Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ribs Smoked On a Gas Grill

Sustainable Pork Tour 2012 (Part 1)
I spent the past two days in the farmlands of Versailles (Ver-sales, not Ver-sigh), Ohio courtesy of the National Pork Board and have learned volumes about sustainable pork farming at Wuebker Farms.  I even held a piglet that was just minutes old.


I had a lot of preconceived notions changed and have a lot of topics to discuss so I need to break this into 3 posts.

My intial post is a recipe inspired by my visit in 3 ways.

First, I chose to do "baby back ribs*" since Wuebker Farms is basically an Ob/Maternity Ward for pigs.  Second, I decided to smoke ribs on my gas grill because Jeff and Alan cooked our lunch yesterday on this cooker that they bought for $250!
What a bargain!!! 

It's a gasser with an internal 6 rack rotisserie that they found for a steal when looking for a feed truck for the farm.  The third inspiration is that I based this recipe on a local BBQ sauce that Dena Wuebker recommended, D.B. Yummers.

She wanted to give me two bottles but TSA regulations won't allow you to carry liquids more than 3 ounces so they couldn't fly with me.  The sauce has a thick texture and you can see some of the bigger spices like red pepper flake in there.  It has a bold sweetness and a good kick of balanced heat.  I liked it enough that I ordered a 4 pack from them today.

Not a bad smoke ring for a gas grill.

Wuebker Ribs


For the rub
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1.5 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp smoked kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes*
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
For the mop
  • 1/2 cup D.B. Yummer's Mildly Spicy Barbecue Sauce
  • 1/4 cup cola
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  1. Preheat gas grill to 250-275f and place your smoke packet directly above the burner.  For my Smoke Hollow grill, I turned only the left burner on and at the lowest setting.  That kept it around 260-270f. 
  2. Remove the membrane from the back of the rib (like I show in this post or the video is this really old post.).  Mix the rub ingredients together*.  Moisten the rib on both sides with a little cola (about 1-2 Tbsp) and then season it heavily with the dry rub.
  3. When the smoke pack starts smoking, place the rib on the grill bone side down and away from the burner and close the lid.
  4. Mix the mop ingredients together and lightly mop or spoon some over the rib about every 30-45 minutes.   This will layer flavors and keep a moist cooking environment.  
  5. Cook for 3 hours, then wrap in a double sheet of aluminum foil and return it to the grill.  Cook for 45 minutes.
  6. Remove from the foil and put back on the grill.  Cook until the rib bends easily when you hold one end with tongs, about another 45 minutes (4 1/2 hrs to 5 hours total time).  When they are almost done, brush on some of the straight barbecue sauce (not the mop).  
  7. Let rest for 10 minutes, slice and serve.
  • Ribs - These were packaged as "baby back ribs" but are actually loin back ribs.  The only difference is size, true baby backs are 1 1/2 or 2 pounds.  Back ribs can be heavier like these (2.9 lbs).  
  • Smoke Packet - For ideas on how to make a smoke packet, check out Patio Daddio's excellent tutorial.  I used a foil mini loaf pan with two Mojo-Qubes and got some of the best smoke I have ever had on a gas grill, it blew chips away as far as the quantity and consistency of smoke production.  
  • Red pepper flakes -  this is spicy as written.  Drop the quantity to 1/4 tsp for medium heat.
  • I ran my rub through a spice grinder for just a few seconds to get an even texture but you can use it just mixed together by hand.
  • If you want "fall off the bone" ribs (which are overcooked), leave them in the foil for an hour.
Close enough!

Wuebker Wub

I covered the Qubes with foil and poked about 8 holes in top.

I have three wood fired smokers but I chose to use the gas grill side of my Smoke Hollow grill just for fun. 

The rib is away from the burner while the smoke packet is directly on the burner (see under the grate to the right).

I don't have to mop when I use my Big Green Eggs but the gasser seems to be a drier environment.
I also mopped the bacon wrapped corn, figured it couldn't hurt.

Mmmmmmm ribs.

Served with bacon wrapped corn and Smokehouse Tradition Grillin' Beans.

Alexis couldn't get over the smoke flavor and said she wouldn't have known they were done on a gas grill if she hadn't seen it with her own two eyes.

I'll have two more posts up this week with a ton of pictures and information from my visit with the National Pork Board, Ohio Pork Producers Council, and Wuebker Farms. 


  1. Good looking slab Chris and I look forward to the next two post. You sure keep that gasser clean.

    1. Looks a whole cleaner than FoodNetWork Grills !!!

  2. Man those ribs are gorgeous. All I use is a gas grill. One day, one day. And aww that little piglet is adorable. Too bad he was going to give his life soon :( But for a good cause at least! I can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip!

  3. I cannot wait to read your other posts about the trip - I've been looking forward to it! My mouth is seriously watering right now. I want to commandeer that plate right this minute. And every last piece of bacon-wrapped corn on the cob (OHEMGEE!!!).

