Most of us would agree that ribs are downright delicious, especially when they’re so juicy that they fall right off the bone. (Mmm!) But a lot of us would also agree that achieving rib perfection can be very intimidating. We here at Hungry Fan are all about making game day entertaining, including the cooking part, as easy as possible—and that extends to barbecuing the perfect rack of ribs. This method is the 2-2-1 method for smoking pork ribs, which we find to be approachably simple, if not foolproof.
Here’s how it works: We’ll smoke our ribs at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours, wrap them in foil and smoke them for another 2 hours, and then leave them bare on the grill for up to 1 hour. The first two hours infuses the ribs with smoke and starts to build a nice bark; the second two hours steams the ribs to tenderness; and the final hour is used to add a glaze. After all that work, voilà! You’ve got gorgeous, fall-off-the-bone ribs!
Note: Sometimes, you’ll get lucky, and the ribs will be tender enough to serve after the first 2 hours, so all you have to do is sauce them, let the sauce set, and eat!
PRO TIP: If you’re feeding a crowd, complete the recipe up to step 5, then finish the ribs when you’re ready to serve.
- 1 rack pork spare ribs, ideally pre-trimmed
- ½ package Hungry Fan Barbecue Organic Spice Blend
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, or more to taste
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 sheets heavy duty aluminum foil (enough to wrap the ribs with 2 layers)
- 1 cup barbecue sauce of your choosing
- If your pork spare ribs are pre-trimmed, skip ahead to step 2. You don’t have to trim much of the fat or the other sections off the ribs. Lucky you! That said, if there’s a membrane on the bone side of the rib slab, remove it. Often, pre-trimmed ribs come with the membrane already removed. If you bought ribs that have not been trimmed, be sure to trim off any loose fat and silver skin from the tops of the ribs. This will help the meat to better absorb the seasoning. Also, check the bone side of the ribs, which will sometimes have a membrane. Remove this as well. (See this step-by-step rib butchering demo for help identifying the skirt along with the other elements mentioned in this step.)
- On the bone side of the ribs, there may be a section of meat called the “skirt.” This is excess meat on top of the bones. Remove this with a knife so it’s flush with the bones, to achieve an even surface. If it’s left on, the skirt will overcook, and no one wants that. Don’t toss it, though! You can smoke the skirt next to the ribs for a tasty treat while you wait.
- Remove the rib tips. Rib tips are anything that look like bones but are bendy or not 100% solid. Not sure? Bones don’t bend, so remove anything that seems like it might be a rib tip to ensure you don’t bite into anything unexpected.
- Season the ribs liberally with kosher salt and black pepper. Next, season them with the Hungry Fan Barbecue Organic Spice Blend. Save about 1 tablespoon of the spice blend to add at the end for a finishing spice. Since the seasoning cooks into the meat while smoking, you can add another layer of flavor by finishing the ribs with some uncooked spice at the end.
- Smoke the ribs at 275 degrees for 2 hours with applewood. If the ends begin to overcook (you’ll know because they’ll get dark), wrap them in foil.
- Combine the apple cider vinegar, a tablespoon or two of water, and one to two teaspoons of the Hungry Fan spice blend. Every 30 minutes or so, lightly mop the ribs with this mixture. (Be sure to be gentle, so you don’t remove seasoning from the ribs.) The mop liquid mixture will help keep the ribs moist and soak up more smoke. It’s a win-win.
- Take 2–3 teaspoons of the vinegar mixture you’ve just created, and brush or gently spoon it onto a sheet of foil, making sure you don’t let it run off the sides. Next, remove the ribs from the smoker, place them atop the vinegar mixture on the foil, and wrap them tightly. After that, wrap them again in a second layer of foil to ensure no moisture escapes. Add the ribs back into the smoker for 2 hours to steam and cook through.
- Remove the ribs from the smoker and unwrap the foil. Put the ribs (back) on the grill and use your silicone brush to coat them in a thin layer of your favorite barbecue sauce. Let the sauce set in your grill at 275 degrees for an hour. Remove the ribs carefully and let them sit for about 10 minutes.
- Slice, serve, and enjoy!
Hungry Fan Pro Tips
You can prep these ribs slightly ahead of time! To do this, follow the instructions up to step 8 (so stop at step 7). Then, store the ribs in a cooler for up to 2 hours before jumping back into step 8 and continuing the recipe.