Today's lesson was the St Louis style ribs we like to enjoy on New Year's Day and my youngest, Jake, was my pupil for the day. He has already mastered the barnyard fowl and is ready for his first run at ribs. As always, we started with the basics on time/temp and I added the 3-2-1 method and how that works to break down the connective tissue and make for a 'fall off the bone' rib dinner versus the straight 3-4 hour trek that will end with us at 170* and some 'pull' to the ribs. I allowed him to choose the method we would use (in this case the 3-2-1) and then began to walk him through the prep. The night before we took two packs of St Louis style spare ribs and trimmed them of any and all excess fat as well as the flap/skirt and the pleura (membrane) from the backside. I explained to him how using paper towels adds to the grip when pulling that stuff off and he was amazed at that tid-bit of info! We moved on to me giving him the recipe for my basic rub (salt, sugar, brown sugar, fresh cracked pepper, chili powder, paprika, dry mustard, onion and garlic powders, cumin) and, naturally, he wanted to know amounts for each. I told him that the best way to do it was to go by taste and add what he liked or skipped what he disliked. Lucky for me he liked it the way it was and created a pretty tasty batch himself! With all that accomplised he got the two slabs split in half and then the four pieces rubbed and wrapped for a night cooling in the chill chest. Trimmed Ready for plastic wrap The next day at about 11 am we fired up the Masterbuilt as the snow started to fall. Oh boy, here we go! Went and grabbed a piece of plywood I had stashed in the garage to act as a wind block to try and keep the temps in the smoker up as the mercury dropped to the teens! I was worried about the ambient air temperature affect on the smoker but was happy when I had to turn the gas down as we reached and then passed the 225* mark and soared to 275*! Not bad despite the temp being right around 18*! Three and a half hours over a couple of mesquite chunks and the ribs were ready to be foiled with some apple juice and E&J VS brandy. After the two hour portion of the job we pulled the ribs out of the foil and placed them back in the smoker to firm up a bit. As you can see, we were already at the point of them falling off the bones, just the way he wanted them! The camera in my phone is pretty good but it is hard to see anything but pink in these pictures but the ring was there! My wife is not a rib eater and never has been claiming they're too messy and fatty. With the way her dad (sorry, Ray) always does them I can understand her feelings. When these things hit the table she asked for a taste since there was no sauce/glaze on them (on the side). She ate three full ribs worth and asked when we were planning on doing them again! At just under $5 per slab from SAFB Commissary I told her that she could expect them once every 2-3 weeks and she was quite happy with that! We all ate well and Grace was all too happy to take care of any leftovers and bones we were willing to hand down her way! Jake, my prize pupil got an A+ since his mother is now a card carrying member of the rib eating society!