I love a nice rack of smoked pork ribs. The way the fat caramelizes into crispy chunks of deliciousness, the way the dry flavors the meat so much, you don’t even need bbq sauce, the way the meat just falls off the bone…and the general laziness that can ensure whilst smoking said ribs with an electric smoker. Thankfully, Santa Claus knew how I lazy I was and that the electric smoker was more affordable (only $70) and more adapted for my environment.
Santa must know how much I like pork.
If you’ve never used an electric smoker, it is not terribly difficult (and I say this even though every time I have used mine, my husband has handled it). There are a few basic steps you need to follow to prep the smoker for the big event.
- Take the big part of the smoker and rub it down with cooking oil to prevent rusting.
- Make sure the heating element and the clay rocks are dry. If not dry, put rocks in oven on sheet pan to dry out.
- Soak wood chips in water to prevent from catching on fire.
- Clean off the racks and the drip pan.
- Set up drip pan with water on top of the heating element.
- Place the racks on top and plug in the smoker.
- Wrap a few wood chips loosely in foil and place next to (but not on top of) the heating element.
- Put the grill racks in and the ribs on top. Cover with lid and let it do its thing, opening only to add more wood.
Preparing the ribs:
If your butcher is nice and not too busy, they should trim the thin membrane off the ribs for you, and french the bones a bit for easy eating. Mine only removed the membrane (because he was both busy and sort of a prick), so when I got the racks home, I make sure to put a slit to expose the bone on the curved meat side of the rack. This helps ensure the meat falls off the bone when done.
The next step was to rub the rack down with a good dry rub the night before, to let the flavors really penetrate into the meat. I went with a dry rub recipe from Saveur’s Texas issue last year.
I followed the recipe exactly, except I switched in smoky sweet paprika for regular sweet, and a bit of smoky, hot paprika for heat. I also cut down on the cumin, which I can only handle in small increments.
Once the smoker was heated up, we placed one set of ribs on each grill and covered it all. In total, it took our two racks of ribs 5 hours to smoke.
In the five hour period, we replenished the wood once. My husband read online that you want a majority of the smoke in the first few hours to develop flavor, but any more and the meat would be too smoky.
And now for the part that we’ve all been waiting for…the rib porn.
$13 for two racks of ribs and 5 hours of lazy, not-really-cooking-time for these amazing ribs? YES PLEASE!