Ultimate Rib Recipe - Pomegranate Smoke

First thing to know about these ribs is that the recipe is really a combination of three of my favorite rib recipes, which involve three different cooking methods. In my experience, the results have been pretty foolproof, but the execution is definitely not simple. 



These ribs are not intended to be dry rubbed smoked ribs as their final presentation, which is why in the first stage, I only smoke the ribs for about 1-to-1.5hrs. 

  1. Heat up smoker to 250 F using your preferred smoking wood. I like oak or applewood, its more subtle than something like mesquite 
  1. While the smoker is heating, rinse ribs off and trim any excess fat. If you’re going to remove the membrane from the back, nows the time to do it (I always do) 
  1. Dry rub the ribs: Slather a thin layer of dijon mustard over both sides of the racks, just to help the rub stick. Traditional Texas rib rub is just 2 parts black pepper to 1 part coarse salt. I start with that and also add chili powder, brown sugar, cumin, and smoked paprika. You’ll have to adjust your quantities to match the quantity of ribs, I usually like to have extra. 
  1. Smoke dry rubbed ribs at 250 F for 1-to-1.5 hrs. 



The sauce is a direct translation of the sauce in the first recipe above for the “back alley ribs.” Only thing is, I tone the spice waaaaaay down. This is personal preference, but just know, I love spicy food and the sauce as its written in that recipe would burn your fucking lips off. So here’s my toned down version, and you may want to even go a bit farther... 



2 onions

2 jalapeños

4 cloves garlic

1 knob of ginger

4 tablespoons canola oil

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons garlic powder

2 tablespoons onion powder

2 tablespoons mace

1 tablespoon ground clove

2 tablespoons ground coriander

3 tablespoons smoked paprika

1 tablespoon Korean chili flakes

3 pomegranates and

1 bottle of POM pomegranate juice

4 tablespoons molasses 4 tablespoons maple syrup

4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 cups water 

  1. Heat the canola oil in a saucepan over medium heat. 
  2. Chop onions, garlic, jalapeño, and ginger and cook in the oil until golden brown. 
  3. Add the cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, mace, ground clove, ground coriander, smoked paprika, and Korean chili flakes. Toast the spices for about a minute, coating the onion mixture and bringing out the fragrance. Be careful not to burn. 
  1. Add about 3 cups of POM juice, then add the molasses, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1 hour. When cool, blend in a blender until smooth. If sauce is evaporating too fast, add more POM juice or water. 



Take the ribs off of the smoker. Tear a couple of large sheets of extra strength tin foil and lay the ribs on top of them. Slather the racks of ribs with some of your newly made BBQ sauce and drizzle them lightly with some honey or sprinkles of brown sugar. If I have multiple racks, I sometimes stack them two or three high to save tin foil. Wrap the racks tightly with multiple layers of foil to ensure a good seal, make sure none of the bones have poked through. Place the foil pouch on a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 275 F for 2.5-to-3 hrs. 



While ribs are in the oven, make a dukkah, which is just a blended nut crumble. Here is what the back alley rib recipe suggests, but buy any assortment of nuts that you like. I suggest including peanuts and pine nuts. 


Dukkah Ingredients: 

sesame seeds 


fennel seed 

sunflower seeds 

pumpkin seeds 


pine nuts


  1. Toast all the seeds in a dry pan over medium heat. Try not to burn them by keeping them moving. 
  1. Take all the seeds and place in a blender. Blitz on pulse until crumbly. Place in a bowl and set aside. 
  1. Break down the three pomegranates and place the fruit in a bowl, set aside 
  2. Slice cilantro and lime wedges and set aside for serving 



The final touch, this is the last leg. Get a grill ripping hot, either with propane or charcoal. 

Remove the ribs from the tin foil and paint them with sauce. Place on the grill, charring and caramelizing the sauce on both sides. This will go fast so have tongs ready. Flip, sauce, flip, sauce, flip, sauce. Repeat this step a few times on each side to build up some nice layers of charred and caramelized sauce. This is what gives the ribs some grilled texture at the end so that they don't just feel like boiled ribs, so its important. Finally, slice up your ribs on a big platter, paint them with a last layer of sauce, then in front of everyone, sprinkle with the dukkah nut mixture, the fresh pomegranate seeds, and the chopped cilantro, and drizzle with a few lime wedges. “Ooooooooo, ahhhhhhhhhhh” your guests will say. Now eat some ribs dammit, you deserve it.