Preparation / Directions:
The night before...
The ribs should be trimmed of all hard fat and the membrane removed from the underside. To remove it, poke a hole and run your finger under the membrane, then rip it away.
Rub both sides of the ribs with a thick coat of the rub.
Place the ribs in a plastic bag and refrigerate overnight.
(Thanks to Smoke and Spice by Cheryl and Bill Jamison, published by The Harvard Common Press, Boston, Massachusetts, $14.95, for the inspiration for this rub. If you are only planning to buy ONE barbecue book, this is it!)
The next day. Remove the ribs from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature.
Start a fire in your Weber Grill or smoker with charcoal. As the coals turn gray add hard wood chunks or water soaked wood chips. Bring the smoker temperature to between 210 and 225F by adjusting the vents. Hold this temperature throughout the smoking (90 minutes) by adding more wood or charcoal.
Place the ribs on the rack and smoke cook them, in heavy smoke, for at least two hours. Add wood or chips every 30 minutes or so. The ribs should have a dark "crust" formed by the smoke clinging to the rub. Try not to knock it off when handling them, that is where the flavor is!
Preheat the oven to 225F. Place the ribs on racks over cookie sheets and place in oven. Cook for three hours, or until the rib bones are easily removed when you twist them. These are called "dry ribs". No extra spices or MOP was used in the cooking process.
To make juicier ribs, brush them with barbecue sauce (the recipe follows) and cover with aluminum foil to bake for the last hour.
Ribs can be made a day or two ahead and reheated in a warm oven (the way restaurants do!)
Serve with barbecue beans, coleslaw, potato salad, and plenty of cold beer.