Minneapolis amateur barbecue competitor David Fries shares his recipe for succulent smoked ribs.

Source: Midwest Living


Recipe Summary

30 mins
4 hrs 15 mins


Dry Rub:
For Smoking:


Instructions Checklist
  • Combine the first 11 ingredients (through the cayenne pepper) to make rub.

  • Use paper towels to remove membrane from underside of each rack of ribs.

  • Lightly rub both sides of ribs with vegetable oil and liberally season with dry rub. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place on cookie sheet. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

  • In a smoker arrange preheated coals, 4 wood chunks, and water pan according to manufacturer's directions. Pour water into pan. Temperature inside smoker should be around 245°F. Add coals and water as needed to maintain temperature and moisture. Add additional wood chunks as needed. Do not add wood after the first 2 hours of smoking. (Too much smoke can give a bitter taste.)

  • Remove ribs from refrigerator, unwrap and place on top grill rack over water pan, meaty side up. Smoke for 1 hour.

  • Spritz or brush ribs on both sides with apple juice and turn meaty side down. Smoke 30 minutes.

  • Spritz or brush again with apple juice on both sides and turn meaty side up. Continue smoking for another 30 minutes.

  • In the center of a 36x18-inch piece of heavy foil spread 1/4 cup light brown sugar and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of honey. Remove one rib rack from smoker and place meaty side up in middle of the foil. Spread 1/4 cup brown sugar evenly over top side of ribs and drizzle with 1 tablespoon honey. Fold aluminum foil over rack and seal. Repeat with remaining brown sugar, honey, and rib rack. Return to smoker; smoke for 45 minutes more.

  • Remove wrapped racks from smoker. Open each foil package. Use basting brush and liberally brush liquid from inside foil package on both sides of ribs. Discard foil and return ribs to smoker. Smoke for 30 minutes more.

  • Brush ribs on both sides with your favorite BBQ sauce. Smoke for 30 minutes more, turning and brushing with sauce every 10 minutes.


Add two tablespoons of one of Chili Dawg's pepper spreads (such as Razbanero, Strawbanero, Plumbanero or Habacherry) to a cup of your favorite BBQ sauce for an extra delicious flavor profile.

Nutrition Facts

875 calories; total fat 37g; saturated fat 10g; polyunsaturated fat 11g; monounsaturated fat 12g; cholesterol 103mg; sodium 2648mg; potassium 523mg; carbohydrates 105g; fiber 2g; sugar 99g; protein 22g; trans fatty acidg; vitamin a 1080IU; vitamin c 1mg; thiaminmg; riboflavinmg; niacin equivalents 6mg; vitamin b6 1mg; folate 4mcg; vitamin b12mcg; calcium 100mg; iron 2mg.