Turn the ribs over onto its back and you will see a thin white covering on the bones all along the rack. Starting at one end, use a small knife to slide right under the membrane and gently pull up, but don’t cut it. The easiest spot to get under the membrane is right on the bone and not on the meat.
Grab the membrane with a paper towel. (Paper towel will give you a nice grip so you can hold onto it as you pull.) Gently but firmly pull the membrane off the entire rib.
You can clean and season the ribs the night before or about an hour before smoking. If you will season the night before, make sure to place them on a metal rimmed tray and cover with plastic wrap air-tight. (Keep in refrigerator if holding them overnight.)(It's good to prepare the ribs the night before if you need to get them on the smoker bright and early the next day. Just take them out of the refrigerator before preparing the smoker.)
Mix all ingredients for the rub together in a bowl. Pat ribs on all sides with a paper towel.
Generously sprinkle the rub in an even layer over both sides of the rib so the meat is not showing. Gently pat and even out the seasoning with your hands. Let ribs sit while preparing the smoker.
Smoking The Ribs:
Set up your smoker and preheat it to 225°. I highly recommend including a water pan or water/drip pan to the smoker. Use a digital oven thermometer to track the temperature on the grill grate. Don’t rely on the thermometer built into the lid of the smoker, they are always at least 20 degrees off.
(If using wood or charcoal smoker, maintain the temperature right around 225° but don't let it get below 225° or over 250°)
When the smoker temperature is at 225°, place ribs on the grate and close the lid.
Smoke ribs for 5-7 hours, depending on their size. (Large, meaty racks could take a little longer and if you stack more than 2 racks in a rib holder, expect to add at least 1 more hour.)
How To Tell When Ribs Are Ready:
Use long metal tongues to gently lift the rib rack off the grate but hold it only about 1/3 -1/2 of the way up the rack. Give it a gentle bounce to see how easily the meat cracks. (See picture in the post.)If it cracks easily and right away, the ribs are ready. If the meat is having a bit of a hard time cracking and feels rubbery when bouncing, the ribs need at least another hour.
If You Want To Add Sauce:
If you plan to add the sauce, glaze ribs with BBQ sauce an hour before they are ready. Remember to keep the lid of the smoker open as little as possible so you don’t let the heat out. This is especially important for wood and charcoal smokers.