Be warned. This one is a big cheat. If you’re scared off by the calories, cut the serving size in half, and finish the rest tomorrow. Otherwise, eat it, enjoy it, and double down in the gym the next day.


  • 3 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp ancho chile powder
  • 2 tbsp packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 racks spareribs, 2 1/2-3 1/2 lbs each
  • ¾ cup apple juice
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 5 fist-size hickory wood chunks
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • ½ cup unsweetened apple juice
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup yellow mustard
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tsp granulated garlic
  • ¼ tsp chipotle chile powder


  1. Preheat the smoker for indirect cooking with very low heat (225–250˚).
  2. Mix the rub ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Put the spareribs on a cutting board meaty side up. Follow the line of fat that separates the meaty ribs from the much tougher tips at the base of each rack, and cut off the tips. Turn each rack over. Cut off the flap of meat attached in the center of each rack, as well as the flap of meat that hangs below the shorter end of the ribs. Using a dull dinner knife, slide the tip under the membrane covering the back of each rack. Lift and loosen the membrane until it breaks, then grab a corner of it with a paper towel and pull it off.
  4. Season the spareribs all over with the rub, putting more of the rub on the meaty side than the bone side.
  5. In a small spray bottle, combine ¾ cup apple juice and ¼ cup cider vinegar.
  6. Brush the cooking grate clean, then add two wood chunks to the charcoal. Place spareribs, bone side down, in the smoker and smoke, with the lid closed, until the meat has shrunk back from the bones at least ½ inch (about 4–5 hours). Every hour, add lit briquettes as necessary to maintain the heat, and spray the ribs on both sides with the apple juice mixture. Add a wood chunk to the charcoal every hour until they’re gone.
  7. While the ribs smoke, combine the sauce ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook 15–20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. When the spareribs are done, remove them from the smoker. Brush the ribs on both sides with the sauce and wrap each rack in heavyduty aluminum foil. Return the foil-wrapped racks to the smoker, stacking them on the top cooking grate. Continue to cook with the lid closed until the meat is tender enough to tear with your fingers, 45–60 minutes. Remove the spareribs from the smoker and lightly brush the racks on both sides with sauce again. Cut racks into individual ribs and serve warm with the remaining sauce on the side.
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