Toronto’s AFT Bar knows BBQ. Pitmaster Lawrence La Pianta learned the ways of traditional, wood-smoke BBQ during a two-year stint in Texas before bringing his expertise to AFT’s east Toronto kitchen. Try this recipe for La Pianta’s St. Louis Cut Spare Ribs at your next cookout.
BBQ Spice Rub
• 1/2 cup Kosher salt
• 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
• 1/4 cup chipotle powder
• 2 tbsp coarse black pepper
• 2 tbsp onion powder
• 2 tbsp garlic powder
• 2 tbsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
• 1 tbsp dry mustard powder
• 1/2 tbsp cayenne
Mix together all of the above and store in a mason jar for up to three months.
BBQ “Paint” Sauce
• 1 cup preferred BBQ sauce (a fruit-based sauce works best with pork)
• 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
• 1/2 cup honey
Mix together all of the above and warm. (Sauce will be “painted onto ribs in multiple coats during last half hour of cooking.)
1. Purchase four racks of untrimmed side ribs (Chef’s note: side ribs are more like the strip loin of ribs and the baby backs are more like the tenderloin.)
2. Trim the chine bone (the ridge bone) off with a sharp knife, leaving a rectangular slab of ribs.
3. Flip them over and gently separate the membrane from the bone with a spoon.
4. Using a wet paper towel, pinch the membrane and slowly peel it away.
5. Season the ribs by pressing the rub into the meat, up to three hours before cooking.
6. Load the ribs into the smoker bone- side down and leave for two hours. (Because if you’re looking, you ain’t cooking.)
7. Take two sheets of heavy aluminum foil and apply a light layer of sugar and honey.
8. Lay the ribs meat-side down on the foil and wrap tightly to avoid air pockets.
9. Place them back in the smoker for another hour.
10. Remove and give them a toothpick test. The toothpick should slide easily into and out of the meat.
11. Unwrap the ribs from the foil and lay them on a charcoal grill.
12. Apply several layers of the “paint” sauce over 30 minutes.
13. Remove the ribs from the grill and get messy.