Month: January 2017

Cooked Spare Ribs

Pork Ribs: Why I Cook Spare Ribs

Ribs, Ribs, Ribs!

I was never a ribs kind of guy… until I started cooking them myself. Now all I can think about is the next time I’m going to smoke some pork ribs. Pork ribs, in my opinion, are the candy of BBQ. This is because the bite-to-bark ratio is INSANE! Every bite, you not only get to sink your teeth into some soft tender pork meat, but you also get an explosion of flavor from the bark you just spent hours creating. Every bite makes you proud of what you just did.

My Introduction to Spare Ribs

Most people have heard of Baby Back ribs. In fact, it’s almost become a bbq buzzword for restaurant chains. I came across spare ribs in more of a happen Raw Spare Ribsstance kind of way. My first cook on my Ugly Drum Smoker was a pork butt. I heard that pork butts were one of the more forgiving cuts of meat and a good starting point. After my first couple a pork butts I decided to branch out. This is when I came across Malcom Reed’s Recipe for Spare Ribs. It was the first video I watched and so it became the guide that I would follow.

The ribs turned out delicious! I was actually surprised. I never liked restaurant ribs, they were either too chewy and/or too smothered in bbq sauce. But, after this first cook I learned that properly cooked pork ribs can be both tender and delicious.

Where on the Pig do Spare Ribs Come From

Amazing Rib’s has a very comprehensive breakdown on the different cuts of pork. Simply put, Spare ribs are located just below the baby back ribs on the ribs. Spare ribs actually compose two different types of cuts: The St. Louis Cut Ribs and Rib Tips. St. Louis Cut What are Spare RibsRibshave more fat than the leaner baby back ribs. Because of this, spare ribs/ St. Louis cut ribs are packed with flavor!

Why I Cook Spare Ribs

So why do I cook pork spare ribs as opposed to baby back ribs or even the St. Louis cut ribs? It all comes down to Value. When I buy a rack of Spare Ribs not only am I getting the St. Louis cut of ribs I’m also getting the Rib Tips. The rib tips are an extra piece of meat and cartilage that are located below the St. Louis Cut. When I cook my spare ribs I cut the rib tips off and cook them along side of the ribs. When they are done cooking I pull them apart and separate the cartilage and the meat. The shredded rib tips make small finger food sized pieces with lots of bark!  For many of the people, for whom I’ve cooked ribs, this has been their favorite part!

Try Cooking Spare Ribs Yourself!

Go ahead. Cook some yourself! I wouldn’t dare try and give you in-depth instructions on how to do this. Luckily, the BBQ community is all about sharing! I would recommend Rib tipswatching Malcom Reed from Killer Hogs bbq team. He has great instructional videos with play-by-play instructions for how to make some great BBQ. He also has a great BBQ blog you should check out!

Below are pictures from the process that I follow. For more in-depth instructions go ahead and follow the link I posted earlier in this post for Malcom Reed’s Spare Ribs recipe. He’ll take you step-by-step through the cook.

How to Cook Spare Ribs – Pictures

Raw Pork Spare Ribs

Get Spare Ribs from your local butcher or grocery store.


Pat the spare ribs dry


Separate the rib tips (above) from St. Louis Cut Ribs (Below)


Remove Membrane and trim any excess fat


Apply slather to help when applying rub. I used mustard for this cook.


Apply your rub of choice. This is a homemade combination of spices.


Make sure to apply rub on both sides and on the edges of spare rib.


Make sure your pit is up to temperature.


Place spare ribs bone side down on your pit. Spray with apple juice every 45 Min.


After three hours, take ribs off the smoker and wrap them in tin foil with butter, brown sugar, and honey on both sides. Make sure to place them back on the smoker meat side down.


Melted butter, brown sugar, and Honey.


After about 1 1/2 – 2 Hours (Or when internal temperature of ribs reaches 195) take your ribs out of the tin foil and apply bbq sauce for glaze. Let them sit on the smoker for another 15-30 Minutes.


Finished Rib Tips. This will be great meat as you shred it and remove the cartilage.


Finished Spare Ribs!


The Barrel: My Ugly Drum Smoker

Why an ugly drum smoker?First smoke on an Ugly Drum Smoker

It was early in the summer of 2016. I just got married and we were both working internships before our last year of college. We didn’t have a whole lot of money and I needed to find a way to justify putting money into getting a smoker. So, for me, the Ugly Drum Smoker was the best solution. It was something I could make for under $100 and, from what research I had done, it could still hold up as a solid smoker. Long story short, that $90 I spent making that barrel into an ugly drum smoker has supplied me with many hours of good times with family and friends, and not to mention some great BBQ.

Build an ugly drum smoker for under $100 dollars

Yes, making an ugly drum smoker for under $100 is possible, but there is a catch! Mine would have to be reliant on a temperature controller. I suppose it would still be possible to keep it under $100 if you fashioned a way to control the air flow. There are a lot of how-to videos online that are guides to building your own ugly drum smoker and they all give their own solutions to air flow. If you do decide to build your own ugly drum smoker, you’re in control! Choose what you would like to do, explore different options, and see what other people have done. No matter what you decide to do for airflow, you won’t regret you decided to go with an ugly drum smoker after you eat some of the goodness that can come out of it!

Pictures building my ugly drum smoker

Here are some photos of the process I went through to build my own ugly drum smoker. Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions!

Burning out the barrel for the ugly drum smoker

Found this barrel for $25 in my local classifieds. First thing I did was burn it out.

Spray painting the ugly drum smoker

I bought some matte black high temp spray paint. It was the cheapest high temp spray paint.

charcoal basket for ugly drum smoker

The Charcoal Basket: small cooking grate with four 4inch bolts (for feet) and expanded metal sheets welded together.

The cooking grate for the ugly drum smoker

I used three 3inch – 3/4″ bolts. spaced them equally around the smoker, ten inches down from the top. These bolts hold up the 22inch weber cooking grate.

Seasoning the ugly drum smoker

Season your Ugly Drum Smoker. I used vegetable oil and wiped down the interior walls. This will help seal up any cracks and create a base layer to help season your ugly drum smoker. This is the last step. You’re ready to get smoking!