1. Remove the thin, papery skin from the back of each rack of ribs by pulling it off in a sheet with your fingers, using the corner of a kitchen towel to gain a secure grip, or with pliers. Combine the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl and whisk to mix. Rub two thirds of this mixture over the ribs on both sides, then transfer the ribs to a roasting pan. Cover and let marinate, in the refrigerator, 4 to 8 hours.
2. Set up the grill for indirect grilling, placing a large drip pan in the center. If using a charcoal grill, preheat it to medium.
If using a gas grill, place the wood chips in the smoker box and preheat the grill to high when smoke appears, reduce the heat to medium.
3. When ready to cook, if using charcoal, toss half the wood chips on the coals. Oil the grill grate. Arrange the ribs on the hot grate over the drip pan. Cover the grill and smoke-cook the ribs for 1 hour.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the mop sauce (if using). Mix together the mustard, vinegar, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
5. When the ribs have cooked for an hour, uncover the grill and brush the ribs with the mop sauce (if using). If using a charcoal grill, toss the remaining wood chips on the fire. Continue cooking the ribs until tender and almost done, 1/2 to 1 hour longer for baby back ribs, somewhat longer for spare-ribs. If using charcoal, after 1 hour add 10 to 12 fresh coals per side to the grill. The ribs are done when the meat is very tender and it has shrunk back from the ends of the bones. Fifteen minutes before the end, season the ribs with the remaining rub, sprinkling it on.
6. To serve, cut the racks in half, or for a plate-burying effect, just leave them whole.
Note: I like my ribs served dry, in the style of Memphis’s legendary barbecue haunt, the Rendezvous. If you want to serve them with a sauce.
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