Rob’s Smoked Ribs St.Paul Style

Rob’s my married to my daughter. He’s an amazing cook! We are at the lake and cooking up a storm.

Rob’s plan is spoke the ribs for 4-5 hours at 175 degrees in a smoker with maple wood.

So let get the ribs rubbed up. Now of course it some sort of secret but here go’s

The Secret Rub

Dark Brown Sugar

Garlic Powder

Onion Powder

Salt and Pepper



Red pepper flakes 



St. Louis style ribs.


Rob’s “secret” rub-e-rub


Wash the ribs in cold water.


Rub the ribs.

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IMG_3887 IMG_3888The Mop

Mopping Sauce vs. BBQ Sauce

So what’s a BBQ Mop?

  1. An implement consisting of a sponge or a bundle of loose strings attached to a small handle, used to place sauce or other liquids on meat as it is being cooked on a grill or smoker
  2. A fluid added to the exterior of a piece of meat as it is cooking to add moisture and flavor

Internet legend has it that President Lydon B. Johnson’s favorite pitmaster, Walter Jetton, coined the term “mop” as it related to BBQ. Apparently he would barbecue such a huge quantity of meat for the president’s various cook-outs that he used a real, house hold mop to slather the cooking meat with a basting liquid (he actually called this liquid a “mop” too) in order to keep it moist. This practice eventually lead to the barbecue term, “mop.”

A BBQ mop (as in the liquid, not the tool) is typically a bit thinner than what most people think of when they think of BBQ sauce. A mop is usually composed of a a flavored liquid (like apple juice or beer), an acid (like vinegar or citrus juice), a fat (oil or melted butter), and spices.

Rob’s Whiskey Mop Recipe:

The Secret Rub + 1 cup of  good medium quality whiskey, Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 10-15 min.

Mop the sauce over the ribs during the last 2 hours of cooking. every 15 min. YEA!!!!!

Dark Brown Sugar

Garlic Powder

Onion Powder

Salt and Pepper



Red pepper flakes 



Ok let’s get cooking!

Rob’s Recipe:

1. Choose a rack of ribs from your grocery store that is pink in color, and has not been frozen. I prefer St. Louis style ribs, which are pre-trimmed. Your local butcher may also be of assistance to you.

2. The night before you are going to smoke the ribs, remove the membrane off of the rack of ribs. The membrane is a thin, plastic like liner on the back side of the rack of ribs. If you leave the membrane on, the the ribs will not be as tender. To remove the membrane, use a sharp knife to separate the membrane from the ribs at the narrow end of the rack. When you have enough of the membrane separated, use your thumb and index finger to pull and separate the rest of the membrane from the ribs. I pull and cut with my knife at the same time to insure I remove all of the membrane. With a little practice, you will get the hang of it.

Picture of Removing the membrane from spareribs

3. Apply a Rob’s rub to the dry ribs, thats right smear it all over the ribs.  Cover with plastic wrap.

4. Let the ribs sit in the refrigerator over night. At least 12 hours.

5. Remove the ribs from the refrigerator about 1 hour before you are going to smoke them. They will be closer to room temperature by cooking time.

6. Heat your smoker to 250 degrees F. I also use an oven thermometer, placed where the rack of ribs will lay, to insure that the temperature is 250 degrees at the cooking surface. Many thermometers built onto smokers will actually be hotter that the actual temperature at the level the ribs are smoking at. I have found that 250 degrees F is the ideal temperature to smoke ribs at. You can use a mixture of  types of woods or  may be used including hickory, apple, cherry, pecan, etc. It just depends on what flavor you are looking for.

7. Smoke the ribs for about 5 hours, applying your mop about every 45 minutes. The thickest part of the rack of ribs should be about 170-180 degrees F if a constant temperature was maintained while smoking. During the last 30 minutes, I wrap the ribs in foil, apply my mop, and put them back on the smoker. This will make them very tender. Make sure your exhaust damper is wide open. You do not want to trap any of the smoke in the smoker. This can produce a very bitter taste.

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