Applewood Smoked Barbecue Ribs

As some of you may know, Nick received an awesome smoker for his birthday this weekend; courtesy of my very thoughtful mom. It is my understanding that the competitive edge between Nick and brother runs pretty deep when it comes to cooking, particularly grilling. I tend to believe it is true; but, in reality, I think that Nick just likes to be involved and is not always looking for a competition. I knew having his own smoker Nick would get right down to business.

As a result of that slight brotherly competition growing up, Nick and Josh were always trying to come up with the perfect recipes for ribs and other meats. It seems like all of the kids in his family did a lot of cooking growing up. As a result, Nick really likes to cook now because meal preparation was such a big part of his young life. With their competitive edge, Nick and his brother, Josh, figured out the ideal way to prepare ribs, which I am privy to now.

It was no surprise that the first thing Nick was going to smoke was a rack of ribs. On Sunday morning we were already talking about the best way to handle the meal preparation and Nick, as excited as he was, could not help but to bug me all day about his smoking machine.

If you want the perfect ribs, here are his three tips or lessons learned:

First, go with a dry rub. Trial and error proved marinades were not the ideal way to go with ribs. Whatever your tastes are, be careful of adding too much sodium. We happen to like sweet and spicy recipes in our household, so use your favorite spices, like we did!

Second, do not ever rush the ribs. Think of it like courting your significant other; rather, you want to perfect the relationship to ensure that it works in the long term. The same theory can be applied to ribs. The perfect ribs are cooked or smoked low and slow – somewhere between 3 to 4 hours and between 250 degrees F to 270 degrees F. If you do not have a smoker and are grilling your ribs instead, baste your ribs with apple juice periodically.

Third, add your barbeque sauce last. In reality, save the saucy combination for the last 30 or 45 minutes, says Nick.

Since you have received some pearls of wisdom from Nick regarding rib makin’, let’s get down to business with what you will need to make his ribs.

Ingredients for our rub [like mentioned above, use whatever spice combination you like]:

  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cayenne powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin
  • 5 to 6 pound rack of ribs
  • Applewood wood chips


  • Sift the ingredients together in a medium bowl
  • Rub the mixture all over the ribs

  • Return ribs to refrigerator for at least an hour
  • In the meantime, heat the smoker [or grill] between 225 to 250 degrees
  • Once the smoker is heated to desired temperature, place the ribs inside and allow them to cook between 2 to 2 ½ hours without bothering them, making sure the smoker temperature is remaining between 225 to 250 degrees F. All bets are off if you are using a grill. If you are using a grill baste the ribs with apple juice every 30 minutes and flip them; you do not want to ignore them for 2 ½ hours.

  • Once the internal temperature of the ribs is around 160 degrees F, add the sauce to the ribs. If you are using a smoker, add the sauce and wrap the ribs with foil and put back into the smoker for an additional 45 minutes or until the internal temperature to 165 degrees F. If you are using a grill, just add the sauce right to the ribs… no need to remove the ribs from the grill.

  • Then it is time to eat, eat eat!!!!!

I am not a huge fan of ribs. I never have been. I was not about to tell Nick to make something other than ribs, so I went along with it,  half expecting to eat a bowl of cereal for dinner. Well, I have to tell you, the ribs turned out great. I am still not on the ribs bandwagon 100%, but I will tell you the ribs were moist and full of yummy flavor. We used an apple wood barbeque sauce, which paired very well Nick’s dry rub. I really loved the sweet flavor of the ribs, which lured me back toward the rib bandwagon. I think the next time ribs find their way into our house we will likely make our own barbecue sauce. That could make them even better!

You should all make these ribs. Seriously! This is coming from a girl who would rather eat cereal than ribs. I liked them so much that I snuck some the next morning for breakfast. It was quite the meal!

I hope you all enjoy!

Until Next Time,

Happy Smokin’