Some people like barbecue for the sauce; purists like it for the pork. If you're one of the latter, you have to try these ribs, developed by Food editor Russ Parsons. You don't need a smoker to make them, a good old-fashioned kettle grill will work fine. The trick is concentrating the heat along one side of the grill, so that the ribs can slowly smoke on the cool side. Note also that the dry rub spicing mixture makes enough to repeat this recipe three or four times -- in other words, about a week's worth.
Total time: 2 hours, plus marinating time
Servings:6 to 8
1/3 cup mild finely ground dried chile
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 (4-pound) racks pork spareribs
1. In a jar, combine the chile, salt, sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, cumin and coriander, crushing any chunks of brown sugar. Cover tightly and shake well to combine thoroughly.
2. Trim the ribs, cutting away any excess fat pieces and loose ends without bones. Lay the ribs flat with the bony underside facing up. If you prefer, remove the flap of meat that covers part of one side. Use a small knife or skewer to poke through the thin, tough membrane that covers the rib bones, lifting a corner of it. Use a clean kitchen cloth to get a good grip and gently but firmly pull the membrane away from the ribs. It will come up in sheets; you may have to repeat the process a couple of times to get it all.
3. Sprinkle both sides of the ribs with the dry rub mixture, using about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons per side. Rub to distribute evenly, and then seal tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour to overnight.
4. Soak 3 cups of hickory chips in enough water to cover generously. Start the coals in a chimney and when they are lightly coated with gray ash, about 20 minutes, empty them into the grill, arranging them in a gentle slope against one side.
5. When those coals have cooled slightly, about 20 minutes, add two-thirds of the wood chips, replace the grill rack and brush it with oil. Arrange the rib rack well away from the heat and cover tightly so that the lid's vent holes are over the ribs, opposite the flame. Smoke, turning every 30 minutes or so, until the meat begins to pull away from the rib tips and is so tender that a center bone can almost be pulled loose, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. After about an hour, you'll need to replenish the smoke, adding the remaining wood chips on top of the coals.
6. Remove the racks from the fire and wrap them tightly in aluminum foil. Set aside for 30 minutes to 1 hour to rest. Serve at room temperature, or reheat briefly on the grill, off the fire, before serving.
Each serving: 851 calories; 62 grams protein; 2 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 64 grams fat; 24 grams saturated fat; 255 mg. cholesterol; 1337 mg. sodium.