OK, here goes. This is a variation on an article in Fine Cooking some years ago. Read it here:
What you are doing is referred to as Memphis Style, which means a dry rub and sauce served as a condiment after the ribs come off the grill.
First, baby back ribs are best. They have just the right amount of fat.
Next, remove the membrane on the back of the ribs by sliding a knife underneath and use the BACK of the knife to separate the membrane then strip it off like peeling a label. Start at the skinny end of the rack. This will go badly the first time you try it, but eventually you'll figure it out.
The Rub: No magic here, you're basically making BBQ sauce on the meat using sugar fat and spices. If you just had the first 2 ingredients it would still make tasty ribs, so feel free to individualize/adjust after that. Also note that I don't measure anything when I cook, I just proportion from greatest to least so these are approximate.
For 1-2 racks
1/4c Paprika (the regular sweet paprika)
1/4c Brown Sugar
1T Chili Powder
1t Granulated Garlic
1t Celery Seed My special ingredient as I think this flavor goes particularly well with ribs
cayenne to taste unless Ray or Darla are there
Stir the rub with a fork to get all the lumps out of the brown sugar then sprinkle over the meat liberally on the meat side and pat down. Sprinkle lightly on the back.
A word about salt...
I don't use salt in my rubs as people's taste and tolerance vary widely. I do give a nice grind of coarse sea salt over the ribs after they're done cooking.
It's low and slow meaning 2-4Hrs at 250-275 degrees. Pork won't get fall off the bone tender until it hits about 190.
You can do this in a BBQ or a smoker or in the oven. I think the best ribs are on a rotisserie because they self baste as the fat is rendered. A pan of water in any of these prevents overheating and drying out.
Where there's smoke...
... there's flavor. This is where the oven loses out. A handful of soaked chips on your q gives a taste that makes all the difference. Oak, Hickory, Mesquite are my first choice for ribs. Apple also works well.
love and bacon,