The night before you smoke your ribs, you will need to prep them.
First, remove the thin membrane on the rib side. Use a small knife to get underneath the membrane, and pull it with your fingers. Leaving the membrane on will cause your ribs to be tough.
Baste the ribs with yellow mustard. This isn't for flavor, and you won't taste it when the ribs are done. It's to help keep the rub on the ribs.
Apply your favorite rub. There are great store-bought rubs or you can make your own. Then wrap the ribs and place in the refrigerator overnight.
While your getting your smoker ready, take the ribs out of the refrigerator and let them sit until they are room temperature.
I'm using an offset firebox on my smoker. Once the charcoal is ready, place hickory wood blocks off to one side. This will help slow smoke the ribs preventing them from being too smoky and bitter.
You will need to adjust the vents on your smoker or grill until the temp is between 240 and 250 degrees.
Place your ribs on the grill. Notice I have drip pans underneath filled with water. This will help catch any drippings and keep the ribs moist while cooking.
IMPORTANT: Keep the lid of your smoker closed as much as possible! If you're looking, you're not cooking.
Every hour I spray the ribs with a mixture of Sprite, apple juice and water. I use a plant sprayer to make this quick and easy. The sugars in the Sprite & juice help seal in the rib's natural flavor.
After about 4 hours, wrap the ribs in foil with a quarter cup of apple juice. Put them back on the smoker for another hour and a half.
This step is optional. After 5 - 5.5 hours of cooking, wrap the ribs in a towel and place in a cooler. "Steaming" the ribs after smoking is intended to make the ribs more tender.
Remove the ribs from the foil and slice between the bones and add your favorite sauce.