Championship BBQ Pork Ribs

Championship BBQ Pork Ribs

Championship BBQ Pork Ribs

NorCal isn’t necessarily famous for its barbecue, but these ribs will have anyone from Memphis, Charlotte, or Austin drooling and groaning with guttural pleasure, “mmm, MMM!” They look like the ribs from the old Warner Bros cartoons and taste like that naughty dream you had the other night. Serve with some southern mac and cheese and a bowl of ham hock beans and that’s good eatin’ right there!

For best results, you’ll need a wood-burning smoker or charcoal grill. If not, it simply isn’t barbecue. We need to impart smoke on the meat while bringing it to temperature. You might have heard of the 3-2-1 method. This is a modified version of that.

    • St. Louis Cut Pork Spare Ribs
    • Yellow Mustard or HotBox Gourmet Hot Sauce (link)
    • SmokeShack BBQ Rub (link)
    • ½ Stick Kerrygold Butter (sliced into square pads)
    • 2 Tbsp Honey
    • ¼ Cup BBQ Sauce


Trim off any visceral fat and that pesky membrane from a rack of St. Louis cut pork ribs. I like to square off the edges for an even cook. I mostly use a light coating of yellow mustard as a binder for the seasoning, but the next level move is to use HotBox Gourmet Hot Sauce. Season both sides and ends with a liberal amount of SmokeShack BBQ Rub and let sit at room temp for 20-30 minutes to set in while you fire up the grill. 


Temperature control is everything in barbecue. I prefer to ride my fire at about 250 degrees (F) and prefer neutral wood like pecan or almond*. 

Stage 1:

Place the ribs directly on the grates bone side down and on indirect heat (not directly above fire). Cook for about 2 ½ hours or until the bark is tacked on and does not slide off with a finger swipe.

Stage 2: 

Cut two large sheets of aluminum foil and stack them flat on the counter. Sprinkle some more SmokeShack BBQ Rub on the foil and place the rack of ribs on the seasoned foil (meat side down). Cut a half stick of butter into three or four squares and place them on top of the ribs. Drizzle the top of the ribs with honey and sprinkle with more seasoning. Wrap the ribs into a tight package with both sheets of foil and return to grill for another 90 minutes or until internal temp reaches 200 degrees (F). 

Stage 3: 

Once the desired temp is reached, carefully remove ribs from the grill and place on a wire rack atop a half sheet pan meat side up. Brush with your favorite BBQ sauce and return to the grill for a final 30 minutes or until the sauce tightens up. Serve immediately and load up on the wet napkins!

*Shameless plug for my friends at Knotty Wood (here). Their Plummond wood pellets are incredible.

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