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Cedar Smoked Pork Ribs

Hiya everyone, I was meaning to do this recipe for a while now and a quiet Sunday afternoon seemed the perfect time to break out the cedar planks and try something other than salmon! The recipe this weekend was Cedar Smoked Pork Ribs accompanied with breaded zucchini, smoky beans and a homemade lemon merengue pie. (The pie will NOT feature in this post….sorry Heather!)

So as with all things “low and slow” you’ll need to prepare the night before. That means getting your rub ready and your ribs coated and in the fridge overnight. The rib rub goes a little like this:

  1. 4 tbs (60 ml) dark brown sugar

  2. 4 tbs (60 ml) sweet paprika

  3. 2 tbs (30 ml) fresh ground pepper

  4. 1 tsp (4 ml) cayenne pepper

  5. 2 tsp (10 ml) onion powder

  6. 3 tbs (45 ml) kosher coarse salt

  7. 2 tsp (10 ml) garlic powder

  8. 2 tsp (10 ml) celery salt

I like to pulverize my rubs in the spice grinder to break down any clumpy stuff, so once you’ve got it all together give it a good whirl in the grinder for about 30 seconds. Now the way I prepped the ribs this time was to slather them in regular yellow mustard after which I liberally coated each slab with the rib rub and then cling filmed them to a tight fit. Three racks, 15 minutes and into the fridge for 24 hours. If you’re using cedar planks, pop them in the sink and cover them in water for a few hours before you light the grill.

Fast forward 30 hours and you’re ready to start the next few phases. First, get your grill set up for direct grilling (but remember its not really direct as you’ll be smoking the ribs on two of the cedar planks.) Set your temperature at or about 220-250 degrees F. To get an accurate read of the ambient temperature on top of my cedar planks, I used my trusty IGrill thermometer with its new ambient probe. It works a charm for any temperature less than 400 degrees F.

The cedar planks also needed a bit of adjustment. I sawed off the top and bottom corners of both the left and right planks. It ended up looking like a crooked octagon but it was the only way to get two planks to fit side by side on a large Big Green Egg. Use the off cuts to add to your charcoal for additional and quick smoke.

During your grill prep time make sure your ribs are out of the fridge and coming up to room temperature or as close to it as possible. Don’t put freezing cold meat on a grill, ever! When you’re all ready to go, place your slabs on the planks, shut the dome and get your grill stable between 225-250 degrees F. Have a spray bottle ready with a 50/50 mix of apple juice and water. Spray the ribs and planks every 20 minutes for the first hour or of your planks set fire.

I set my timer for two hours and during that time I sat back and watched the plumes of smoke chug out of the egg. Once the timer pinged, I placed each slab into an aluminium foil packet and filled each one with about a cup of apple juice. Carefully remove your cedar planks as well and put them in a safe place to cool down, away from the kids! Plonk the packets back on the grid and crimp the top to make a steeping tent. Close the lid for another 45 minutes. The temperature will creep up a bit now but try to keep it at a maximum of 350 degrees F.

Now for the glaze. I made up the glaze in the morning to allow for all the flavours to meld over time. Here’s how it goes:

  1. 6 tbsp apple cider vinegar

  2. 2 tbsp caster sugar

  3. 2 tbsp Heinz ketchup

  4. 1.5 tbs molasses

  5. 4 cloves fresh minced garlic

  6. 1 half Jalapeño pepper, seeds included and finely chopped

  7. 1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped

  8. 1/2 tsp Kosher salt

When your 45 minutes are up, very carefully remove the packets as they’ll contain some pretty darn hot juices. Carefully place your ribs back on the grid, meat side up. Now coat your slabs with your glaze and shut the lid for 5 minutes then flip and repeat for another 5 minutes. When done, remove the slabs carefully as they’ll want to fall apart. If you’re the type that likes a bit of bite to your ribs, forget the 45 minute steeping phase! Heather likes her ribs to fall off the bone so we opted to go with the above method.

Now let the ribs rest for about 10 minutes under a tent of aluminium foil. When ready, serve up your sides and tuck in!

The recipe above was so absolutely different than the ribs I normally make. Now that’s a good thing because you want to try a bit of variety once in a while. These ribs also had a pretty hefty spice kick to them coupled with an amazing cedar smokiness at was utterly insane! If you’re like my buddy Brett and you like ’em spicy, this is the rib recipe for you! Let me know what you think!

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Overall Heather Rating: 8.5/10

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