Start to finish: 4 hours
This recipe is my version of ribs that made me fall in love with backyard ribs. The Memphis in May barbecue team took me under their wing and shared their secret_slathering the ribs in fresh lemon juice before seasoning them.
4 racks pork ribs, about 2-3 pounds per slab
2 lemons, cut in half
1/4 cup Classic Barbecue Rub (see below) or favorite spice rub
Soaked wood chips, if desired
Favorite barbecue sauce
Build charcoal fire or preheat gas grill. Remove silver skin from back of ribs, if desired. I prefer to leave it on the ribs.
Set up the grill for indirect heat and if using wood chips, place soaked chips directly on charcoal, or in smoking box of gas grill. Rub the cut lemons over front and back of ribs squeezing to release as much juice as possible. Discard any lemon seeds. Set aside for 5 minutes. Sprinkle ribs liberally with spice rub and let sit, covered, for 15 minutes.
Place ribs (bone side down) in the center of the cooking grate or in a rib holder/rack, making sure they are not over a direct flame. Grill covered (at about 300 F, if your grill has a thermometer) for 2-3 hours, depending on how big your racks are.
Two-pound racks will take about 2 hours and 3-pound racks will take closer to 3 hours. The meat will be tender, and you can see that it has pulled back (receded) from the ends of the rib bones. Leave ribs untended for the first 30 minutes_this means no peeking; especially important if using wood chips. If the ribs start to burn on the edges, stack them on top of one another in the very center of the grill and lower your fire/heat slightly.
Twenty minutes before serving, un-stack ribs, if necessary, and brush with barbecue sauce. Remove ribs from grill and let rest 10 minutes before cutting into individual or 2-3 rib portions.
Warm remaining sauce in a saucepan and serve on the side, if desired.
Backyard Rib Rub
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
3 tablespoons white granulated sugar
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon freshly ground Worcestershire black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients; mix well. For a smoother rub, process the ingredients in a spice grinder until well combined and all the pieces are uniform (the rub will be become a very fine powder and tan in color. It can be stored in an airtight container for up to 6 months.)
Nutrition information per serving: 221 calories; 115 calories from fat; 13 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 72 mg cholesterol; 627 mg sodium; 5 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 22 g protein.
Elizabeth Karmel, Associated Press