There's nothing quite like fall-off-the bone smoked pork ribs. This recipe is perfect for beginners, follow this easy and detailed step by step recipe. These pork ribs are absolutely juicy, flavorful and the sweet and savory rub gives them a mouth-watering flavor that is guaranteed to be a hit at any BBQ!
🌟 Why this recipe works
Smoking ribs gives them a unique flavor that is unlike any other cooking method. The smoky taste permeates the meat, giving it a rich flavor that is absolutely delicious.
Smoked pork ribs are one of the easiest things you can make on a smoker. They don't require any fancy equipment or techniques, and the process is pretty straightforward.
All you need is a good quality smoker and some patience to let the ribs cook low and slow. The end result is a delicious rack fall off the bone ribs that are juicy, tender, and flavorful.
The rub for these smoking ribs is a perfect balance of sweet and savory. The brown sugar gives the ribs a deep caramelization, while the smoked paprika and black pepper provide a beautiful smokey flavor.
The spices give the ribs an irresistible aroma, and the sticky barbecue sauce that is slathered over them at the end will have everyone at your next BBQ begging for more!
This recipe is not only delicious but also cost-effective. Smoked pork ribs are a great way to feed a large crowd without breaking the bank. Also, check out my braised boneless short ribs slow cooker recipe which tastes fantastic!
🍽 Key ingredients
The smokey flavor from the rub and the smoker gives these baby back ribs a unique taste that is unlike anything you have ever tried before!
Baby back ribs - Use baby back ribs for this recipe. They are smaller and more tender than other types of pork ribs like spare ribs, making them perfect for smoking.
Apple cider - This helps tenderize the ribs and give them a nice sweetness.
Brown sugar - The brown sugar helps caramelize the ribs and gives them a deep, rich flavor.
Salted butter - The butter helps to keep the ribs moist and adds a delicious richness to the flavor.
BBQ sauce - The BBQ sauce gives the ribs a sticky, delicious glaze that is irresistible! Use your favorite BBQ sauce or make this delicious homemade smokey BBQ sauce.
Dry rub for ribs- The smoked paprika gives the ribs a beautiful smoky flavor, while the black pepper and cayenne pepper provides a little bit of heat. The cinnamon and celery salt gives the ribs an excellent depth of flavor, while the garlic powder and onion powder add a touch of savoriness.
If you don't have apple cider, you can use apple juice (use ¼ cup).
🔪 How to smoke ribs
It's easy to make smoked pork ribs! Just follow these simple steps, and you'll be enjoying delicious ribs in no time.
Place the baby's back ribs on a roasting pan and remove the membrane from the back of the ribs with a knife.
Mix the dry rub ingredients in a small bowl.
Slather the pork ribs with mustard to help the dry rub stick to the ribs.
Then rub it liberally over the front and back of the ribs, making sure to coat them thoroughly.
Time to cook ribs!
Prepare your smoker to a temperature of 180-200 degrees Fahrenheit. For this pork ribs I used Traeger hardwood pellets with a blended maple, hickory and cherry perfect for this recipe.
Place the baby back ribs in your smoker and close the lid. Leave the ribs to smoke for 3 hours.
Get ready your basting ingredients: brown sugar, melted butter and apple cider. And combine well in a jar.
After 3 hours of cooking, transfer the ribs to a cleaned surface lined with a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil and pour the mixture over the ribs.
Grab the ends of the foil and tightly crimp the edges together so that it seals. Gently transfer the ribs back to the smoker/grill and increase the temperature to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
Let the ribs cook for a further 2 hours to nicely braise them in the liquid to fall off the bone. Carefully transfer the ribs onto your work surface and gently unwrap the foil (use gloves and keep your face away from rising hot steam).
Remove the bone-tender ribs from the foil and place them back on the grill (bone side down) and brush them with bbq sauce.
Close the lid on the smoker and cook for another hour until the ribs have a beautiful char and sticky coating.
Remove the ribs to a cleaned work surface and cut them into pieces before serving.
💭 Expert tips for smoking ribs
Save the juices
The leftover juices from the ribs in the aluminum foil can be used to make a sauce. Pour the juices into a saucepan with a tablespoon of butter and cornstarch (mixed with water), and cook on low heat until it starts to bubble and thicken.
Don't forget to remove the silver skin!
The silver skin is a thin, white membrane that covers the back of the ribs. It's essential to remove this before cooking to make your ribs softer.
Simply place a butter knife under the silver skin and pull on it to remove it. It should come off relatively quickly.
Buy a rib rack
If you don't have a rib rack on your smoker and you're doubling or tripling the recipe, buying a rib rack will help save space by stacking them on their sides.
💖 Favorite smoker
I'm currently using and love the Pit Boss Pro 1150 pellet grill.
While smokers can be expensive up front, they last years, are inexpensive to operate, and the food tastes divine.
