This easy beef back rib recipe is the perfect way to get outside and grill during these last warm summer days! Sticky, juicy, incredibly flavorful, and not to mention GF and paleo, these ribs are a dang satisfying way to end your summer.
(Paleo, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Nut Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, GAPs Friendly)
Though smoking a bunch of back ribs may seem way too ambitious, it’s actually pretty easy and not as time consuming as you’d imagine. The key to smoking back ribs is not opening the grill for an hour at a time, which means that for the rest of the day you can be doing other things. Start these babies up in the morning and by dinnertime you’ll have an incredible, flavorful (and yes, a bit messy) barbecue meal on your hands!
Smoked BBQ Back Ribs
- 2 racks Alderspring grass fed organic back ribs
- 1/4 cup brown sugar or honey for paleo
- 1 tablespoon chili powder plus more for extra spicey
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 3 tablespoons coarse rock salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 apples
- 1 cup apple juice
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Homemade paleo barbecue sauce see recipe linked to above
- A kettle grill or a smoker
- A charcoal starter chimney if using a grill
- Charcoal if using a grill
- Apple or cedar wood chips
- a foil or cast iron pan that you can put in the bottom of the grill it will get dirty
- In the morning: completely thaw your beef back ribs, then set aside on a clean surface.
- Combine the sugar, chili powder, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper. If you're using honey, stir that into the seasonings. It will make the mix a little harder to rub onto the back ribs.
- Gently rub the seasonings mix into the back ribs until the meat is thoroughly covered. If you used honey, you may want to coat your hands with olive oil before rubbing the honey into the meat to prevent the honey from sticking to your hands.
- Let the back ribs sit at room temperature for one hour, covered lightly in saran wrap. This will give the middle of the ribs time to come completely to room temperature as well as let the flavors sink into the meat.
- As the back ribs sit, prep the grill. You can use a smoker for this, but the following steps will help you if you're using a regular kettle grill.
- To prepare the charcoal: fill a charcoal chimney starter about halfway with charcoal. Place the chimney on top of the grill with one or two pieces of paper wrinkled up underneath to get things going. Use a stick lighter to light the paper. The burning paper should light the coals. Once the coals are going, allow them to heat in the chimney for 30 minutes. They are ready when they are gray with red heat in the center (see video or pictures below if in doubt).
- After you get your charcoal started, soak about half of your wood chips in water, leaving the other half dry.
- When the charcoal is almost ready, chop up your 2 apples into chunks, then place in a foil or cast iron pan. Add water until apples are covered and floating.
- Mix together your molasses, apple juice, and apple cider vinegar. If you have a spray bottle, put this mixture into the spray bottle. Otherwise you can use a brush or spoon to sprinkle it onto the meat. Set aside for later.
- When the charcoal is ready, pour it out onto the bottom of the grill so that it only covers one side of the grill. You'll put your back ribs on the other side so that they cook over indirect heat.
- Place the apple/water mixture on the other side of the grill, opposite from the charcoal (see video if in doubt).
- Sprinkle wet wood chips over half of the hot charcoal, leaving the other half uncovered.
- Place the top grill over all of this, then put the back ribs on top of the grill over the apples and water (see video). Sprinkle/spray/spread the apple and molasses mixture over the back ribs. This will add juiciness and flavor as well as keep the outside of the ribs from burning.
- Close the grill and allow to smoke for 1 hour without opening the grill.
- 1 hour later, open the grill. Add more charcoal to keep things burning hot (about 8 briquettes should do it), then sprinkle with dry apple wood chips (you'll alternate wet and dry every hour). Flip the back ribs over and spray with apple juice mixture. Cover the grill and grill for another hour.
- Repeat the process above every hour or so for about 5 hours. You'll want to try and keep the grill on the back rib side hovering at around 250 degrees F during this time. If the back ribs seem to be burning on the outside or if they seem to be hardly cooking at all, add or subtract heat. Remember to keep adding coals, however, to replace the old ones as they die.
- During the last hour of cooking, spread the top of the ribs with homemade paleo barbecue sauce (see recipe linked to above), cook for 30 minutes, flip, and spread with more paleo barbecue sauce. Cook for the remaining 30 minutes before serving.
- To serve, slice each rib in the meat between the bone. Serve with more barbecue sauce on the side.
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