Baby back ribs (also known as loin back ribs because they are next to the pork loin) are more tender than spareribs. When buying them, avoid racks of ribs with protruding bones, which means the butchers have sacrificed more meat to the loin cut. If you do substitute spareribs in this recipe, make sure to allow for an additional 2 hours of cooking time.
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Four 1 1/4-pound racks pork baby back ribs
1/2 cup Garlicky Barbecue Marinade
1/4 cup Seven-Spice Dry Rub
2 cups hickory or other hardwood chips, soaked in water
Cider Mop Spray
1/2 cup Sweet and Sticky Barbecue Sauce mixed with 1/2 cup water
How to Make It
Rub each rack of ribs all over with 2 tablespoons of the Garlicky Barbecue Marinade and refrigerate overnight.
Bring the ribs to room temperature and sprinkle each rack with 1 tablespoon of the Seven-Spice Dry Rub.
Light a charcoal fire in a covered grill and set it up for indirect grilling: When the temperature reaches 225°, carefully push the hot coals to one side and place a drip pan filled with 1 cup of water on the opposite side. Alternatively, bring a smoker to 225°. Put the ribs on the grill over the drip pan, overlapping them slightly, and cover the grill; you'll need to cook the ribs for about 4 hours total, or until the meat pulls away from the bones and is very tender. Maintain the temperature at 225° by replenishing the charcoal with a fresh batch of burning coals every hour. Every hour, drain 1/2 cup of the wood chips and scatter them over the hot coals. Add water to the drip pan when half of it is evaporated. After 1 1/2 hours, spray the baby back ribs with the Cider Mop Spray and rotate them on the grill; repeat spraying every 45 minutes.
Remove the drip pan and spread the coals in an even layer. Replenish with fresh coals to make a medium-hot fire. Brush the ribs with the diluted Sweet and Sticky Barbecue Sauce and cook for 30 minutes, turning often. Repeat brushing 4 or 5 times to build a sticky glaze. Transfer the ribs to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes. Cut between each rib and serve.
The glazed ribs can be refrigerated overnight. Serve cold or reheat in a 325°oven.
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