🪵Best wood for smoked pork ribs
Hickory smoked pork ribs is at the top of my list. However, oak, apple, mesquite, cherry, and pecan are great options.
Smoke and flavor-wise, I buy lumberjack, bear mountain, and knotty wood pellets.
If you buy a lot of meat, which I'm guessing you do, Costco has a solid Traeger Gourmet Blend that is well priced. This one I used to make this pork ribs recipe, my juicy and tender smoked beef plate ribs and my tender smoked beef back ribs.
If you want to try something different, you can use various spice rubs, sauces, and even juices to enhance the flavor of your smoked pork ribs.
Use hot sauce
Mix ¼ cup of Franks hot sauce with ¼ cup of BBQ sauce and brush it on the ribs at the end for a deliciously spicy kick!
Use pineapple juice
Substitute the apple cider for pineapple juice for a slightly different flavor. Pineapple juice helps to tenderize the ribs the same way as cider does but with a sweetness you can taste right through the tender meat.
If you love Chinese food, why not add a teaspoon of Chinese 5-spice and ground ginger to the dry rub and remove the paprika, then brush them at the end with Hoisin sauce instead of BBQ sauce. It's sticky, sweet, and delicious.
🥗 What to serve with smoked ribs
There are a few things you could serve with your smoked pork ribs to make a complete meal. Here are some ideas:
Green beans are a classic side dish, and they go great with pork ribs. This recipe for green beans with ham and onion is simple but oh-so flavorful, and it's sure to be a hit with the whole family.
This cauliflower mashed potato recipe is perfect if you're looking for a low-carb alternative to classic mashed potatoes. It's light, creamy, and full of flavor, and it's sure to satisfy even the most voracious appetite.
You can't go wrong with this bright red coleslaw with a nice crunch and slightly tangy flavor.
🙋 Frequently asked questions
How long does it take to smoke ribs?
It takes approximately 4 hours to cook smoked ribs. This includes the time it takes to prepare the ribs, smoke them, and then cook them.
How do I know when the ribs are done?
The best way to tell if the ribs are done is to use a meat thermometer. The internal temperature of the meat should be at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
🧊 Storing and ♨️ reheating
In the off-chance you end up with leftover smoked pork ribs, you can store them in the fridge or freezer to eat another time.
Fridge - Transfer the leftovers to an airtight container and refrigerate them for up to 4 days.
Freezer - Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and freeze them for up to 3 months.
Reheat - To reheat, simply preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake the ribs for 10-15 minutes until they are heated through.
👪 Serving size
This smoked pork ribs recipe makes 8 servings using 2 racks of baby back ribs. Although they are incredibly moreish, and 2 racks usually go pretty quick in my house, doubling or tripling the recipe is always an option.
There's no need to overthink it when it comes to smoking pork ribs. Just follow these simple tips, and you'll be sure to have a delicious rack of ribs that everyone will enjoy. Smoked meat are deliciously flavor and tender like my smoked sirloin tip roast and smoked beef plate ribs.
And, if you're feeling adventurous, don't be afraid to experiment with different spice rubs, sauces, and juices to create your unique flavor. Bon appetit!
Easy Smoked Pork Ribs (The Best Ribs Recipe)
- 2 rack baby back ribs
- 1 cup apple cider - or apple juice
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup homemade barbeque sauce
- 4 tablespoon dry rub for ribs - cover ribs entirely
Prepare the ribs!
- Place the baby's back ribs on a roasting pan and remove the membrane from the back of the ribs with a knife.
- Mix the dry rub ingredients in a small bowl, then rub it liberally over the front and back of the ribs, making sure to coat them thoroughly.
- Prepare your smoker to a temperature of 180-200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Take to cook ribs!
- Place the baby back ribs in your smoker and close the lid. Leave the ribs to smoke for 3 hours.
- Get ready your basting ingredients: brown sugar, melted butter and apple cider. And combine well in a jar.
- After 3 hours of cooking, transfer the ribs to a cleaned surface lined with a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil and pour the mixture over the ribs.
- Grab the ends of the foil and tightly crimp the edges together so that it seals. Gently transfer the ribs back to the smoker/grill and increase the temperature to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Let the ribs cook for a further 2 hours to nicely braise them in the liquid to fall off the bone. Carefully transfer the ribs onto your work surface and gently unwrap the foil (use gloves and keep your face away from rising hot steam).
- Remove the bone-tender ribs from the foil and place them back on the grill (bone side down) and brush them with bbq sauce.
- Close the lid on the smoker and cook for another hour until the ribs have a beautiful char and sticky coating.
- Remove the ribs to a cleaned work surface and cut them into pieces before serving.
Made these smoked ribs over the weekend, and everyone was drooling over the meat. This is the definition of perfectly smoked ribs; tender, juicy, flavorful, and this was the first time I've cooked ribs in my life. I can see myself smoking a lot of RIBS this summer!!!