plate of ribs

Brian Jones has the credentials. He’s a Kansas City Barbeque Society member, a certified barbecue judge, and half of the Roadmaster BBQ team ( As the Rib and Pork Pitmaster for the team, Brian has had several top-10 finishes and most recently finished #2 in Pork and Ribs in the Michigan State Championship in Monroe. Roadmaster BBQ has been competing professionally since 2008.

According to Jones, proper rib smoking starts at the butcher shop.

“I look for ribs that have not been injected with any type of solution. Look for straight bones that will make slicing easier. Look for a nice pink rack. Fat between the fibers means lots of flavor.

“Meat prep: “On the back or bone side, there is a thin membrane that covers the bones. This membrane will not cook off and needs to be removed to allow the rub to penetrate. Loosen up an end and grasp with a paper towel and it should peel right off.”


rub for ribs

¾ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
¾ cup white sugar
½ cup paprika
¼ cup kosher salt
¼ cup garlic powder
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons ground ginger powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 teaspoons rosemary powder

Mix well in an airtight container.

Coat the ribs in yellow mustard and apply the rub. You’ll want to apply the rub so it completely covers up the mustard. Put it on there like somebody else paid for it. For this recipe, you can go straight to the grill after rubbing.


For this technique, I’ll use the common charcoal kettle grill. Start off with a chimney full of lit charcoal and place it along the right side of the kettle as far to the right as you can get it. Place a foil pan of water or juice on the other side. If your kettle doesn’t have a thermometer, you can pick up a cheap oven thermometer and place it on the grate close to the ribs. You will want to maintain a temperature of about 225˚. Add lit charcoal as needed to maintain 225˚. For the smoke, add wood chips to a foil pouch and place on the grate over the charcoal. Poke a few holes in the top of the pouch to let the smoke out. I prefer cherry or hickory for ribs.

Place the rack of ribs over the pan of liquid and use the 2-2-1 method for baby backs or a 3-2-1 method for spare ribs.

THE 2-2-1 (3-2-1) METHOD
  • 2 (or 3 for spares) hours on the grate bone side down. Rotate 180˚ after 1 hour to equalize.
  • 2 hours wrapped in foil, bone side up, with about ¼ cup of white grape–peach juice
  • 1 hour bone side up on the grate. During the last 15 minutes, glaze with your favorite barbecue sauce.

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