Smoked ribs are one of the food industry’s greatest treasures, and they’re even better when they are smoked wild boar ribs.
I wanted to create something different here though. Instead of the common multiple cups of sugar rubs, I wanted to make these boar ribs without sugar.
The finished product is robustly flavored wild boar ribs.
Preparing Wild Boar Ribs
For most people, you can’t simply walk into a store and pick up some nice trimmed wild boar ribs.
So first you have to prepare the ribs for smoking.
If you said yes to either of these you will be left with less rib bone. If you said no to both of these you can remove the loin and all of the rib bones can be cut out in one piece.
Once the ribs are removed you can cut them up into smaller sections. Wild boar ribs are not as thick as pork or beef ribs and have much less meat.
Knowing this, feel free to not worry about the rib style and cut them any way you see fit, let’s call them spare ribs.
Once the ribs are cut to your desired size, there is one more step.
All ribs whether it’s venison ribs, pork ribs, or in this instance wild boar ribs have a membrane on the inside.
If left on this membrane will render the ribs unpalatable. This membrane does not break down with cooking, and definitely not in the smoker.
You need to remove the membrane.
To do so, take a butcher knife and slide it under the membrane at one corner.
Once the corner has been cut, grab it and slowly and steadily pull the membrane back towards you.
If it breaks, don’t worry, just make another flap and finish removing it.
Wild Boar Ribs Dry Rub
With the membrane removed it’s time to season the ribs.
As I mentioned at the start of this post I wanted something without sugar.
My goal with these ribs was to make something that elevates the smoke and stands out.
Everybody and their grandmother has a rub with at least a cup of sugar, but I feel that would overpower the ribs.
If you want smoked wild boar with a sugar rub, check out the smoked shank recipe, it’s a much better fit for sugar.
But for these ribs we wanted rustic, and to taste the hog, after all, it’s one of the best cuts of a boar.
The rub consists of:
- Garlic powder
- Paprika (Sweet, replaces sugar)
- Ancho chili flakes (Sweet, replaces sugar)
- Cumin seeds
- Mustard seeds
- Coriander seeds
- Onion powder
- Black pepper
These ingredients together make a slightly spicy rub with a hint of sweetness, but all of them inherit the smokey flavor quite well.
I use no binder for smoking wild boar ribs, instead, I let the natural juices of the boar do the work for me.
Once the rub is ground to a powder sprinkle it over the ribs and press it in.
Allow the ribs to rest on the chopping block while you go and fire up the smoker.
By the time the smoker comes to temperature, the rub will have worked its way into the ribs.
Alternatively, you could wrap the ribs in film and place them in the fridge to smoke the next day.
There is no real difference in flavor by waiting, but it’s nice to have them ready to toss on the grill.
Smoking Wild Boar Ribs
Once the rub is applied, you can start getting the grill ready. I use only charcoal grills so my instructions will apply to setting these up.
You can choose between lump and briquettes. The briquettes work better for low and slow cooks like you will be doing for these ribs.
I use a grate to keep the coal to one side, but you can also use the snake method or a slow-n-sear.
The cook will not be as long as pork or beef ribs, but temperatures will be a little lower.
Choosing the wood
Once the coals are fired up, you will need 1 or 2 pieces of your favorite wood.
Making these ones, I used a piece of oak and a piece of hickory.
This is slightly on the stronger side.
I think a solid option would be apple or cherry, or maybe either of those mixed with oak.
I use similar woods for smoking venison as I do wild boar.
As I mentioned earlier, hog ribs are thinner and have less meat than pork and beef ribs, they also have less fat, or at least less palatable fat.
Knowing this you need to smoke these ribs at a lower temperature.
Typically for ribs, you would smoke them somewhere around 200-225, but this temperature would overcook wild boar ribs.
I like to keep the temperature below 200F and above 180F for the first two stages, but run it between 200-225F for the last stage.
I pull the ribs around 190-200F internal temperature.
You also need to keep in mind that there are two ways of measuring the smoker’s temperature.
I smoked these ribs on a Weber Kettle Grill, which has a thermometer installed.
The other way of checking the temperature is using a wireless thermometer.
I used an Inkbird thermometer from Amazon, which has a probe for measuring grill temperature.
What I found is that I run the grill around 199F on the Weber thermometer, but lower and close to the meat it’s actually around 180-185F.
You want to smoke the ribs for around 2 hours to get the smokey flavor. But after this to get the ribs super tender you will need to wrap them.
You can do “no wrap ribs”, but they will not be as tender, and will take longer to cook.
After smoking for two hours, remove the ribs from the grill. Take a sheet of foil and place some butter and maple syrup on it.
Lay the meaty side of the ribs down and wrap tightly. Return the ribs to the smoker and cook for another hour.
Cooking the ribs in the foil made them nice and tender but you will now need to “finish the ribs”.
To finish the ribs, you will need to take the ribs out of the foil, be careful not to burn yourself, brush on the BBQ sauce all over, and set them back in the smoker for an hour.
The sauce will become tacky after an hour. Remove the ribs and allow them to rest for 15 minutes before slicing.
Serving Wild Boar Ribs
After an hour in the smoker, the ribs should be finished and fall apart tender.
I like to slice them into singles to serve, it’s much less messy, especially if using BBQ sauce.
I served these ribs with smoked corn on the cob and a side of smoked mac and cheese.
Wild boar ribs are naturally slightly sweet but also have a robust woodsy flavor from the meat.
Keep this in mind when choosing your sides to serve with them.
You could always serve them with a side of more ribs.
Smoked Wild Boar Ribs
- 2 racks wild hog ribs
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp ancho chili flakes
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp mustard seed
- 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp onion
- 1/2 tbsp whole black pepper
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 tsp Worcestshire sauce
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika powder
- 1 tbsp molasses
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp bourbon
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper optional
- 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 6 tbsp butter unsalted
- 4 tbsp maple syrup
- Trim the ribs well and remove the membrane from the back by using a knife to cut underneath it at a corner. Grab the membrane with some paper towel and evenly pull back.
- Grind the spices with a pestle and mortar and spread evenly across the ribs. Allow to rest on chopping board
- Fire up your smoker to 180-200F and use your favorite wood
- Place ribs in grill and smoke for 2 hours, sprit
- Remove the ribs from the smoker and place in aluminum foil. Divide the maple syrup and butter between the ribs and wrap tightly
- Place the ribs back in the smoker for 1.5 - 2 hours
- Remove the ribs once again and carefully unwrap them. Cover the ribs with the BBQ sauce and place back in the smoker. Increase the smoker temperature to 200-225F and smoke for another hour.
- Remove ribs (should be around 190-200F) and rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving
- Head the apple cider vinegar in a small saucepan over low heat
- Add the molasses and stir until it dissolves
- Grind all seeds to a powder and add to saucepan along with the other powders. Stir and simmer for 15 minutes or until it reaches your desired consistency