    Little piggy - so cute!

  4. Looking forward to the piggy posts! Keep those coming. It's a great, interesting experience. Lucky you to see it up close.

  5. The ribs look fantastic of course. But where has bacon wrapped corn been all my life!!!

  6. It must have been a fascinating trip. Have to admit, though, that with all the ribs and the adorable baby pig, what really got to me was that corn ... bacon! More bacon! Love bacon!

  7. Bacon wrapped corn??????? Fabulous. That wittle pig is so pink and cute. I look forward to your upcoming posts. Those ribs look fabulous Chris. When oh when am I ever going to learn to smoke.

  8. Ribs look great for being done on a gasser, Chris. ;) And the bacon wrapped!! Never seen that before.

    So were you able to take a piggie home?

    I think you left off the link in step two of the instructions on how to take off the membrane. I remember the post you are talking about, though.

  9. Oh, My! How can you post those pictures and not be drooling all the time? Those look delicious. I am taking the rub spice mix with me.

    And by the way, there are 3 rotisserie items on sale on ebay.
    Just in case you are serious about getting one.


  10. Looks great as always, Chris! Thanks for the kind mention. I appreciate it.

  11. Those look amazing. I still remember the folks who kind of scoffed at Mr. BBQ during the BBQ Championships when he said if the meat is falling off the bones your ribs are overcooked. I trust you and Mr. BBQ, no more falling off the bone rib meat!

  12. Those ribs look amazing, but really? Grilled bacon wrapped CORN? That sounds amazing! I'm looking forward to hearing more about your tour too.

  13. They sure do look amazing Chris, really amazing! And bacon wrapped corn? What a great idea! I don't know why I've never thought of that. It will definitely be at my next BBQ!

  14. Great looking ribs. I always seem to dry mine out but I have been too lazy to mop and the wrapping with foil should help also. I have never tried bacon wrapped corn. Another thing for the must do list.

  15. What a mouth-watering sight! I just fell in love with the bacon wrapped corn! The piglet is so CUTE!

  16. I'll admit that I feel guilty to see pork ribs look so tasty after I see such a sweet piglet. Only you could still make them look that amazing drool worthy!

    The corn looks amazing wrapped in bacon too!

  17. Fantastic looking rack! Im so all over the bacon wrapped corn too, just awesome...

  18. Your ribs look amazing! I have never smoked anything. I use a gas grill, I am practicing for the big leagues (smokers and charcoal).

    I think even bacon wrapped cardboard would be divine! Maybe if I start wrapping broccoli with bacon I could get chad to eat it... Nah! Not a chance.

  19. Those are some good-looking ribs Chris! I can't wait to see what else you have to say about the pork tour. I'm still processing it all.

  20. I am making ribs for the first time some time in the near future!! They'll be done in the oven since I'm still a leetle scared of my grill (and certainly too intimidated to smoke on it, ha!), but I hope they're good. And if not, I'll just post the sauce recipe :)

  21. I don't like to see my food alive! My heart hurts just a lil bit looking at that adorable lil baby piglet...ahhhhhhhhhhh

    COrn looks AHHHmazing

  22. I'm drooling so much over here, I think I might short out my computer!!

  23. I love the corn wrapped with bacon!!!Great meal!

  24. I would have been tempted to take one of those piglets home as a pet!

  25. I love this post! I haven't convinced my husband that we NEED a BGE as today, so we grill on a gas Weber grill. We use wood chips, but I am very excited about those Qubes- especially if you and Alexis loved the smoke flavor in these ribs! I clicked on the link, and see that there are several different sizes and flavors. What size and flavor did you use, Chris? Thanks!

    Kim in MD

  26. That little piglet is so adorable! And the ribs with the sauce look fantastic. Looking forward to the other posts!

    Question for you, what is the difference though between using the mop (I have never seen one of those) and a basic brush?

  27. I am most interested in hearing about sustainable pork. I am glad to know that the message is reaching the producers and they seem to be hearing it! GREG

  28. @Liz - No, nothing different about using a cotton than a silicone one or a pastry brush.

    The big thing is the "mop sauce" itself. It is thinner, less sugary, and is applied throughout the cooking process. A bbq sauce is added only at the end of the cook.

  29. Chris- Question for you...what flavor and size Qubes did you use for these ribs? I'm anxious to purchase some, but wanted your advice on exactly what to purchase. Thanks!

    Kim in MD

  30. Kim - I used the ones called Qubes, not the Brix or mini-qubes. I used one cherry and one hickory but hickory by itself works too.

    1. Thanks so much, Chris. I am off to order some!

      Kim in MD

  31. I am impressed. I don't think Ive met anyone who knows as much about this subject as you do. You are truly well informed and very intelligent. You wrote something that people could understand and made the subject intriguing for everyone. Really, great blog you have got here. best gas grills below 300 dollars


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