Homesmoked Full Spareribs

What is it about full pork spareribs that makes me love them so much? I mean, I love all kinds of smoked meats and other smoked food. But there is something special about a full pork sparerib. I know the beautiful version of pork ribs is the baby backs (maybe it was the Chili’s Restaurant theme song that did it – or maybe not). And so many barbecue places use the St Louis cut, which is certainly understandable (FWIW- here’s a very good article on pork rib anatomy, courtesy of Texas Monthly Magazine). Spares have more bone than meat, and more fat as well. So maybe that’s why they’re so flavorful and why I love them so much. And I just love working with and around the bone and cartilage to get the incredibly flavorful bits of pork meat. Maybe they’re more forgiving to cook too. I dunno why – but at the end of the day I love smoking my own pork spareribs.

For this recent rack of home-smoked spareribs, I got a 5.5lb rack of Smithfield pork spareribs from my local HEB. I took the backside membrane off and rubbed the whole thing down with my standard pork rub, which is no secret and easy to make (you can find the recipe at the bottom of this entry). The rack then sat for about 30 minutes while my Traeger Texas Elite 34 came up to temperature – 250F. I used hickory, as I love the flavor that it gives to pork products. And I did use my pellet tube to get some additional smoke into the mix. And for this particular rack I ended up choosing not to wrap it at all. The rack went on at noon. And then after two hours, and every hour or so after that I sprayed an apple juice/water mixture. I finally pulled the rack when the meat had pulled back from the bones very nicely and the internal temperature had hit approximately 200F, right around 6:00PM. At that point I did wrap it in foil and put it in my Yeti Tundra 35 for about an hour to rest. Having not wrapped, I was a little worried that I might have dried them out a bit. However, I was pleasantly surprised that the rack was very moist but didn’t just fall off the bone. It had a great mahogany color and great pork flavor too.

Spareribs are not pretty enough to win some sort of barbecue competition. But they sure do make my mouth and stomach happy. And at the end of the day, that’s what matters most to me.

Dave’s Simple Pork Rub Recipe

  • 1T Coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1T White pepper
  • 1T Sugar
  • 2t Cayenne pepper
  • 2T Chili powder
  • 1T Cumin
  • 1T Granulated garlic
  • 1T Brown sugar
  • 4T Sweet smoked paprika
  • 1t Dry mustard
  • 1T Celery salt
  • 1T Salt

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