Firecracker Ribs

At his time of year, Americans flock to backyards with libations, meat, music and friends. They celebrate the birth of their nation culminating with fireworks that symbolizes the cannon fire from the battles fighting for independence.

Here’s a unique recipe that will surely bring as many ooo’s and ahhh’s as the fireworks themselves!


  • 1 slab St. Louis cut spare ribs
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp apple juice
  • your favorite BBQ dry rub
  • your favorite BBQ sauce 
  • 1 0.24-oz packet strawberry-flavored Pop Rocks
  • 1 0.24-oz packet tropical punch-flavored Pop Rocks

What You Do With Them

  • Preheat a charcoal chimney full of charcoal briquets. 
  • Once the charcoal briquets have begun to ash over, add them to a smoker and adjust the vents to bring the temperature to 225°F. 
  • Add 3–4 chunks of your favorite smoking wood to ensure a deep smoky flavor. If using a kettle-style grill, prepare the grill for indirect cooking, placing an aluminum pan filled with water in the center of the grill and placing the heated briquets on either side of the pan. 
  • As the smoker or grill comes to temperature, place ribs meat side down on a cutting board and use a butter knife to separate the membrane from the meat in one corner and pull the membrane off the rack using a dry paper towel.
  • Coat both sides of the rack of ribs with mayonnaise (the mayonnaise works as a binder with no aftertaste and is also high in fat which is good for the ribs). 
  • Season both sides of the rack of ribs with your favorite BBQ dry rub seasoning.
  • Place the rack of ribs on the smoker (or directly above the aluminum pan if using a grill) bone side down, cover and allow it to smoke for approximately 3½ hours until the meat has begun to pull back from the bone. 
  • Remove the rack of ribs from the smoker and lay on a double sheet of tinfoil. 
  • Pour the apple juice over the rack of ribs and seal the foil packet.
  • Place the ribs back on to the smoker or grill for an additional hour until the meat shrinks back from the ends of the bones by 1/4 to 1/2 inch. 
  • Carefully open the foil packet and remove the rack of ribs. 
  • Place the rack of ribs back onto the smoker or grill meat side up. 
  • Cover the smoker or grill and allow the ribs to cook until tender but not falling off the bone, about 20 minutes. When ready, they should bend at a 45° angle when held on one end with a set of tongs.
  • Brush both sides of the ribs with your favorite BBQ sauce, cover the smoker or grill, and allow the sauce to set and become tacky, approximately 3–4 minutes. 
  • Remove the ribs from the smoker and slice. 
  • Dust the tops of the ribs with strawberry-flavored Pop Rocks and tropical punch-flavored Pop Rocks. Serve immediately.



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