With it's sweet caramel flavor, cola is just begging to be made into a barbecue sauce! Root beer and Dr. Pepper works well too. You can use your method of cooking the ribs instead of the '3-2-1 method' presented here, but try it if you haven't already. The mustard paint does not actually give the meat a mustard flavor in the end, but it does enhance the flavor of the meat, as well as seal and moisten it and act as a glue for the dry rub.
- 2 baby back rib racks
- 6 cups apple wood chips
- 1⁄4 cup prepared yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons garlic salt
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons onion salt
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons celery salt
- 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 teaspoon lemon pepper
- 1⁄4 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic granules (powder)
- 1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1⁄8 teaspoon ground thyme
- 1⁄8 teaspoon allspice
- 2 cups cola
- 1 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons mild hot sauce (to taste)
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Place the wood chips in water to soak for an hour. If using a gas grill, soak 2/3 (4 cups) of the chips, otherwise soak all of them for use on a charcoal grill.
- Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. This is easy to do by using a paper towel to get a good grip on the membrane at one end of rack with your fingers, and then simply peel it off. You may need to use a knife to get it started.
- Combine and mix mustard paint ingredients in a small bowl and slather it completely over both sides of the ribs.
- Mix the dry rub ingredients well with your fingers in a small bowl, then sprinkle onto both sides of the ribs.
- Prepare the grill for indirect cooking - for a gas grill only turn on the burner on one side turned and the grate above it removed. Preheat to 225-250°F.
- For a gas grill you will make two smoke pouches. Divide the soaked wood chips onto two seperate sheets of aluminum foil at one end of each one after squeezing out the excess water from the chips. Divide the dry chips and add them to each pile. Mix the dry and wet chips up a bit and fold over the other end of the foil to meet the end the chips are near, crimp along the edges to seal all around and poke holes into both sides with a fork. Repeat to create the other pouch. Place one of the smoke pouches directly over the hot burner. Close the lid and wait for smoke to start.
- For a charcoal gill, simply squeeze out the excess water and add half of them directly onto the coals after they have turned ash white.
- Place the ribs on the "cool" side of the grill and then close the lid. Cook for 3 hours. Replace the smoke pouch (or add the rest of the wood chips onto the fire bed for a charcoal grill) after it stops smoking, about an hour.
- After they've cooked for 3 hours, completely wrap up the ribs tightly in foil wrap and return them to the grill and close the lid to continue cooking this way for 2 hours. You may add some more dry rub at this point to intensify the flavor more.
- In the meantime, add sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and whisk. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and continue to simmer for 30 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- After the ribs have cooked for 2 hours wrapped in foil, remove them from the foil and return them to the grill. Be careful moving them because at this point the ribs are quite tender and can break.
- Continue to cook for 1 hour, hence the term '3-2-1' (hours for each step of cooking). Baste with the cola sauce during the last 20 minutes.
- Remove the ribs from the grill (they will have firmed up after this last hour of cooking in the open again and will be much easier to handle). Let them rest for 10 minutes before cutting up into individual ribs.