St. Louis Spare Ribs – Aaron Franklin Style

smoked st louis spare ribs aaron franklin
smoked st louis spare ribs aaron franklin

I recently picked up a copy of Aaron Franklin’s new and only BBQ book – Franklin Barbecue a Meat Smoking Manifesto.   I had been looking forward to reading this, as he is a BBQ legend at this point.  I was looking forward to learning his deep dark BBQ secrets to take my weekend smoke sessions to new heights.  After reading his book, I would say it is worth the purchase for a good lesson on Texas BBQ.  We northerners like to complicate BBQ by adding all sorts of things to rubs and sauces.  Aaron sticks to the basics and extreme attention to detail and after applying some of his methods to a rack of St. Louis Spare Ribs this last weekend, I think I am a big big fan of his approach.

First, a lot of his methods are nothing new.  What is new to me is only using two seasoning for a rub, and this is Salt and Pepper.  Nothing else.  No garlic powder, cumin, sugar, or chili powder!  I was a big skeptic.  I am a believer now.  The salt and pepper makes a delicious bark on the meat and I did not find myself looking for more sugar or spices when wolfing down these ribs.  My wife was a big fan as well.

Basic Steps for Aaron Franklin's Ribs

  1. Heat your smoker to 275 F
  2. Trim any excess fat off your ribs.  Do not remove any membranes on the back of the ribs.
  3. Season with 2 Parts Coarse Grind Pepper and 1 Part Coarse Sea Salt.
  4. Smoke for 3 hours – spritzing with a mixture of 25% Apple Cider Vinegar and 75% Water every 45 minutes
  5. Coat with BBQ Sauce and Wrap ribs meat side down.  Choose your favorite BBQ sauce.  Because the ribs have quite a bit of salt and pepper on them, I think a sweet sauce pairs the best. Smoke for 2 Hours.
  6. Rest for 20-30 minutes in foil, cut and serve.  Try this.  You will like it…. a lot.  For only having salt and pepper on them for a rub… these blew my mind.

Want more Amazing BBQ Rubs to experiment with, to take your Backyard BBQ to the Next Level?  Download my favorite Everyday BBQ Rub Recipes below…. 

Download my Free Everyday BBQ Rub Recipe E-book

smoked st louis spare ribs aaron franklin
St. Louis Style Ribs season only with Salt and Pepper
smoked st louis spare ribs aaron franklin
Ribs on the smoker before wrapping in foil with some bbq sauce
smoked st louis spare ribs aaron franklin
St. Louis Ribs coated in sauce ready for wrapping
smoked st louis spare ribs aaron franklin
Ribs being wrapped in foil
smoked st louis spare ribs aaron franklin
Sweet sweet perfection... these ribs were amazing after being pulled out of the foil
smoked st louis spare ribs aaron franklin
smoked st louis spare ribs aaron franklin
4 from 3 votes
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St. Louis Spare Ribs - Aaron Franklin Style

This simple take on spare ribs will blow your mind with flavor
Course Dinner
Cuisine Barbecue
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 30 minutes
Servings 4
Author Aaron Franklin

Ingredients

  • 2 Racks of St. Louis cut Pork Spare Ribs find the freshest you can find... it matters!

Rub

  • 4 T Coarse Grind Pepper - a step below cracked pepper - this part is key
  • 2 T Coarse Sea Salt

Spritz for Ribs

  • 1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3/4 Cup Water

Instructions

  1. Heat your smoker to 275 F
  2. Trim any excess fat off your ribs. Do not remove any membranes on the back of the ribs.
  3. Mix the rub and shake it on the ribs on both sides evenly until you have a nice texture forming. See pictures. 

  4. Smoke for 3 hours - spritzing with a mixture of 25% Apple Cider Vinegar and 75% Water every 45 minutes
  5. Coat with a few tablespoons of BBQ Sauce on each side and Wrap the ribs meat side down. Choose your favorite BBQ sauce. Because the ribs have quite a bit of salt and pepper on them, I think a sweet sauce pairs the best. Smoke for 2 Hours.
  6. Rest for 20-30 minutes in foil, cut and serve. Try this. You will like it.... a lot. For only having salt and pepper on them for a rub... these blew my mind.

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21 thoughts on “St. Louis Spare Ribs – Aaron Franklin Style

  1. You say “wrap” but wrap in what? Foil or paper

    1. For the ribs I have always used foil to wrap them. I think it would be worth trying the butcher paper though. Let me know if you try the paper and how it works for you. You just never know what will be the trick until you try it.

  2. Aaron Franklin prefers wrapping everything in butcher paper.

    1. If you buy his book, he uses both butcher and foil. He prefers foil for his ribs, but I would like to try the butcher paper sometime.

  3. Quick note: he only wraps brisket and beef ribs (just for the rest) in butcher paper. Everything else is foil. Also, he adds garlic and onion powder and Hingarian (sweet) to his rib rub. It’s not just salt and pepper.

    1. Yeah, I think there are some conflicting sources out there? I have heard a lot of different methods. For this post, I am directly referring to what he teaches in his book. Many ways to get it done, that’s for sure.

      1. In his book, he lists a number of additional options and uses these for private BBQs with friends/family. Makes sense as spices are expensive and could hurt his profits. I like a little chili, garlic, and paprika.

  4. What kind of wood?

    1. I prefer a mix of Oak & Fruit wood – either cherry or apple. Aaron Franklin uses all Oak for his smoking.

  5. Really?? Leave the membrane on? Also known as the flavor blocker. Everyone has there own style but I feel this is bad information.

    1. That is the way Aaron Franklin rolls. I actually do not mind leaving the membrane on. I feel it helps keep moisture in the ribs. Obviously, you can choose your own path there.

      1. Aaron Franklin cooks 60 racks a day. No time for his crew to remove membrane from all 60.

      2. on his PBS show he removes the membrane and does add the garlic, onion powder, chili and paprika

        1. Yeah, the book is just in reference to his restaurant operations… I think he is like all of us BBQ lovers and changes it up here and there

      3. Keegan, I so agree! I own a small town BBQ joint in Northern Az…We also, as Aaron, leave the membrane on…you are correct…keeps the moisture in…meat is exposed, rubbed and smoked…
        ZERO issues with “blocking the flavor”
        Our customer love our ribs…we sell out every time! 30 racks….in 2 hours!

  6. 5 stars
    Suggestions for baby backs please?
    Thanks

    1. If you are using this method, I would suggest less time in the foil. Really just depends on how meaty your ribs are. You can up the cooking time for larger cuts or back it off for smaller cuts. Usually less time for baby backs, but really depends how big they are. If you have a more specific question, let me know…

  7. 5 stars
    Incredible recipe! Best spareribs I’ve ever had! Can’t wait to follow more of Aaron’s recipes!!

  8. Wrapped in foil! Great recipe! Nearly bulletproof! Thanks Aaron!

  9. 2 stars
    Unsure what went wrong, but these ended up being extremely overcooked. I followed the recipe exactly and know my smoker is true to temperature. The flavor was good, though.

    1. Only thoughts would be… were the ribs thick and meaty? Then, different smokers definitely perform differently even at “set temperatures”. If you were do do it again, I would cut the time in foil in half and see if that does a better job for you. – Keegan

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Contact Keegan

Hi, my name is Keegan Lare. I love to create delicious grilled and smoked food, bursting with bold flavors. I also love to see my friends and family try something tasty and new. It is in this spirit that I created Seared & Smoked. Leave me a message and i’ll get back to you as soon as I can.