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Apple City Baby Back Ribs

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Smoke and Spice

1 1/2 cups apple cider or juice
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 medium onion minced
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 slabs baby back ribs (approx 3 pounds total)

Apple Rib Rub

1/4 cup brown sugar
4 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Apple Rib Mop (optional)

1 1/2 cups apple cider -- or juice
1/2 cup cider vinegar
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Apple City Sauce

1/4 cup butter
1 medium onion -- minced
2 1/2 cups apple juice -- or cider
2 tablespoons dark molasses -- unsulphured
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

The night before you plan to barbecue, combine the soak ingredients in a large lidded jar. Place the slabs or ribs in a plastic bag or shallow dish and pour the marinade over the ribs. Refrigerate them overnight. Prepare the smoker for barbecuing, bringing the temperature to 200 - 220 degrees.

Remove the ribs from the refrigerator and drain them, discarding the marinade. In a bowl, mix together the dry rub ingredients and pat the ribs with about half the mixture. Let the ribs sit at room temperature for 25 to 30 minutes.

If you plan to baste the meat, mix together the cider, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce in a saucepan. Warm over low heat.

Transfer the meat to the smoker. Cook the ribs for approximately 3 hours, turning and basting them with the mop every hour in a wood burning pit, or as appropriate in your style of smoker. About 45 minutes before the ribs are done, brush them with Apple City Sauce and repeat the step shortly before you remove the meat from the smoker.

When the slabs are ready, the meat will bend easily between the ribs, and the sauce will be gooey and sticky and caramelized in spots. Allow the slabs to sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing them into individual ribs. Serve with more sauce on the side.

The Sauce: In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for a couple of minutes, until onion is softened. Mix in the remaining ingredients, reduce the heat to low, and cook the mixture until it reduces by about one-quarter, approximately 30 minutes. Stir frequently. Serve the sauce warm.

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