Kansas City is the place where Barbecue traditions meet. Here you will
find a whole host of great eating places like Arthur Bryant's that
started as a road side BBQ joint during the depression and has since
become one of America's greatest rib joints. In Kansas City ribs are
serious business. Here they are slow smoked with a spicy rub and served
up with a thick, under your nails barbecue sauce.
First thing, start with a good rack of ribs. Actually start with two.
One never seems enough. Once you get the hang of it you can move up to
ten, twenty, enough to please the crowd that will gather.
Prepare ribs by washing racks and pealing membrane from the bone
side. To remove the membrane, slip a sharp knife under the membrane at
one end of the rack and pealing back enough to get a good grip. Try
using a paper towel to hold the membrane, then pull. You might need a
little practice, but you'll get the hang of it. If you are planning on
hanging the rack of ribs on a hook, don't remove the membrane. Once the
ribs are prepared, evenly coat with the rub and let sit. You can refrigerate overnight or let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes while you get the smoker ready.
Basting is an option to making ribs. On one hand it will add more
flavor to your ribs and can help keep them moist. On the other you can
wash off the rub you've already applied. By using a baste
(sometimes called a mop) that contains the seasonings of the rub you
already used you will enhance the flavor without washing away the flavor
you've already added. The mustard in this recipe thickens the baste and
holds the seasonings to the ribs.
Only add sauces at the very end of the cooking process or after
you have removed the ribs from the smoker. Sauces can cause burning or
excessive caramelization to foods. I will typically remove the ribs, cut
them up and then add the sauce. You might also want to put the sauce on
the side for people to add as they see fit. Of course sugar burns at
265 degrees F. (129 degrees C.), generally above smoking temperatures,
but it is best to leave sauces to the end either way.