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Aaron Franklin style smoked back ribs on a pellet smoker and grill
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
4 hrs 30 mins
Total Time
4 hrs 50 mins
This recipe loosely follows the technique Aaron explains in his Master Class. Result? Tender lip-smacking fall off the bone deliciousness!
Course: Main, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: back ribs, smoked back ribs
Servings: 4 half racks
  • 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
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. While the smoker is heating up, mix together the salt, pepper and paprika. Make sure to shake it well for an equal distribution.
  4. Trim your ribs of excess fat if needed, ours were already well trimmed.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Press the spices into the meat while sprinkling.
  8. Place both racks of ribs, meat side up in the smoker, close the lid and let cook for 1 hour.
  9. Open the lid quickly and spritz the ribs with apple cider using the spray bottle, to keep them moist.
  10. Close the lid and cook for 1.5 hours.
  11. Open the lid and brush about a third of the bbq sauce mixture over the tops (meat side) of the ribs.
  12. Close the lid and cook for 30 minutes.
  13. Open the lid, turn the ribs over and brush another third of the bbq sauce mixture over the bottoms of the ribs.
  14. Close the lid and cook for another 30 minutes.
  15. Cut two large sheets of heavy foil wrap. These sheets will be used to wrap the ribs.
  16. 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.
  17. Place the rib in the middle and wrap the foil wrap around the rib. Do this carefully to avoid taring the foil.
  18. Repeat the last three steps for the second rib.
  19. Place the two wrapped ribs back on the smoker, side-by-side, close the lid and cook for 1 hour.
  20. 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.
  21. Take the two wrapped ribs off the smoker and let them rest in the foil wrap for 15 to 20 minutes.
  22. Unwrap the ribs and place them on a serving dish. pour the juices inside the foil wrap over the two racks of ribs.
  23. Enjoy with your favourite sides.
Recipe Notes
  • 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.