Smoked Pepper-Cocoa Short Ribs

2 full pork spare ribs, membrane removed
white vinegar
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

dry rub:
1/4 cup hot paprika
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon aleppo pepper
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dehydrated minced onion
2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cocoa
1/2 teaspoon ground lemon peel

Wash the ribs with vinegar. Rub the mustard into both sides of the ribs. Whisk together the dry rub ingredients and rub into the meat. Place the ribs on both racks of your smoker. Place two chimmneys’ worth of unlit coals in the coal ring. Add 3 chunks mesquite then add one chimney worth of lit coals on top. Place 3 additional chunks of mesquite on top of the lit coals. Reassemble the smoker. Fill the water bowl with warm water. Smoke for 5 hours keeping the temperature between 225-275. The meat should be falling off the bone when finished.

My thoughts:

This was the first thing we made in our new smoker. I was amazed at how easy was to smoke ribs! It was a cool day and the temperature stayed perfectly steady the entire time using this method. When the ribs were ready, just picking them up out of the smoker made the meat fall off. I swear, they were tastier than the ribs we’ve had at most barbecue joints. Moist and with a wonderful flavor from the dry rub. We are going be making this again and again.

I know some of you are thinking that a smoker is a bit of an investment and it is but if you like smoked meats and/or are currently smoking them on your grill, it is worth it. Once it is prepped, you just ignore the food until it is ready to eat. So much easier than grilling when I’d be prepping side dishes in the kitchen and running out to check on the grill all the time.


  1. Cooked this with mac and cheese for some guests. Really , really great stuff. And one of the easier (less time consuming) meats to smoke.

  2. I made Ribs in my smoker a couple of weeks ago also. I find the keys to getting the best results out of my smoker are:1. A Great Dry Rub and 2. Cooler Weather(I've always gotten a nice slower cooking in the fall than in the summer when I have to fight to keep the temperature down).