Dr. BBQ’s Famous Baby Back Ribs

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Lots of photos above in the slideshow – we’ll show you how to fold the tin foil to encase the ribs so that the apple juice/honey doesn’t spill out.

You think that a food enthusiast like me and a beef aficionado like my husband would have already dived deep into the black, charred world of charcoal.

But no, I must confess that, until this weekend, we’ve been tethered to an ugly white liquid propane gas tank I’m always scared will explode on the car ride home. So I make my husband drive 20 mph and avoid speed bumps and curbs. Which makes our drive to the market to refill the tank just about as boring and uneventful as the third time ’round It’s a Small World at the Magic Kingdom.

I had never been interested in charcoal because anything that contributes to or directly causes my pile of laundry to increase is a no-no in my home. Just looking at an open bag causes my skin to break out in housewifery hives.

Recently, my good friend, Ray Lampe, aka Dr. BBQ, came over with a nice little present for me: a Big Green Egg. He also lugged in a bag of charcoal and some hickory, but I didn’t whine about the black glitter on the carpets. Nor did I obsessively dab at my husband’s shirt with the bleach pen. When you’ve got Dr. BBQ in your home, you just let him do his thing.

Ray taught us the basics of barbecuing and how to use the Big Green Egg, which looks more like a bomb shelter than a grill. The smoked salmon came out silky with the perfect hint of hickory (though Ray says for salmon, cherry or alder wood chips are best). When it came time to grill our steaks, the flames shot straight up. Oops, that was my fault. I’m used to lubing the steaks with cooking oil to coax some flame action from our regular lame-o grill.

Ray left the Egg for us, and we’ve put it to use every night since. I’m considering spray-painting the darn thing hot pink in case he comes back to get it. I really can’t see that man rolling a Big Pink Egg to championship barbecue competitions.

drbbq <– THIS IS DR. BBQ. He knows his shit. Ray has authored these books:


and Ray is the reason I’m 1 degree away from Justin Timberlake (Ray is the executive chef of Southern Hospitality, Timberlake’s restaurant)

big-green-egg <– THIS IS THE BIG GREEN EGG. It’s ugly. I love it.

Dr. BBQ’s Famous Baby Back Ribs Recipe

Featuring the Big Green Egg

3 slabs baby back ribs, membrane on back of ribs removed
2 cups honey
1 1/2 cups apple juice
2 cups of Dr. BBQ’s Sweet and Sticky Glaze (see below)
Dr. BBQ’s rub (see below)

Prepare your cooker for indirect grilling at 275 degrees Fahrenheit, using cherry and hickory wood for flavor. Season the ribs with the rub. Put the ribs into the smoker, meaty site up for two hours. Flip the ribs and cook another hour. Remove the ribs to a platter.

Take a double-thick piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil (big enough to wrap a slab of ribs), and slather about 1/3 cup of honey on each sheet, spreading it where the ribs will lie. Place the ribs meaty side down and add more honey on top of the slab. Now crimp the edges of the foil and pour 1/2 cup of apple juice in the bottom. Do this for all three slabs. Loosely close the packets around the ribs and lay them back in the cooker.

Cook another 90 minutes. Carefully unwrap the packets and take out the ribs. Place the ribs back on the cooker, raising the temperature to 350 degrees. Brush with the glaze or barbecue sauce and flip several times for another 20 minutes.

Dr. BBQ’s rub (combine)
1/4 cup salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated onion
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

Dr. BBQ’s Sweet and Sticky Glaze
This is what Dr. BBQ always uses to finish his ribs and chicken at BBQ cookoffs around the country.

1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup dark molasses
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon mace
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon Liquid Smoke (Optional)
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon hot sauce of choice

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, stir well, and simmer for 15 minutes to reduce and thicken

Dr. BBQ Cookbook Giveaway


I’m giving away a signed copy of one of Dr. BBQ’s Big Time Barbeque Cookbook. Just comment below and tell Dr. BBQ: GAS OR CHARCOAL? (and why!?) until June 21st to enter. This book can be yours and lovingly signed by the man himself.

My email subscribers get a bonus entry (just enter twice – just type in “I’m an email subscriber” in your bonus entry). Want to be an email subscriber? There’s a signup form on the right in the sidebar.


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Comments 224

  1. maria

    Hi! im still just an amateur cook who barely knows anything about barbeque-ing. So my answer is neither. both gas and coal are bad for the environment. i prefer to cook inside the kitchen with my bff; the electric stove.

  2. Curt

    Don’t enter me in the contest; I already have the book signed by Ray! But charcoal or wood over gas any day. With the egg, in particular, it’s as easy as gas, and much better flavor.

  3. Bill Weiss

    I’m a fan of gas, because it’s easier. I know everyone says that charcoal is better, but I’m lazy in that regard.

    This is all moot, because I can’t have a grill where I live now. It’s a catastrophe.

  4. Lubna Karim

    Oh wow wrapping up and cooking is really an awesome idea……we wrap fish or chicken pieces in banana leaves and steam so that the flavour of leaf and spice’s blend to give soft chicken/fish pieces……giveaway sounds gr8!

