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Molasses-Smoked Baby Back Ribs

FOOD & WINE Wine Club Molasses-Smoked Baby Back Ribs FOOD & WINE Wine Club Molasses-Smoked Baby Back Ribs
This no-fail method for ribs from Dallas chef-turned-pitmaster Tim Byres results in sticky, smoky ribs that melt off the bone.
Servings: 4
Active Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
One 12-ounce bottle lager
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup unsulfured molasses
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup Creole or brown mustard
1/4 cup chile powder
1/4 cup smoked paprika
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch of ground allspice

Two 3-pound racks baby back ribs—membranes removed, racks halved
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
3 cups hardwood chips, such as hickory or applewood, soaked in water for 1 hour and drained
1. MAKE THE MOP Light a grill. In a large bowl, combine all of the mop ingredients and whisk until smooth.

2. PREPARE THE RIBS Season the ribs all over with salt and pepper. Layer two 18-inch sheets of foil on a work surface and set a half rack of ribs in the center; pull the edges of foil up around the ribs. Spoon 3/4 cup of the mop over the rack and seal tightly in the foil. Repeat with the remaining 3 racks. Grill the rib packets over moderate heat, covered, for 45 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the rib packets to a baking sheet and let cool slightly.

3. Meanwhile, transfer the remaining mop to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until reduced to 1 cup, 12 to 15 minutes; let cool completely.

4. Wrap the wood chips in a double layer of foil and poke holes in the top of the packet. Remove the grill grate. Turn the heat off on half of the grill or rake the coals to one side. Set the wood chip packet directly on the flames or on the coals and replace the grill grate. When the chips are smoking, carefully open the rib packets and arrange the racks on the grill over indirect heat. Discard the foil and juices. Cover the grill and smoke the ribs until the meat is very tender, 1 hour. Brush the ribs with the reduced mop, transfer to a platter and serve.

MAKE AHEAD The finished ribs can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.