2 racks spare ribs, about 2.7kg
1½tbs freshly ground black pepper
1½tbs dark brown sugar
1½tsp celery salt
1½tsp cayenne pepper
1½tsp ground cumin
1½tsp onion powder
475ml cider vinegar
60g brown mustard
60g yellow mustard
3-5 large handfuls wood chips, soaked in water for 30 minutes Memphis-style barbecue sauce (see below)
Rinse the pork ribs in water, then pat them dry. Remove the membrane from the underside of each rack of ribs.
In a small bowl, stir together the paprika, black pepper, brown sugar, salt, celery salt, cayenne, cumin, and onion powder. Measure out two tablespoons of the rub and set aside. Rub the remainder evenly over the ribs. Cover and refrigerate for eight hours or overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.
In a small bowl, whisk to combine the vinegar and both mustards. Set the sauce aside.
Start a charcoal fire in a grill with half the charcoal. Distribute the coals in a ring around the whole outside edge of the grill, leaving an opening in the centre. Evenly distribute the soaked wood chips over the hot charcoal and wait until they start to smoke.
Place the ribs on a grill rack, close the lid, and smoke the ribs until the meat is tender and easily pulls away from the bone – four to five hours.
Every hour, ‘mop’ the sauce on the ribs. If the temperature starts to dip below 110-120°C, heat more charcoal and add it to the outer ring. If the smoke begins to dissipate, add more soaked wood chips, a handful at a time. When the ribs are tender, scatter the reserved two tablespoons of dry rub over the ribs and smoke for an additional 30 minutes.
Let the ribs rest for 30 minutes, then slice and serve with Memphis-style barbecue sauce, if desired.
Memphis-style barbecue sauce
1tbs chilli powder
1tbs garlic powder
1tbs onion powder
160ml cider vinegar
3tbs Worcestershire sauce
95g packed light brown sugar
120g yellow mustard
1½tsp freshly ground black pepper
In a medium saucepan, combine the chilli powder, garlic powder, onion powder, ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, molasses, mustard, pepper and salt. Simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 45 minutes to let the flavours meld and thicken the sauce. Pour over the ribs once rested or store in the refrigerator for up to a month.
Recipe taken from America: The Cookbook. Photography by Danielle Acken