Since not everybody has an offset smoker, I am giving you a way to make some good barbecue on a regular charcoal grill. It's still more of a grill than a smoke — hotter than a smoke but colder than a grill. But this will get some smoke on your ribs and cook them way faster than a smoker.
Technique tip: The bigger the grill the better — as it will give you the opportunity to keep the ribs as far away from the fire as possible.
- 1¼ cups garlic salt
- 1 cup freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (4-and-down) rack pork spareribs (3½ to 4 pounds)
- yellow mustard, for rubbing
- 1/4-1/2 cup Brisket Rub (recipe above)
- apple juice, for spraying
- charcoal, ideally mesquite
- wood chunks, ideally oak, pecan and apple
For brisket rub:
In a medium bowl, combine the garlic salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
For the ribs:1.
Light your charcoal according to the directions on the bag, then fill it into the charcoal basket, making sure it is pushed all the way to one side of the grill. Once the charcoal is gray and ashed over, add 2 chunks of oak and 1 chunk of pecan. Let the wood burn off for about 5 minutes.2.
Meanwhile, season your ribs. Spread a thin, even layer of mustard all over the ribs, rubbing it in well and making sure there are no clumps. Season the ribs with Brisket Rub, going lighter on the back and heavier on the top, until you have a consistent, even layer. Gently pat in the rub.3.
Once the ribs are seasoned, place them on the grill, as far away from the charcoal as possible. Cover the grill, leaving the vent in the lid above the ribs open.4.
Check the ribs, charcoal and wood every 30 minutes or so, adding more wood chunks every time they have burned out. On the second load, you can add a chunk of applewood along with the other wood. You should also add more charcoal as needed.5.
Once the rub is set and the crust looks solid — after about an hour or so — you can start spraying the ribs with apple juice every time you open the grill to check the meat and the fire.6.
If the color on your ribs is getting too dark, open the vent over the charcoal side of the grill. If the color keeps getting darker and the ribs haven't finished cooking, you can wrap the ribs with butcher paper or aluminum foil and put them back on the grill.7.
The ribs are done when you can feel tenderness and a little pull between the bones on the thickest part of the rib. They won't be quite as tender as slow-smoked ribs, but they shouldn't be tight either. Spray the ribs with apple juice just before they come off the grill, then let them rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Reprinted with permission from "Bludso's BBQ Cookbook: A Family Affair in Smoke and Soul." Copyright © 2022 by Kevin Bludso. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.