I'm enjoying myself at home this long weekend - fencing in a vegetable garden to keep the marauding groundhogs out, hoping the sky clears up enough to use my telescope tonight, and cooking some food in the backyard. And being glad to have the opportunity to do these things - luxuries, all of them - because of the sacrifices made over the last 225 years or so. Happy Memorial Day to my U.S. readers, and I'll see everyone tomorrow!
With my Arkansas/Tennessee background, I don't have to go out for barbecue. Just get started early, and make it yourself. . .
Update: As one person in the comments section put it, "What is this, Tet. Lett.?" So, here's the procedure for this prep:
That's about 7 pounds of ribs, which is all I can hold on that smoker/grill. The key, as far as I'm concerned, is to cook them a long time over rather low heat, with plenty of wood smoke. I use no sauce at all - people from Kansas City, St. Louis, Georgia and other locales will have their own opinions about that, but I'm true to the Memphis "dry rib" tradition.
Accordingly, take the raw ribs and season them with (at a minimum) seasoning salt and ground black pepper. That's what's on the ones in the photo. There are all kinds of dry-rub recipes out there, with paprika, cumin, brown sugar, mustard powder, and who knows what else in them. If you want to try those, you can find proportions for them all over the web, or buy a commercial mix from some Memphis outfit. My advice is to go easy on anything with sugar in it - it'll get too dark, or burn outright during the cooking. That's another reason that I don't sauce things while cooking them - that, and finding most commercial sauces way too sweet and gooey. I've always had a suspicion that barbeque places that make too big a deal out of their sauce must have something to hide where the meat is concerned.
Leave the dry seasoning on the ribs overnight if you can, or at least a couple of hours. Start an indirect fire to cook them over - to the side, if you have a big cooking surface, or at least a foot below the meat if you're doing it in a tubular meat smoker like the one the in the picture. You'll also need some hickory wood chips or chunks - soaking it in water before hand will give you more smoke - but I can't say exactly how much, since different batches give varying amounts of wood smoke.
Cook the ribs over low heat - not quite enough for audible sizzling - for several hours, with frequent addition of fresh hickory wood to the fire. You'll need to add some more charcoal to the fire itself over that long a period, too, naturally, but don't go too wild, or things will get too hot. Four or five hours should about do it, but (since there are so many variables in play here), you'll need to judge for yourself. You can finish them off (carefully) on a hot grill at the end if you wish, which will render out some of the fat.
Sauce - well, that's up to you. If you're the type, then add it in the last hour or so of cooking. I serve mine on the side, and often don't take any, but (as mentioned above) I grew up near Memphis.