Smoked Beef Ribs
Prep the ribs: Put the ribs meaty-side down on a cutting board. Starting at one end, slide a chef's knife under the membrane that covers the back of the rack and make a cut in the membrane. Loosen the membrane with the knife, then grab it and pull it off. (The ribs will still be covered by a thin membrane-leave this; it holds the ribs together.)
Make the rub: Slit each chile open lengthwise. Shake out the seeds and remove the stems and inner membranes. Tear the chiles into small pieces and grind in a spice or coffee grinder until powdery. Combine the rosemary, garlic and 1/4 cup each ground chiles and salt in a bowl. Mix in the peanut oil.
Marinate the ribs: Rub the back of the rib rack with about one-quarter of the spice mixture. Rub the rest on the meaty side. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or preferably overnight.
Prepare the grill: Stuff newspaper in the bottom of a chimney starter. Put it on the grill grate and fill with equal parts mesquite charcoal briquettes and mesquite wood chunks. Light the newspaper through the holes in the chimney.
The charcoal and wood chunks will ignite. Allow the flames to die down and the coals to ash over.
Remove the grill grate and dump the coals out of the chimney into the bottom of the grill, banking them to one side to create an indirect heat zone on the other side. Replace the grate.
Smoke the ribs: Lay the ribs, meaty side up, on a sheet of heavy-duty foil over the cooler side of the grill (indirect heat). If there's space between your grill grates, use an extra-long piece of foil and let it hang down to the bottom of the grill, alongside the coals (as shown); this will help direct the smoke up toward the meat. Cover the grill and smoke until tender, 1 hour, 30 minutes to 2 hours, 30 minutes, turning every 20 minutes. You'll need to feed the fire about every 45 minutes: Lift the grate and add about a half chimney's worth of unlit briquettes and wood chunks to the hot coals.
Carve the ribs: Transfer the rib rack to a cutting board. Slice into individual ribs and serve immediately.
Photograph by Jody Horton
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