There are a lot of ways to prepare ribs, but I prefer to use a smoker, if available. Otherwise, you can use a grill or oven for cooking. No matter how you prepare them, the rib meat is so tender and delicious. A friend’s mom used to say, “the meat is always sweetest closer to the bone.”

Use can use either St. Louis style or baby back ribs — your choice. I prefer St. Louis style, but my husband loves baby backs, so I usually prepare a combination of both.


  • 1/2 c paprika
  • 1/3 c kosher salt
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 2 T mustard powder
  • 1/4 c chili powder
  • 1/4 c ground cumin
  • 2 T black pepper
  • 1/4 c garlic powder
  • 1/2 T cayenne pepper

Mix all together, and then rub on ribs – on both sides. Shake off the excess rub, and then put right in the smoker. If you are using an oven for cooking, skip to “oven cooking method” below.

Smoke at 225 for 3 hours total

After 1 hour of smoking, begin basting every 30 minutes with:


  • 4 C canola oil
  • 1 c apple juice
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup prepared BBQ sauce (homemade or store bought)

Mix all together and then baste the ribs with a BBQ mop, and sprinkle with a little more rub. Baste every ½ hour – after the first hour of smoking – and continue every 30 minutes for the next 2 hours until the full 3 hours has elapsed. 

OVEN COOKING METHOD (low and slow):

Apply dry rub and wrap each rack of ribs with foil. Place foil packages on a sheet pan for baking. You should be able to fit at least 2 racks of ribs on each sheet pan. Bake at 300 for 3 hours. Open foil, pour off juices, cover with prepared BBQ sauce (not the mopping mix from above) and return to hotter 375 oven. Keep coating with BBQ sauce every 20-30 minutes until desired sticky coating has formed.

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