The ribs that are prepared for the big cook-offs around the country are quite different from what you would normally cook at home or eat in a restaurant. Over the years of cooking, the barbecue pros have learned that making your ribs a little bit too tender and a little bit too sweet can get you a good score when they are judged.
- 2 slabs St. Louis-cut pork ribs (about 2 1/2 pounds each)
- Ray's Supersweet Rib Rub (please see recipe below)
- 1 Cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 Cup honey
- 1/4 Cup butter, melted
- 1/4 Cup Tiger Sauce or other pepper sauce that's not too vinegary
- A thick and rich barbecue sauce
Prepare your cooker to cook indirectly at 235 degrees using medium pecan wood for smoke flavor.
Peel the membrane off the back of the ribs and trim any excess fat. Season the ribs liberally on both sides with the barbecue rub. Place the ribs in the smoker, meat side up, and cook for 2 hours. Flip the ribs and cook for 45 minutes.
Lay out two double-thick sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Lay one slab on each piece of foil, meat side up. Top each slab with half of the brown sugar. Drizzle each slab with half of the honey, butter, and Tiger Sauce. Close up the rib packages, pressing out as much air as possible. Do not seal the packages tightly; they need to breathe a little.
Return to the cooker for 30 minutes. Open the packages and check for doneness by pushing a toothpick into the meat. It should go in and out very easily. If you want the ribs more tender, just wrap them back up and cook a little longer. When they’re as you like them, transfer to a sheet pan. Remove the foil and return the ribs to the cooker meat-side down. Brush the bone side liberally with barbecue sauce and cook for 10 minutes. Flip the ribs and brush the meat side liberally with barbecue sauce. Cook for 20 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and tent loosely with foil. Let rest for 5 minutes. Slice each rib individually and transfer to a platter to serve.