For barbecue pros, the perfect ribs combine smoky, ultra-tender meat and a thin crust, a.k.a. “bark,” that shatters when you bite into it. “That contrast is what you’re after,” explains Tim Rattray, chef at The Granary in San Antonio. Here, Rattray tells how to make pit master– style ribs on an ordinary charcoal grill (no smoker needed). He starts with racks of St. Louis–cut ribs—spareribs trimmed to a uniform size—massaging them with a sweet and spicy dry rub that includes cinnamon and coffee. “The spices are like bass notes for the meat, amplifying its flavor,” he says. Then he smokes the ribs over oak chips, wraps them in foil to keep them juicy while they cook through, and smokes them once more.