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Smoked Pork Ribs Recipe

Smoked Pork Ribs Recipe

, by Steven Gray, 5 min reading time

This smoked pork ribs recipe will guide you through the steps of creating tender, flavourful ribs that are sure to impress. Follow this recipe for a delicious and mouthwatering meal.

Smoked Pork Ribs Recipe

Next to the revered brisket, pork ribs stand tall on the menu of most barbecue restaurants, offering a smoky, sticky, and sweet delight that's best enjoyed without the need for utensils. When it comes to pork ribs, there are three main cuts to explore: spare ribs, baby back ribs, and the St. Louis cut. Although these cuts vary in shape and length, the fundamental principles for cooking them are quite similar.

Before we delve into this mouth-watering recipe, you can read our guide on how to smoke various meat cuts in a smoker.

Key Tip in Smoking Pork Ribs

The art of achieving delicious pork ribs lies in knowing when to remove them from the grill. The goal is to have the meat pull away from the bone with a touch of resistance, rather than falling off the bone. As pork rib meat is relatively thin, relying on a digital thermometer might not provide the most accurate reading. Instead, you'll need to hone your sense of touch. It takes a bit of practice, but the results are well worth it, not only for ribs but all your low and slow cuts.

How Long to Smoke Pork Ribs

The cooking time for pork ribs can vary depending on factors such as the type of ribs, the temperature of your smoker, and the specific cut. In general, here are some guidelines:

  • Baby Back Ribs: These smaller ribs typically take about 4 to 5 hours to cook at a smoker temperature of 225°F to 250°F (107°C to 121°C).
  • Spare Ribs: Larger spare ribs may require 5 to 6 hours at the same smoker temperature.
  • St. Louis Cut Ribs: These fall between the baby's back and spare ribs in size and often require a similar cooking time to spare ribs.

To Wrap or Not to Wrap

Whether to wrap the ribs and when is a contention among BBQ enthusiasts. In the United States, the 3-2-1 method is popular, which involves cooking the ribs for 3 hours, wrapping them for 2 with sauce, butter, and sugar, then unwrapping and cooking for an additional hour. However, in Australia, where ribs are generally thinner, cooking for 6 hours may overdo them.

An alternative approach, especially for home cooking, is to cook the ribs straight through. Around an hour before removing them from the grill, apply a light basting of a BBQ sauce and honey mixture to allow for a flavourful glaze. The choice between wrapped and unwrapped methods is a matter of personal preference, so feel free to experiment with both to find what works best for you.


  • 2 racks of pork ribs
  • Your favourite pork rub
  • Barbecue Sauce
  • Honey
  • Napkins (a must for enjoying the finger-licking goodness)

Directions for Preparing, Smoking, Seasoning Smoked Pork Ribs

Preparing the Pork Ribs

Begin by carefully removing the silvery membrane from the underside of the ribs. This step is crucial because the membrane won't break during cooking, potentially resulting in a challenging and chewy texture.

Fire Up the Smoker

Prepare your smoker, aiming for a consistent ambient temperature range between 225°F to 250°F (107°C to 121°C). Maintaining this temperature range is essential for achieving the best results.

Seasoning the Pork Ribs

Lightly brush the ribs with either mayonnaise or mustard. This adds a subtle flavour and provides a binding surface for the seasoning. Generously apply your preferred pork rub to ensure the ribs are coated evenly.

Selecting the Wood

If you're using a charcoal smoker, add a couple of chunks of your chosen smoking wood. The wood you select can significantly impact the flavour of the ribs, so choose wisely. Common choices include hickory, apple, or cherry wood, each offering a unique smoky character.

Initial Smoking Phase

Place the seasoned ribs in the smoker and allow them to smoke until a delightful bark forms on the meat's surface. This bark should showcase a dark reddish-brown coloration. The duration of this phase generally ranges from 4 to 6 hours, depending on the type of ribs you're cooking.

Basting the Pork Ribs

About an hour before you remove the ribs from the smoker, it's time to apply a light basting of a BBQ sauce and honey mixture. This step adds a delightful glaze and enhances the flavour of the ribs.

Determining Doneness

Continue cooking the ribs until they reach your preferred level of tenderness. Remember that the cooking time may vary depending on the type of ribs you're preparing. To assess readiness, employ the "bend test." When lifting one end of the rack with tongs, look for a substantial crack on the surface and ensure that the meat pulls away from the bone with a slight resistance. This indicates that your ribs are perfectly done.


Once your smoked pork ribs are ready, serve them to your eagerly awaiting guests. Be sure to have an abundance of napkins on hand to enjoy this finger-licking masterpiece fully.

We are constantly developing new classes and cooking different foods. After all, we want it to be interesting and fun for us as well as you.

Check out our Hot Things BBQ School website to find the best barbecue school class for you.

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