Creole Smoked Beef Ribs
For the Creole rub:
- 2 Tbs. paprika
- 1 Tbs. dried thyme
- 2 tsp. brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. dry mustard
- 1 tsp. ground celery seeds
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
For the bourbon sauce:
- 2/3 cup bottled chili sauce
- 2/3 cup hickory-flavored barbecue sauce
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 3 Tbs. cider vinegar
- 3 Tbs. honey
- 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 to 2 tsp. hot-pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
- 2 racks beef ribs, about 5 lb. total
- 3 to 4 handfuls hickory chips, soaked if using
To make the bourbon sauce, in a saucepan over medium heat, combine the chili and barbecue sauces, bourbon, vinegar, honey and Worcestershire sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the hot-pepper sauce to taste. The sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated. Reheat gently before using.
Pat the ribs on all sides generously with the rub. Let the ribs stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 hours. If refrigerated, remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for indirect grilling over medium-low heat.
For a charcoal grill: Place a drip pan half full of water in the center of the fire bed. Sprinkle about half of the wood chips on the coals. Place the ribs on the grill rack over the drip pan. Cover the grill and cook, turning occasionally and adding wood chips and water if necessary, and more coals as needed to maintain the temperature, until the ribs are very tender and richly browned, about 2 hours. After about 1 1/2 hours, brush the ribs once or twice with the sauce.
For a gas grill: Place a shallow pan half full of water at the edge of the grill rack. Add half of the wood chips to the grill in a smoker box or perforated foil packet. Place the ribs on the grill rack away from the heat elements. Cover the grill and cook, turning occasionally and adding the remaining wood chips and more water as needed, until the ribs are very tender and richly browned, about 2 hours. After about 1 1/2 hours, brush the ribs once or twice with the sauce.
Simmer any remaining sauce for at least 5 minutes before serving. Transfer the ribs to a carving board and cut into pieces. Pass the remaining sauce alongside. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Grilling, by Denis Kelly, Melanie Barnard, Barbara Grunes & Michael McLaughlin (Oxmoor House, 2003).