Big Dan's Ramblings

Ramblings from a Boston Boy stuck in New York

Dry Rub Pork Spare Ribs – Prep Time

My second adventure in smoking will be two slabs of pork spare ribs.  Once I again, I am deferring to the knowledge of the good folks over at Smoker for recipes and smoking suggestions.  It’s been so far, so good with these folks and they haven’t steered me wrong yet.  Unlike brisket, I have actually cooked pork spare ribs before.  However, the last time I cooked them, I used a slow cooker recipe that basically had me put a lot of BBQ sauce and some dark beer into a crock pot, dump the ribs in, let em cook for a hell of a long time, and then finish them on the grill.  They turned out quite well, but I now know that I could have increased the quality of my final product significantly just by preparing the ribs correctly.

Image courtesy of Smoker

Image courtesy of Smoker

Click on through to see how I went about getting the ribs ready for smoking.The ribs came as two slabs at a total of about 9.5-lbs.  I bought the slabs and let them sit in the fridge for a few days just to soften up while I worked with them.  During this time, I did some research and came across the following article about rib preparation.

Smoker – Rib Preparation

I’ll just run you through the basics.

  1. Trim the skirt off.
  2. Trim the brisket and the point from the rib rack.
  3. Remove the fell.
  4. Scrape the excess fat off.
  5. Apply dry rub.

Now, this looks like a fairly easy process and I have to admit that, while I was unsure of myself on the first rack, the second rack went relatively easily.  The two real hard parts were 1) understanding the butchering (trimming) parts and where you needed to make cuts and work with bone/cartilage, and 2) removing the fell.  The fell is this thick membrane that sticks to the bone side of the slab.  Apparently, this membrane is what made my previous attempt at pork spare ribs good, but not great.  The fell did not come off then and some parts were rather tough to eat.  Overall, the process was fairly easy, although a little time-consuming.  It took me about 2-hours solid to prep and dry rub the slabs.

For the dry rub, I used the author’s suggested rub.  The recipe is as follows:


  • 1-tbsp onion powder
  • 1-tbsp brown sugar
  • 2-tsp paprika
  • 1-tsp chili powder
  • 1-tsp non-iodized salt
  • 1/2-tsp black pepper
  • 1/2-tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2-tsp cummin

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and hand rub onto the slabs, being sure to coat both sides.  I actually doubled this recipe as this recipe is sufficient for covering one slab and I had two.  I was able to also lightly coat the brisket and points (material I removed and deboned earlier) with the remaining rub.

To finish it off, I rolled the slabs up and put them in individual gallon-size plastic bags.  They are sealed and sitting in the refrigerator for the night.  I will pull them out about an hour before I put them on the grill so they get close to room temperature.

Like this recipe?  Think it can be made better?  Let us know by dropping us a comment!

One response to “Dry Rub Pork Spare Ribs – Prep Time

  1. Pingback: Rib Smoking Review « Big Dan's Ramblings

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