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Smoked Bison Back Ribs

Ardie A. Davis and Paul Kirk write:

One of our favorite images of the romanticized American West of the nineteenth century is a watercolor by Alfred Jacob Miller depicting six trappers gathered around an evening campfire. One is holding a skewered slab of bison hump ribs, smoking and grilling over the fire and smoke. Miller deemed bison hump ribs to be “that most glorious of all mountain morsels.” Today the bison hump is sold as a boneless roast. Most vendors sell bison short ribs or back ribs, with no references to hump ribs. Channel your inner Old West trapper spirit anyway and prepare these back ribs with this easy basic recipe, which we believe would bring a delighted smile to Alfred Jacob Miller’s face.




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Smoked Bison Back Ribs

Featured Recipe From: America’s Best Ribs

Yield: 4 Servings


  • 1 slab bison back ribs
  • Barbecue sauce, for serving

For the Rub

  • 1 tablespoon lemon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon ground rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon ground thyme


  1. Heat a cooker to 230° to 250ºF. Remove the ribs from the refrigerator and outline them with a sharp, pointed paring knife.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl and blend well. Season the ribs all over with the rub.
  3. Oil the grate and place the ribs on it bone side down over indirect heat. Cover and cook for 1 to 1½ hours. Turn and cook for 45 minutes more, then turn and cook for another 45 minutes, or until pull-apart tender.
  4. Increase the heat to 350º to 400ºF. Glaze the ribs with the sauce and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, being careful not to burn the ribs, then turn and glaze again and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes. Repeat 2 or 3 times, if desired.
  5. Transfer the ribs to a cutting board and let them rest, covered loosely with aluminum foil, for 10 to 15 minutes. Cut the ribs into individual pieces and serve with barbecue sauce.

© 2012 Ardie A. Davis and Paul Kirk

Reprinted with permission from Americas Best Ribs, by Ardie A. Davis and Paul Kirk (Andrews McMeel Publishing)

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