Serves 4.

Note: You will need 11/2 cups wood chips or chunks, soaked for 1 hour in water to cover, then drained. From "Barbecue! Bible Best Ribs Ever," by Steven Raichlen.

For the rub and ribs:

• 2 tbsp. maple sugar, turbinado sugar or light brown sugar

• 1 tbsp. dry mustard

• 2 tsp. coarse salt

• 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• 1 tsp. crumbled or powdered dried sage

• 2 racks baby back pork ribs (4 to 5 lb. total)

For the maple glaze:

• 1 c. real maple syrup

• 3 tbsp. ketchup

• 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

• 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

• 1 tbsp. cider vinegar

• 1 tbsp. prepared horseradish

• 1/2 c. maple sugar or turbinado sugar


To make the rub: Place the maple sugar, dry mustard, salt, pepper and sage in a small bowl and mix with your fingers.

To prepare the ribs: Place a rack of ribs meat side down on a baking sheet. Remove the thin, papery membrane from the back of the rack by inserting a slender implement, such as a butter knife, under it. Best place to start is on one of the middle bones. Peel off membrane and repeat with other rack. Sprinkle rub over both sides of ribs, rubbing it onto meat. Cover ribs with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

To make the glaze: Place maple syrup, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, vinegar and horseradish in a nonreactive saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat, whisking to mix. Reduce heat to medium and let glaze simmer gently until thick and syrupy, 3 to 5 minutes, whisking. Set aside.

To cook the ribs: Set up grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium (325 to 350 degrees). Place a large drip pan in center of grill under grate.

Brush and oil grill grate. Place ribs bone side down in center of grate over drip pan and away from heat. If cooking on charcoal and using wood chips, toss half of them on each mound of coals. Cover grill; cook for 45 minutes.

Brush ribs on both sides with some of maple glaze. Re-cover grill and continue cooking ribs until well browned, cooked through and tender, 30 to 45 minutes longer, 11/4 to 11/2 hours in all. When ribs are done, meat will have shrunk back from ends of bones by about 1/4 inch. Brush ribs once or twice more with glaze and replenish coals.

Just before serving, brush ribs once more on both sides with maple glaze and sprinkle both sides with maple sugar. Move ribs directly over fire and grill until glaze is browned and caramelized, 1 to 3 minutes per side.