Smoked Ribs with Carolina-Style BBQ Sauce

TOTAL TIME: 19 hr 15 min
Prep: 30 min
Inactive Prep: 12 hr 45 min
Cook: 6 hr
YIELD: 4 servings
LEVEL: Intermediate


  • 1/4 cup ancho chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons Spanish paprika
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 racks St. Louis-style pork ribs, 12 ribs each, membrane removed
    • 2 cups cider vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
    • Few dashes hot pepper sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
    • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • Mix of hickory and applewood chips
      • 1 quart apple cider
        recipe tools


        For the rub:
        Combine all the spices in a small bowl. Brush both sides of the racks with oil and rub with the spice mixture. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

        In a large pot over low heat, add all the mop ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.

        Remove the ribs from the refrigerator 45 minutes before smoking to allow them to come to room temperature. Add the mix of hickory and applewood chips to the smoker according to package instructions. Heat a smoker to 220 degrees F. Put the apple cider in a small heatproof pan in the smoker.

        Put the ribs directly on the smoker rack. Smoke for 6 hours, brushing the ribs with the mop every hour for the first 5 hours. During the last hour, brush the ribs with the North Carolina Barbecue Sauce every 10 minutes. Remove the ribs to a serving platter and serve.

        For the BBQ Sauce:

        Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan. Add the onions and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the ketchup and water, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Cool for about 5 minutes.

        Carefully transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, then pour into a bowl and allow to cool at room temperature. Sauce will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator, stored in a tightly sealed container.

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