Finally. Here’s a way to smoke that’s not bad for you. It’s easy, and it adds depth to meats, cheeses and vegetables. Just remember that whether you have a fancy piece of equipment made just for smoking or you’re rigging some contraption of your own, it’s “soaking before smoking.” Always smoke chips for at least an hour to get thick, smudgy smoke capable of infusing foods with the flavors of hickory, herbs, mesquite, cherry or applewood.
Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs and discard (or have the butcher do this for you). Place on a jellyroll pan and set aside.
In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the sugar, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic salt, onion salt, celery salt, cayenne and cumin. Shake well to combine. Apply the dry rub generously to the front and back of the ribs. Set aside.
Preheat the smoker or build a fire for indirect cooking by situating the coals on only one side of the grill, leaving the other side empty. For best results, use charcoal and presoaked wood chips of your choice and keep the temperature around 200 degrees. Place a pan of hot water in the bottom of the smoker. Place the ribs on the cooking rack meat side up and cook indirectly (over the empty side of the grill if not using a smoker) for 3 to 4 hours or until the ribs are tender. About 15 minutes before the ribs are ready, paint them with barbecue sauce, then cut and serve hot with more barbecue sauce on the side.
Note: The ribs are done when the meat begins to shrink from the ends of the bone.