Summer seems to be coming and going, so on a sunny day why not make the most of it and have a barbecue? In an earlier post I have previously given you a great recipe for smoked honey glazed ribs and if you liked it you should love this one too. Spicy smoked ribs take a bit of time in preparation, but trust me it’s worth it in the end. The good thing about these sorts of dishes is that you can scale up the recipes and make extra, in case you need to host the whole family or the neighbours. The secret to the spice smoked ribs lies in the dry spice mix.
This mixture will give the ribs beautiful flavours once cooked in the smoker. However, before we get to that bit, it’s prep time. To start with, I will give you a little trick to get extra juicy ribs. I recommend that you start by brining them first. You can check out a simple and clever way of doing this in the article I wrote about brined chicken recently.
best selling bbq cookbooks
- Let There Be Meat: The Ultimate Barbecue Bible
- Jamie’s Food Tube: The BBQ Book (Jamie Olivers Food Tube)
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- Weber’s Complete BBQ Book (Hardback)
- 200 Barbecue Recipes: Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook
Charbroil Big Easy smoker
Now, I have mentioned this bit of kit earlier in the smoked chicken and honey glazed ribs recipes. The Big Easy is a smoker, roaster and a grill all in one, so if your man is demanding, he will love this barbecue gadget. With the Charbroil Big Easy you can really do a lot of delicious things that will bring back even more joy to barbecuing. We have certainly made the most of it throughout this summer. If only the British weather would be a little kinder, we would use it all year round. In fact, there is a good chance that this fellow won’t even be stowed away for winter.
If you missed out on my recent recipes with this new favourite grill of mine, you can check them out here:
Today, any kind of machinery comes with accessories. The manufacturer of the Big Easy smoker, the American company Charbroil, has an entire range of handy accessories at very friendly prices. You can literally get anything grill or barbecue related here and these are very often on sale. So no need to worry about what the next father’s day present is going to be. Anything from simple utensils like gripping tools, to hooks and meat claws for your smoker. You can also find covers to protect your smoker from the climate of the British Isles. You can check out the selection here.
Another clever thing you can do with your Big Easy smoker is to play around with flavours of the actual smoke! This is done by selecting different types of wood chips. For the spicy smoked ribs this recipe uses hickory wood chips. Hickory wood gives a strong, almost bacon like flavour, and is therefore the perfect wood for smoking pork. It also burns relatively slowly making it a good choice for longer cooking times. There are a lot of options for you to adjust the flavour of your dish simply by choosing the right wood chips for the job.
Dry spice mixes
Obviously, the kind of spice mix that you use for the smoked ribs is a key element to getting that delicious flavour. For this spice rub I used cumin, oregano smoked paprika, dried garlic, ground cinnamon and chili powder. This combination works extremely well with the pork, but feel free to be creative and mix it up. If you can’t get smoked paprika, just use the standard one.
If you would like to turn up the heat, add some more chili powder. There is a lot of combinations you can do here. For example you could try a Memphis spice rub next time. This one is also great for ribs. Apart from the above mentioned spices, it consist of salt, black pepper, onion powder, dry mustard, dried ground coriander and allspice. I know it sound like quite a handful but it’s great! The good thing is that dry spices will keep for ages, so no rush to use them up. If you found an amazing combination, then please leave a comment and let me know about it.
How to get the best results
Because of the temperature discrepancy between the top and bottom area inside the smoker, there is a risk that the ribs will not get cooked evenly. This can be counteracted easily though. Simply remove the ribs half way through the cooking time, and place the hooks at the bottom end of the ribs. Then place them back in the smoker “upside down”. That way, both ends will get evenly cooked.
When I started out I tried slathering all kinds of sauces on the ribs but the higher the sugar content, the quicker it burnt. My advice is to smoke the ribs plain in the gadget and finish them off on the grill with your sauce of choice. That meant a lot less mess and no burning either. I guess you live and learn right?
Spicy smoked ribs are a rustic dish that requires simple sides. I would definitely go for sweet potato fries and a salad. I recently did a cucumber and avocado salad, which will definitely bring something new to your barbeque dining table. But of course, some of the good old barbecue classics like coleslaw and baked potatoes also complement the ribs well.
When it comes to the barbecue, I actually find that simplicity is the key. A few well flavoured and prepared elements are all you need to make your next barbecue a success. As for the drinks, in my opinion good ribs deserve good beer. Today, you can get so many interesting types of beer from small producers and craft breweries. For this recipe, I would go with an American style beer with lots of hops in it. This kind of flavour is a beautiful match with the pork. If you’re not really a beer drinker, then a refreshing homemade lemonade is also great for a barbecue – not least for the kids.
Spicy Smoked Ribs
Author: Michelle Minnaar
- 2 racks of brined pork ribs, weighing around 1kg (2lbs)
- 15ml (1 tbsp) salt
- 15ml (1 tbsp) ground cumin
- 15ml (1 tbsp) dried oregano
- 15ml (1 tbsp) caster sugar
- 15ml (1 tbsp) dried garlic granules
- 15ml (1 tbsp) smoked paprika
- 15ml (1 tbsp) ground cinnamon
- 5ml (1 tsp) dried chilli powder
- Hickory wood chips
- For a very basic brining method, check out my How To Brine Chicken article.
- Mix the salt, cumin, oregano, sugar, garlic, paprika, cinnamon and chilli in a small bowl.
- Rub the spice mixture on both racks of ribs.
- Preheat the Char-Broil Big Easy Smoker on the High setting and fill the smoking box with wood chips.
- Wait for 10 minutes until the chips begin to smoke, then change the heat setting to Low.
- Hang the ribs on hooks and let them hang on the side of the smoking basket. Place the basket inside the smoker.
- Close lid and cook until the ribs’ internal temperature is 68°C (155°F). This takes about 60 minutes.
- Remove the ribs from the smoker and wrap them in foil, letting them rest for about 15 minutes.
- Serve with sweet potato fries and salad. Enjoy!
- Brining is optional but will yield optimal results.
- Because of the temperature discrepancy between the top and bottom area inside the smoker, you might find it worthwhile to remove the ribs halfway through cooking. Place the hooks at the bottom end of the ribs and place them back in the smoked “upside down”. That way, both ends will get evenly cooked.
- When I started out I tried slathering all kinds of sauces on the ribs but the higher the sugar content, the quicker it burnt. My advice? Smoke the ribs plain in the gadget and finish them off on the grill with your sauce of choice. A lot less mess and no burning either. Live and learn!
Serving Size 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Total Fat 26.4g
Saturated Fat 10.6g
Total Carbohydrates 38g
Dietary Fiber 4.1g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.