We credit Richard Westhaver with being an innovator in helping promote New England competition barbecue into a rapidly growing network of contenders who continue to show up on the awards stage at major contests everywhere. Competing as Dirty Dick and the Legless Wonders, Westhaver's team has garnered its share of awards. With this recipe, Westhaver demonstrates an easy way to barbecue baby backs that are high on flavor.
In a bowl, mix all of the ingredients together thoroughly and sift through a strainer twice. Transfer to an airtight container. This will keep stored away from heat, light, and moisture for up to 6 months.
Rub each side of the ribs with 1 tablespoon of the barbecue spice. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, before placing the ribs on the grill, reseason them. Place about 50 briquettes on one side of a charcoal grill and light them.
Once the coals are ready, throw on 2 handfuls of wood chips. Place the grate over the fire and put the ribs on the side opposite the fire. Close the lid. Open the top and bottom vents on the grill about two-thirds of the way. Place a candy thermometer in the top vent to monitor the temperature. (The ideal temperature for cooking the ribs is 350 degrees.)
After 1 hour, open the upper and lower vents to maintain the temperature. Turn the ribs and spray with apple juice. When the ribs are done, they will be flexible and the end of the bone will be exposed ½-inch or so, about 2 hours.
Remove the ribs from the grill and coat both sides with barbecue sauce, about ½ cup per side. Then wrap the ribs in aluminum foil and seal tightly. Place in a warm spot for 30 minutes, then unwrap and apply more sauce before serving, if desired.