love these and when they come back home for a visit I always try to barbeque for them. Done right, these ribs will easily pull from the bone. The flavor from the dry rub and smokiness of the wood make these ribs lip smackin, finger lickin good. The only problem with these ribs is that the amount of wood it takes to do a couple racks of ribs is the same for 12 racks. So, when I crank up the smoker I never do less than 10 racks of ribs. That’s enough ribs to feed 20 people easily, unless it’s my friend Cecil who will eat 3 racks all by himself! It’s a good thing I have ample freezer space. One of the last times I made these ribs I sent our third son, Matt, back home with 6 racks in his suitcase. It was hilarious watching him go through security while they x-rayed his bags only to see a large number of bones in his bag. 😀


  • 10 racks of Baby Back pork ribs

For the Dry Rub

  • 1-1/2 cups sweet paprika
  • /2 cup ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup sea salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 Tbsp Chile Powder (preferrably homemade)
  • 4 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 4 Tbsp Onion Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry Yellow Mustard

For the Mop

  • 1 beer
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (or peanut oil)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp of the dry rub above


For the Dry Rub

Mix the spices thoroughly in a large bowl. Pour into a 1 qt mason jar, cover and store in a dark cool place.

For the Mop

Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and allow to cool.

For the Ribs

Generously cover the ribs in the rub, stacking the racks side-by-side and one rack on top of the other.

© 2012

Cover the ribs and put in the refrigerator overnight.

The next morning take the ribs out of the refrigerator and pat them down with a little more rub. Let the ribs sit until they reach room temperature, roughly 1 hour.

Start the smoker. I use a propane torch to start the wood. Everyone who barbeques has their own preference of wood to use. Some use oak. Some use hickory. Some use pecan. Others use a combination of woods. I prefer pecan as it lends a sweetness to the smoke.

When the smoker reaches 220 F lay the racks on the smoker shelves. A good smoker will maintain 220 F without much ado. Just periodically check on the temperature and add more wood, as needed. I find I usually go through 6 – 7 sticks of pecan for ribs. Apply the mop and rotate the ribs every hour to keep the ribs cooking at roughly the same temperature throughout. After 4-1/2 – 5 hours the ribs should be ready. You can tell when the ribs are done when they easily bend between the ribs. Let sit for 10 minutes before cutting. Serve with potato salad, raw onion rings, pickles and pinto beans. Enjoy!

© 2012

5 thoughts on “Barbeque Baby Back Ribs”

    1. I just with I could eat them like I did when I was young. They are so laden in wonderfully tasty fat I’m sluggish the rest of the day. I cook them now for the kids and for me to eat 3-4.

Food for thoughts

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