  5. Brenda

    I love charcoal. We have used cowboy charcoal, which heats up and burns away a little to quickly, so we are back to briquets!!..

  6. Ray

    Wood charcoal truly is best. The low and slow method does take a long time – but on a weekend or holiday with family and friends the waiting is part of the fun (along with a few adult bevs)! Nothing like a pork shoulder that pulls apart with a fork!

  7. Alta

    I love gas for convenience, but as inexperienced at charcoal as I am, I prefer it for taste! Would love to learn a bit from Dr. BBQ!

  8. Dan

    Charcoal/wood has the best taste for cooking ribs and chicken. It gives them that slight smokey taste that few bbq joints ever acheive (in my opinion)instead of the overwhelming smoke taste. If all I wanted to taste was smoke, I could try and find an old bar here in Florida where they haven’t outlawed smoking and lick the ashtrays for fun. Yum!
    Honestly, some charcoal with some peach or hickory wood just make it a little taste of heaven. However, I like my hot dogs grilled, so I also have a gas grill for those days when the little one wants a hot dog for lunch. It’s also a great way to go outside, get the grill going, get away from everyone, and enjoy an adult beverage by oneself.

  9. Yolanda

    Jaden –

    Good afternoon. Charcoal or wood is for me, I think gas is cheating and you just don’t get that down home taste, just my opinion though.

  10. Lynette

    OK — I was all ready to tell you why gas is better. But then I read all of the responses singing the praises of charcoal. Now I’m just confused! But one thing I do know… I’d love to win Dr. B’s cookbook!

  11. Diana

    Charcoal! I love the flavor it gives. Plus I just love our little hibachi grill that we can use in our apartment parking space or take anywhere we want.

  12. Tricia

    Definately Charcoal! The taste that get smoked into whatever you are BBQing is incredible … especially Satay!!!

  13. Brandi

    Both! Charcoal gives wonderful flavor for the weekend ritual of outdoor cooking. But we enjoy the quick cooking and cleanup of a weeknight meal from the gas grill.

  14. Jaan

    Charcoal or wood, hands down. If you are going to use gas, you might just as well cook it in your kitchen.

  15. Kim L

    Gas, all the way – I’m much too impatient to wait for charcoal, and the food tastes great. It gets caramelized just fine on a gas grill and that’s where the flavor is, for me.

    Im an email subscriber.

  16. susan g

    Funny — while I adapt such amazing recipes to veg foods, my son is a full blown barbeque fan. He’s already ordered the book. Thanks for the great pics of the kids.

  17. Brian H

    Charcoal forever! Its not that bad if u get a charcoal chimney. It starts firing up in 10 mins.

  18. Kim Y

    Lump charcoal on the BGE. I love my BGEs and I have attended Dr BBQ’s cooking classes. I bake, sear, roast, cold smoke, grill all on my lump charcoal Eggs.

  19. Daniel

    Hardwood Lump Charcoal ONLY! I have a large Big Green Egg and it takes not much time at all to get the lump lit and up to temp and it provides much better flavor than with gas. Also love to bake with lump charcoal in the Egg….

  20. stike

    @maria: propane and charcoal aren’t equal when it comes to harming the environment, and neither is an electric stove.
    most electricity in the country is generated from coal, a non-renewable resource which results a net ADD of CO2. propane is also a net add, since the CO2 was locked away, but is now released into the atmosphere.

    charcoal is made from trees. they are renewable, and the carbon in trees which ultimately becomes part of the atmosphere was already part of the atmosphere, when the tree was growing. all things being equal, if you grew trees and burnt charcoal, it would be a cycle with no added CO2.

    aside from that, though, purely as a fuel source for food, propane or electric adds nothing to the food as far as flavor goes.

    anyone serious about food needs to look into an egg. try setting any other cooker for 250, and letting it go all night without adding fuel or wood (for smoke). it holds temps rock steady. even an electric oven experiences rising and falling temps as the element cycles on and off trying to hold an average temp. the egg just nails it, and sits there pegged to whatever temp you want, until you fiddle with it

    no one who likes good food rushes it, frankly. but if you are impatient, the egg can hit temps in as little as 20 minutes (that temp being 750 or so, which is higher than any gasser). and when you want steaks, keep in mind that the charcoal burns at around 1200-1400 degrees. besides, waiting ain’t so bad. gives you a reason to have another beverage

  21. Charm

    …it depends on the food you’re making (according to my husband. I’m asking him his opinion as we speak, since he’s the one who likes to grill). Charcoal is good for ribs (which my husband LOVES). It’s better for slow-cooking and adding different flavors (i.e., mesquite). With gas, you’ll only get one flavor. However, the upside of a gas grill is that it heats up fast and you can cook fast. Oh, and another thing about a gas grill is that you have MORE control over the heat…..so says the Hubster. =)

  22. Mike

    I use both gas and charcoal for my grilling needs. If I need something done fast after work for my wife and I, I will use gas for the quickness of it. Plus my wife can work the gas grill easier. If I am doing weekend grilling, then it is charcoal for he slow process and I find it very relaxing…along with having that tasty smoke flavor!

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