Ribs 101: Four methods for cooking | Food and cooking

3 racks baby back ribs or 2 racks spareribs

1 cup wood chips, for smoking

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Chipotle barbecue sauce or your favorite barbecue sauce, optional

1. Remove membranes from bone-side of ribs by slipping a thin, sharp knife between meat and membrane. Pull up on membrane with the knife until you can grip it with your thumb (use a towel or a paper towel for a better grip). Lift membrane off meat, and discard.

2. Coat both sides of ribs with spice rub and rub into the meat. Refrigerate 4 to 8 hours or let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Do not keep out of the refrigerator for more than 1 hour.

3. Meanwhile, soak wood chips in water for at least 20 minutes if small or 1 hour if larger chunks. Wrap wet chips in aluminum foil and cut 4 slits in top of package.

4. Prepare a grill for indirect heat.

5. Light the grill and use dials or vents to keep the temperature very low, 250 to 275 degrees. Try not to go above 300 degrees. Place wood-chip package in center of coals or directly on top of gas flame. Place the ribs, bone-side down, on the grate and close the cover. If using charcoal, you will have to add additional coals every hour.

6. Mix together the apple juice and cider vinegar. After 1 hour of cooking, brush this mixture sparingly over the ribs. Cover and continue cooking. Every 30 minutes, brush more of the liquid sparingly over the top of the ribs.

7. Baby back ribs will be done in about 4 hours; spareribs will take longer. About 20 to 30 minutes before they are done, brush ribs with barbecue sauce, if desired. The ribs are done when the meat is tender, has pulled away from the bone by about ¾ inch and its internal temperature is 195 degrees.

Per serving: 600 calories; 39g fat; 15g saturated fat; 156mg cholesterol; 44g protein; 17g carbohydrate; 12g sugar; 2g fiber; 1,578mg sodium; 102mg calcium

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