Family Meal

by Chef David Ferguson




Filtering by Tag: low and slow

Six Hour Ribs

Prep Time: 20 min  Cook Time:  Approx. 6 hours   Serves:  5-6

Nothing and I mean nothing is more satisfying than biting into perfectly cooked ribs you smoked yourself.  The time and effort required is matched every bit by the tender and flavorful meat, the caramelized bark, and the ever elusive smoke ring marking your good work.  This recipe is less daunting than the name eludes, requiring mostly that you just monitor the temperature and occasionally give the ribs a little love. If you happen to place your smoker next to a pool, as I have done here, then so much the better.

They are worth the me.

They are worth the me.

 I created a makeshift smoker here that worked alarmingly well out of a classic Weber charcoal grill.  The configuration can be seen here, but if you have your own trusted method feel free to deploy it in place of my technique. The key elements remain the same; gentle heat, long cooking time, and a source of humidity. 

Low and slow is the key to any successful barbecue. The swirling smoke, low temperature and slow cooking time allow for the muscle and connected tissue to break down from the gentle heat and yield that classic barbecue texture and robust smoky flavor.  Adding a source of humidity, such as a pan of simmering water, ensures the environment doesn’t become too arid and end up pulling moisture from the ribs.

Another point of note is to soak your desired wood chips for at least a half hour before hand to make them last longer and give off a more flavorful smoke.  Happy smoking!



  • 2 large racks pork ribs


  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 4 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce 
  • 2 tbs spicy brown mustard
  • 3 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Wet Rub

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup paprika
  • 3 tbs kosher salt
  • 3 tbs black pepper
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 1 tbs cayenne 
  • 1 tbs thyme (picked & chopped)
  • 1 tbs oregano (chopped)
  • 1/2 tbs crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tbs chili powder
  • 1/2 tbs garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup beer 
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar 


A proper smoke ring is a tell-tale sign of properly done barbecue 

A proper smoke ring is a tell-tale sign of properly done barbecue 

Mix all ingredients for the wet rub in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.  place your ribs meat side down on a cutting board and using a pairing knife or a small chef's knife score along the back of each rib to loosen the membrane.  Clean the membrane off the back as much as you can.  Line a sheet tray with a large piece of plastic wrap and place the ribs on top of the plastic.  Apply the wet rub liberally to both sides of the ribs and then wrap in the plastic wrap.  Place in the fridge for an hour or up to a day.  The longer the rub is allowed to sit on the ribs, the greater flavor it will impart and the more it will assist in the cooking process.

For the sauce, add the bourbon to a medium sized pot over med-high heat.  Once the bourbon starts to simmer, remove from heat and ignite using a long match or lighter to burn off the alcohol.  return the pot to the heat and allow the flames to die down.  It's important to always have a lid close by to cover the pot and smother the flame should the fire ever start to get out of control. 

When the flames die down reduce the heat to med-low and reduce the bourbon by half.  Add the remaining components and whisk to combine, reducing the heat to low.  Allow sauce to simmer until it coats a spoon, then remove from heat and allow it to cool.  

Once your ribs have sat and your sauce is prepared, light and configure your smoker.  The ideal temperature to keep these ribs at is 225, so once you are dialed in at that heat place the ribs meat side down on the grate and close the lid.  Continue to monitor the temperature, adjusting vents and adding coals and wood chips as needed to ensure the environment stays stable and consistent.  Half-way through the cooking time, flip the ribs over and coat them with the sauce.  Continue to add a coat of sauce to the ribs every 20 mins.  The ribs are done when the meat begins to pull away from the tips and the meat pulls apart in your fingers.  Allow the ribs to sit for 10-15 mins before cutting and serving.