How good are smoked back ribs on a pellet grill and smoker?
This smoker accurately feeds pellets so there are minimal temperature fluctuations. Also, with bluetooth and wifi connectivity, it’s easy to monitor progress from your smartphone. It’s even possible to adjust the temperature from your couch… mind blown! 😂 Now that’s modern day cooking.
Who’s Aaron Franklin?
Aaron Franklin is one of the most influential pitmasters in the US. People line up up for hours to visit his restaurant in Austin, Texas. He hosts his own show and has made guest appearances on countless TV shows. He’s also a recipient of a James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southwest. He’s a super likeable and laid-back guy too! Impressed yet? 😃
Are these rib exactly like Franklin BBQ ribs?
As much as we were absolutely thrilled with with the results, the answer would have to be, no. Aaron takes BBQ to a whole other level. He cooks with specially selected wood that’s perfectly dried. He does all his bbq in old school smokers (many of them), trims his meats with medical precision, and seasons the meat so accurately that every bite has the same exact flavour.
I’m pretty sure he would agree with me that BBQ is his healthy obsession. My goal wasn’t to match his BBQ skill level. I don’t have 20 spare years to dedicate to this to even attempt to catch up with Aaron’s experience and skill. 😂 My goal was to make some damn good ribs at home, loosely based on his technique. Hence… Aaron Franklin-style smoked ribs.
Can I learn how to make Texas-style BBQ like Aaron Franklin?
You can absolutely learn from him. He’s a generous guy and has constantly shared his learnings online, many times for free. I found out about a specific course Aaron teaches in the Master Class program.
For the past year, I’d hummed and hawed about subscribing to Master Class. I finally took the leap and I’m glad I did. I have no regrets! They offer many courses with over 80 well-known instructors in a wide variety of topics. Liz and I, and even our kids, have found topics of interest to each of us. And if you hadn’t guess by now… Aaron Franklin’s master class was the first one I watched. I learned so much and I couldn’t wait to apply some of what I’d learned, at home. I hope to pass along my learnings to you through this recipe.
Smoking ribs on a pellet grill and smoker
Once again, this is a very loose version of Aaron’s method. I’ve grilled ribs many many times, but smoking is newer to my repertoire.
In a nutshell, for today’s recipe, I seasoned the ribs with a simple rub, smoked them on my pellet grill for a few hours at 270 ºF, and then wrapped them tight in foil for a final cook. During the smoking process, I spritzed the ribs occasionally with apple cider vinegar.
Honestly, the results were fantastic… finger licking fantastic! Thank you Aaron, and thank you Broil King.
I’ll continue to tweak things as I make more of these. As Aaron mentioned in his course, “there’s always something to learn”. I made notes. 😃
Words I’d never used before… “last weekend I smoked stuff”. 😂
Hello Canadian summer. It’s hot out there. Time to fire up those grills and smokers and make today yummy!
- 4 lbs pork back ribs about two racks
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 2 tbsp yellow mustard
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup quality bbq sauce
- Apple cider vinegar in a food friendly spray bottle
Get the Smoker up to 270 ºF using the smoker manufacturer’s directions and your favourite wood. For this recipe, we used our Baron Pellet 400 Smoker and Grill by Broil King. We used hickory wood pellets.
Mix the 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar with the 1/2 cup of bbq sauce (we used our Jack Daniel's BBQ Sauce). Set aside.
- While the smoker is heating up, mix together the salt, pepper and paprika. Make sure to shake it well for an equal distribution.
- Trim your ribs of excess fat if needed, ours were already well trimmed.
- Using your hands or a brush, lightly coat both ribs with mustard. Think of this as the glue for the spices. You won’t really taste it.
- Sprinkle the spices evenly over both sides of both ribs. Make sure to do it evenly to ensure every bite tastes the same once the ribs are cooked.
- Press the spices into the meat while sprinkling.
- Place both racks of ribs, meat side up in the smoker, close the lid and let cook for 1 hour.
- Open the lid quickly and spritz the ribs with apple cider using the spray bottle, to keep them moist.
- Close the lid and cook for 1.5 hours.
- Open the lid and brush about a third of the bbq sauce mixture over the tops (meat side) of the ribs.
- Close the lid and cook for 30 minutes.
- Open the lid, turn the ribs over and brush another third of the bbq sauce mixture over the bottoms of the ribs.
- Close the lid and cook for another 30 minutes.
- Cut two large sheets of heavy foil wrap. These sheets will be used to wrap the ribs.
- Place the first sheet of foil wrap on a cutting board and spray the centre where the rib will be placed with apple cider vinegar and brush on half of the remaining bbq sauce mixture on the foil wrap as well.
- Place the rib in the middle and wrap the foil wrap around the rib. Do this carefully to avoid taring the foil.
- Repeat the last three steps for the second rib.
- Place the two wrapped ribs back on the smoker, side-by-side, close the lid and cook for 1 hour.
- Open the lid, carefully lift one of the ribs from the centre. If the rib droops down on the ends, it’s fully cooked. If it’s still a little stiff, close the lid and cook another 30 minutes.
- Take the two wrapped ribs off the smoker and let them rest in the foil wrap for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Unwrap the ribs and place them on a serving dish. pour the juices inside the foil wrap over the two racks of ribs.
- Enjoy with your favourite sides.
- I normally take off the silverskin from the bottom of the ribs, but Aaron suggested that he doesn’t when he cooks with this technique. I left it on and they were very tender.
- Cooking times may very depending on the size of the ribs.