Spare ribs are generally cheaper than loin back ribs, but for quality they sure don't give up anything to the baby backs. In fact, alot of restaurants and competition BBQ cooks prefer them for their meatiness and more uniform, large size. Here's how I do 'em!
What you'll need:
Fresh pork spare ribs, as many racks as you think you need
Old WoodFire Grill KK's 10 BBQ Rub
Hickory, pecan, apple of cherry wood or chunks
I have a variety of cookers around the house, but I did this particular cook on my Masterbuilt vertical water smoker. No matter what type smoker you are going to use, you want to maintain a fire so that your cooking temperature hovers around 250 degrees. I don't mind dipping down to 225 degrees, and I dont' mind shooting up to 275 degrees, but I would keep it no hotter nor cooler than these temps. So for the vertical smoker, start out with a full chimney of lump charcoal, only half lit when poured into the charcoal pan. Add a chunk of wood to the coals for the smoke. I prefer hickory or pecan, but apple or cherry would also be good choices. Add the water pan if needed to keep the temperature within your targeted range.
While the fire is coming up to temp, prepare the spare ribs by trimming to St. Louis style, using my method outlined here http://www.oldwoodfiregrill.com/?page_id=779. Once you have the ribs trimmed, apply a liberal amount of Old WoodFire Grill KK's 10 BBQ Rub to both sides of the rack (or racks). When the smoker has come up to temp and has leveled off, put the racks on the smoker and close the lid. Let them cook at 250 degrees for about 3 1/2 hours, or until the ends of the bones start to show and they droop on both sides if picked up in the middle with a pair of tongs. When they have reached this point, hit them with a thick glaze of honey and let them simmer on the smoker for another 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes with the honey glaze, you can glaze them with your favorite BBQ sauce if you like, or you can bring them in and serve them "dry". I like them both ways, so I took a few pics of both styles.
The consistency and texture of these ribs is tender, but not fall of the bone, which is the way I personally like my ribs. You have to tug a little when you bite into them to get the meat off of the bone. If you want them fall off the bone tender, there is a method that I will outline in a later post.