Food Network teaches how to crush, slice and mince garlic. Peel off some of the papery skin from the garlic and then smash the head of garlic with the heel of your hand to loosen the cloves; if you only need a few cloves, leave the head intact and pull some off. Separate the cloves. To peel a clove, cut away the root end with your knife. Lay the flat side of the knife over the clove while holding the knife handle, then with the heel of your free hand carefully whack the knife against the garlic to separate the skin from the clove. To crush the peeled garlic, lay the flat side of the knife over the clove and smash it again. To slice peeled garlic, lay the clove flat on the cutting board and hold it with the fingertips of one hand, keeping them curled under. Using a rocking motion with the knife, make thin slices by moving the knife slowly across the clove. To mince peeled garlic, lay the flat side of a knife over the clove and smash it. Roughly chop the clove then move your free hand flat across the tip of the knife and use a rocking motion to chop the garlic until it’s finely minced.
Combine all the spices in a small bowl. Brush both sides of the racks with oil and rub with the spice mixture. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
In a large pot over low heat, add all the mop ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.
Remove the ribs from the refrigerator 45 minutes before smoking to allow them to come to room temperature. Add the mix of hickory and applewood chips to the smoker according to package instructions. Heat a smoker to 220 degrees F. Put the apple cider in a small heatproof pan in the smoker.
Put the ribs directly on the smoker rack. Smoke for 6 hours, brushing the ribs with the mop every hour for the first 5 hours. During the last hour, brush the ribs with the North Carolina Barbecue Sauce every 10 minutes. Remove the ribs to a serving platter and serve.
For the BBQ Sauce:
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan. Add the onions and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the ketchup and water, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Cool for about 5 minutes.
Carefully transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, then pour into a bowl and allow to cool at room temperature. Sauce will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator, stored in a tightly sealed container.