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. Steamy Kitchen Husband

    I have to admit I am a convert. Having used gas for all my outdoor grilling needs, I found little or no need to try charcoal. I was always of the belief that it was far simpler and easier to light the gas grill and cook than it was to prep the charcoal, light it, arrange it so no hot spots and keep it going.

    That was till Dr. BBQ opened our eyes to the Big Green Egg! What a marvelous grill! I found it amazingly simple to light the grill and get it going. No fuss really! Incredible temperature control. best of all it does infuse so much flavor into the foods.

    I was also amazed at how little charcoal was actually consumed during the cooking process. We used the grill everyday for 8 days straight and still had half a bag of charcoal left from the original bag.

    Since we eat outside alot, the cermanic grill offered a nice secondary benefit of being a food warmer after we snuffed out the fire (which took about 3 minutes).

    The Big Green Egg is the bomb!

  2. Darci

    I’ve cooked on both gas and charcoal and I must admit that charcoal is by far the best for imparting that earthy smokey flavor to the food I grill with it!

  3. Connie

    Sure you can get things going a lot faster with a gas grill but I’d rather wait longer than sacrifice flavor. It’s charcoal for me, baby!

  4. Findley

    My vote is charcoal for two main reasons:
    1) the obvious one — the flavor imparted by the charcoals adds depth unachievable by gas
    2) the experience — waiting for coals to heat up while hanging out around a pseudo-campfire smelling the smoky charcoal builds anticipation for the delicious meal that is to come.

  5. Lane

    Gotta have both! I do the turkey day bird in the charcoal grill, but for the everyday ease of use it’s the gas grill. I’d love to have a big green egg. Hmmmm. Hey Jaden,how about a big green egg giveaway???

  6. Lynne

    Much prefer charcoal, although we have yet to learn how to get it lit and keep it going long enough to cook anything all the way through. Grilling seem beyond our comprehension. 🙁 Would LOVE to have Dr. BBQ hand-deliver a BGE to us and then give us personal lessons in how to use!

  7. Maria

    Well… i think it’s much more environment friendly to just cook inside on a cook’s bff(well, mine at least) the infamous stove! but i simply LOVE the charcoal-y taste on food.

  8. Scott Kohler

    What a gift! The Big Green Egg is a great device. I miss my Brinkman charcoal grill/smoker that I had at home in PA. But alas, I now live in an apartment complex in CA where grills of all sorts are persona non grata.

  9. Chris Huck

    Jaden – I just posted this comment on the eggheadforum.com –

    I guess I’d seen and heard of the Egg earlier, but never remotely thought about owning one.

    Then June 13 had a terrific review here – http://steamykitchen.com/4034-dr-bbqs-baby-back-ribs.html and I was really attracted.

    I spent the next 5 weeks or so surfing everything I could find (mostly egghead forum and BBQ Brethren,) visited a local dealer in north San Diego, he tried to switch me to a Traeger. Researched the heck out of that. Wife ordered Charcouterie (we love his blog too) and he likes the Bradley. Researched THAT like crazy too! Then the local dealer called to tell me about the Sams’ Club special and they’d match it, did I want one? I diddled around two days and it was sold with no more stock there! Next shipment two more weeks! It was rough waiting and I ALMOST got the pellet pusher. Sams’ deal went away but he still said he’d do the deal! Finally picked up my lage Egg last Thursday and my wife eagerly helped put together the cradle, rings etc…

    Totally cautious inaugural dinner to check out the useage – pork “brisket grillers” from Costco seared then set low to finish. Worked just as I read in all forums for weeks – perfect. Temp seemed set and steady so on with a sourdough boule I had planned to do in the oven – perfect again! Next night flank steak – perfect! Then Altons’ cedar planked trout – perfect again! Not bad for a first week. I love it!

    Ordered adjustable rack and toys from ceramicgrillstore.com that I heard about here. Eager to go indirect next and work pizza, butt and brisket, even without a Stoker or Guru.

    Thanks to everyone here for contributing to the education. And thanks to Dr. BBQ for getting Jaden excited enough to glow about it and get my researching started. Without her I wouldn’t be an Egghead!

    Thanks Jaden!

  10. Greg

    We saw Dr. BBQ at the San Jose BBQ fest, just followed his recipe and made the best ribs I have ever cooked with just some Costco back loin. Did it in a convection oven at 255F.

  11. Tammy

    Can you make this in the oven? I do not have a BBQ. At what temperature and for how long in the oven? Thank you.

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