About the sauce. There are so many good commercial sauces out there that i never make my own. It’s a matter of personal preference anyway- hot- sweet- smoky? Through much experimentation I discovered a pretty good combo. I use equal parts of all 3 of these and serve extra sauce when serving on the side- some like em naked- others like em dripping.


serves 2

I spent one summer a few years ago perfecting this method. I love ribs. Both my parents were born and raised in Kansas City, a great BBQ town. My Dad had a big smoker in our backyard where he would BBQ a lot. As a kid, we also frequented a good many rib joints in Minneapolis and outskirts- my parents were searching for a little taste of Kansas City I suspect. I like a juicy, but not fatty rib, with a nice little sauce crust- and just wanting to fall off the bone- but staying put until you start to eat em. Many rib joints here serve over salted, over sauced, under cooked, fatty ribs.  The secret ingredient here is not the sauce- but the apple wood chips !

1  -12 rib baby back pork ribs

kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

garlic powder

thick sliced sweet onions

BBQ sauce of choice*

4 cups apple wood chips or chunks- soaked in water- for 1 hour minimum

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Line a jelly roll pan with foil on the bottom and sides. This will make for easier clean up. Cut the ribs in half for easier handling  - and place them on the prepared baking pan-meaty side up. Season them well with the salt and pepper and garlic powder. Place the sweet onion slices on top all away across the rack. Tightly wrap the pan with aluminum foil, and put them in the oven for 2 hours. No need to check on them. They are slow -steam -cooking in the oven. Remove and set aside covered- until the coals are ready.

Set up your grill with charcoal briquettes.* You want a hot but low fire -heat , so don’t start any cooking until the coals are all white hot. When they are ready- push and pile them to one side as you are going to cook the ribs in an indirect method. Add the grill top and scrape away until very clean and heated up.

Drain the apple wood chips and add to the hot coals and let them burn for a few minutes with the lid off. You can then prepare the ribs for the grill. Remove the foil and transfer the ribs to a cutting board. I sometimes save the onions and puree them in with the BBQ sauce- a kind of onion marmalade. But usually i discard them.

Cut each rib section halfway through- this makes for easier eating. Pour the juices out of the baking pan and  if it’s cool enough you can use it to transfer them to the grill- less clean up later.

Place the ribs- meaty side up on the grill not under any coals and as far away from the hot ones as possible. Put on the lid and smoke them for about 10 minutes. Turn them and smoke for another 10. They will turn a rich mahogany color. Remove the lid and brush our pour a thin coating of sauce over the ribs- turn them. Cook with the lid on for another 5-6 minutes. Repeat. Right before removing them to a serving platter and when the coals are very low but still hot - i give the meaty side another coating of sauce and cook them meaty side down over the direct heat to give them a little crust- it doesn’t take long 30 seconds at most if the conditions are right. They’ll blacken a little and have a nice crunch.

If using a gas grill put the soaked apple wood chips in heavy duty aluminum foil and make a “pouch”. Make a hole to vent and place them on the upside down V bars.