Apple-Maple Brined Ribs

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Difficulty: Medium - experience needed


1/2 cup (100 grams) salt
7 cups (1.7 liters) hot water
2 cups (480 milliliters) cider vinegar
1/2 cup (120 milliliters) Splenda
1/2 cup (120 milliliters) sugar-free pancake syrup
1/2 tablespoon cracked black pepper
1/2 slab pork spare ribs, about 4 pounds (2 kilograms)


Dissolve the salt in the hot water, then stir in everything else but the ribs. Put your ribs in something shallow, flat and made of a nonreactive material-you may want to cut your slab into a few pieces to fit it in. Pour the brine over the ribs, making sure they're submerged by at least a little bit. Stash them in the fridge and let them sit for 3-4 hours. Six hours before you want to eat your brined ribs, start your grill for indirect cooking-build a charcoal fire to one side, or light only one burner of your gas grill. Pull your ribs out of the brine and pat them dry. Reserve 1/2 cup of the brine, discard the rest. Rub the surface of the ribs with a little oil. When your fire is ready, put the ribs over the side of the grill not over the fire, and to add soaked wood chips to the fire-apple wood would be especially appropriate, but I've used other chips and gotten good results. Smoke the ribs according to the directions in chapter 1, for a good 6 hours, adding wood chips whenever the smoke dies down. What do you do with that 1/2 cup reserved brine? Mix it with 1/2 cup oil and use it to baste the ribs while they're smoking, every time you add more chips or chunks. You can add other seasonings or a sauce to these if you like, but I like them with just salt and pepper. The brine/mop adds a lovely flavor of its own and makes these ribs wonderfully juicy!

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