Pork Spare Ribs
At Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas, the spare ribs are so popular that the line for them is typically 300 people long — at 11 a.m. Chef and owner Aaron Franklin says his secrets are easy to duplicate at home. “The first is buying ribs that haven’t been enhanced with a solution of salt and preservatives,” says Franklin. “That stuff will make the ribs steam instead of smoking properly.” (Buy ribs at a local butcher, and avoid labels with language like “Contains a solution to enhance juiciness.”) The second is liberally slathering the meat with Franklin’s Barbecue Sauce, which creates spare ribs crusted with bark, that unbeatable crunchy coating of meat, smoke, and caramelized sauce.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
- 2 racks of pork spare ribs
- salt and pepper
- apple cider vinegar
Franklin’s Barbecue Sauce
- 1¾ cups ketchup
- ½ cup water, plus 2 tbsp
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup white vinegar, plus 1 tbsp
- 4 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1½ tsp kosher salt
- 1½ tsp coarse black pepper
Directions (Cook time: 8 hours)
1. Preheat smoker or charcoal grill (see opposite page) to a medium-low heat, ideally 275°.
2. Season ribs heavily with salt and pepper, then set on the grill, meat side up. Use a spray bottle to spritz ribs with apple cider vinegar; close smoker lid.
3. Make barbecue sauce by combining all ingredients in a small pot and simmering over medium heat for a few minutes. Let cool.
4. Two hours into cooking, spritz meat again with apple cider vinegar.
5. After three hours, spritz ribs again and brush with sauce. Turn ribs over, spritz the bone side, and brush with sauce. Close smoker lid and wait 15 minutes.
6. Tear off two pieces of aluminum foil, each large enough to enclose one rack. Spritz one side of foil with cider vinegar and brush with sauce. Lay a rack of ribs on each. Wrap tightly around ribs and crimp closed.
7. Cook two hours in smoker or in a 275° oven. Let ribs rest 20 to 30 minutes before serving.
Cut into individual ribs and serve with additional barbecue sauce, plus coleslaw or collard greens.
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