This recipe turns the traditional rib eating experience into an easy-to-eat party sandwich you can share. Plus, it's less messy and feeds more people!
Technique tip: Barbecue is done when the meat tells you it's done ... not the clock! Look at your meat: the bones should be starting to come away from the meat indicating nice tenderness. To release the bone from the meat, turn the cooked slab of ribs over and cut the meat down the center of the bone. Just a little twist of each bone should do it.
Special equipment: A smoker.
- Apple or cherry smoking wood
- 1 slab baby back ribs
- 4 tablespoons your favorite barbecue seasoning, divided
- 1/4 cup your favorite barbecue sauce
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
- 2 tablespoons apple juice
- 8 to 10 frozen onion rings
- 1 loaf French bread
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 2 to 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- One 8-ounce package provolone cheese slices
- Your favorite barbecue sauce
- Dill pickle slices (optional)
For the ribs:
1. Preheat smoker with wood chips to 250°F.
2. Trim any tough sinew and silver skin from the meat side of the slab. Trim any loose meat or dangling fat from the bone side of the slab. Remove the membrane layer from the bone side of the slab by picking up the edge of the layer and peeling it off (use a paper towel to help better grip the membrane).
3. Sprinkle both sides of your ribs with 3 tablespoons of the barbecue seasoning. Season the ribs more heavily on the meat side of the slab.
4. Let seasoned ribs rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
5. Put the ribs in smoker and let cook for 2 hours.
6. In a small bowl, combine barbecue sauce, butter, apple juice and remaining barbecue seasoning. Keep mixture warm to prevent the butter from solidifying.
7. At the 2 hour mark, wrap the ribs in foil with warm sauce. Return to smoker and let cook 2 more hours.
8. Once the ribs are tender, remove them from the smoker.
For the sandwich:
1. Cook onion rings according to package directions. Set aside.
2. Place the fully cooked baby back ribs on a cutting board with the bone side facing up. Using the tip of a knife, make a slice down the length of each bone to free it from the slab. Remove and discard the bones.
3. In a small bowl, mix together the softened butter and minced garlic.
4. Slice the French loaf lengthwise and slather cut sides with butter mixture. Top with the provolone slices, overlapping if needed.
5. Place cheese loafs under a broiler for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted and starting to brown.
6. Remove from oven and immediately place de-boned slab of ribs on the bottom half of loaf. Add the onion rings and a drizzle of barbecue sauce. Top with the other half of the cheese bread.
7. Slice into 8 sandwiches and serve with pickles and extra barbecue sauce.