I've got a recipe for ribs that we've really enjoyed. It calls for prepping them (removing the membrane and "docking" between the ribs), covering them with a dry rub, letting them sit for an hour or so, baking them, covered, in a low oven for a couple of hours, then finishing them on the grill, slathering with BBQ sauce while turning them a couple of times. I've varied the dry rub and sauce, depending on the style of ribs I'm in the mood for, and I have to say, I don't think I've ever been disappointed.
But, I'm ready to take my grilling abilities to the next level, and I'd like to cook the ribs, low and slow, totally on the grill. I'll be using a 22" Weber Performer charcoal grill. I also have a "stand-up" rib rack that I've never used. I've pretty much decided to use pork spare ribs rather than baby back ribs. Now I need some advice.
1. What kind of charcoal should I use?
2. Should I buy wood chips for smoking? If so, what kind of wood? How should I use them?
3. How should I build the fire? I'm assuming I want to cook the ribs over indirect heat. How many coals to begin with? How often should I add more coals/smoking chips, and how should I add them?
4. Should I prep the ribs first, the way I've been doing them using my other technique?
5. How hot should the grill be during the cooking time? For how long should I cook the ribs? Do I need to do anything to the ribs during that time? How do I know when they're done?
6. Should I use my stand-up rib rack, or is it better to just lay the racks of ribs flat on the grill?
7. Should I use a drip pan under the ribs? If so, should I put water and/or anything else into it?
8. When and how should I baste them with sauce? Is that done over direct or indirect heat?
9. Finally, does anyone have a to-die-for combination of dry rub and sauce recipes?
I know I'm asking a lot here, but I'm really ready to roll up my sleeves and dive in, and I appreciate any advice our grilling gurus can offer. Thanks!