Nothing beats getting the smoker ready and cooking during a beautiful day! This fool proof recipe always delivers tender fall off the bone pork ribs. All that’s needed is a handful of ingredients, smoke and some time. One of the easiest meats to smoke is pork ribs. These ribs are perfect for feeding a crowd, a hungry family, or simply toss on one rack for yourself!

Serve these pork ribs with a side of coleslaw, macaroni salad, or classic Texas Style Potato Salad for a complete Texas style BBQ.

Hand picking up a smoked pork rib dipped in BBQ sauce.

Why these are the BEST Smoked Pork Ribs:

  • The Rub: We are using a slightly sweet rub that pairs perfectly with the pork itself, letting the flavor of the smoke and meat shine in this recipe.
  • Quick and easy: this is a great beginner smoker recipe since it is basically fool proof. The hardest part is pulling the ribs off at the right time to ensure they hold to the bone just enough. But all the information you need to know the right time is included below!
  • Spritzing: thanks to spritzing the ribs during the cooking process we are keeping the meat tender and juicy throughout the cooking process.

Ingredients Needed:

Ingredients laid on the counter to make smoked pork ribs.

Notes about the ingredients:

  • Pork Ribs: there are several cuts of ribs, Baby Back, Spareribs, and St. Louis Style. This recipe uses St. Louis Style. This cut of rib is meatier and typically comes nice and trimmed. This same recipe can be done with other ribs, but cooking time will vary due to a difference in thickness of the meat.
  • Mustard: this is used to help the rub stick to the meat. You won’t taste the mustard, I promise you. Other options would be to rub canola or vegetable oil over the meat before adding the rub.
  • Vinegar: this is used to spritz the ribs to help maintain moisture and build on the bark during the smoking process. Instead of vinegar you could substitute apple cider, or apple juice, just dilute with water and add to a spray bottle.
  • Sweet Rub: I love using my homemade Texas Sweet Rub, but you can use any rub you prefer.
  • Wood Chips: some classic options for pork include: hickory, oak and mesquite. Mix in a sweet wood also with apple, pecan, cherry or maple for more flavoring.

How to Smoke Ribs (Step-By-Step):

Pork ribs being slathered with mustard and a sweet and spicy rub.
  • Preheat Grill: follow instructions for your particular grill or smoker to preheat to 225℉.
  • Prepare Meat: Trim the meat if needed, typically it comes trimmed. 
  • Remove the membrane from the back, simply peel up a corner with your fingers (the skin with a silver shine to it) and using your hands, peel the layer of membrane off the bones. 
  • Binder: place the meat on a large baking sheet, meat side facing up. Brush the mustard over the meat. Then flip the ribs and brush mustard on the back side of the ribs also. 
  • Season: Evenly sprinkle the sweet rub over the back of the ribs, then carefully flip and do the same to the top of the ribs. Press the rub into the mustard to help ensure the rub stays on the meat. 
Brush dipped in BBQ sauce slathering pork ribs in a smoker.
  • Smoke: Place the ribs on the grill so that the meat part is facing up, the bones are on the bottom. Smoke at 225℉ for 2 hours undisturbed. After 2 hours, spritz the ribs with the apple cider vinegar (or diluted apple juice) every 30 minutes for the next hour.
  • Slather: Flip the ribs, so the meat side is down and bone side is up, spritz the ribs, then brush the BBQ sauce on the ribs, close the smoker and let this cook for 15 minutes. Then flip the ribs so that the meat side is up, spritz the ribs again and brush the remaining sauce on the top of the ribs, close the smoker and let this cook another 15 minutes.

Tip: When handling the ribs avoid tongs, since this can damage the crust forming on the ribs

Collage showing ribs on a smoker and then wrapped in foil.
  • Wrap: Remove the ribs from the smoker and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. More information on how to do this is included below in the recipe card.
  • Continue Cooking: Place the ribs back on the smoker (or in an oven at 225℉, at this point we have the smoke flavor, we’re just braising the meat). Continue to cook the ribs at 225℉ for another 2 hours. 
  • Set Sauce: Remove the ribs from the foil and place the ribs back on the grill. Smoke for an additional 30-45 minutes until the ribs are done. (careful opening the foil, there will be a lot of liquid in there. Carefully remove the foil packets to a large baking sheet and open and remove the ribs there, this helps contain the liquid that will spill out).
  • Rest: once done cooking, test for done-ness (information below), remove the ribs from the smoker and place on a clean baking tray. Cover tightly with foil and let the ribs rest for at least 30 minutes before serving. 
Ribs with a darkened red coloring from smoking.

How to Test Done-ness: 

  • Meat will be pulled up, exposing the bones on the end of the ribs. 
  • When you pick up the entire rack of ribs, one hand on each end, you will notice the meat start to crack in the center of the rack. 
  • If you grab a bone and twist it will start to pull away from the meat. 
  • Overcooked ribs will have bones falling out of the meat..we want the meat to still cling to the bone. 
Sliced pork ribs that have been smoked all stacked and ready to serve.

More Texas BBQ Recipes:

Hand picking up a smoked pork rib dipped in BBQ sauce.

Smoked Pork Ribs

Smoked Pork Ribs. Flavorful, and tender, this fool proof recipe is easy to make and always pleases!
5 from 1 vote

Ingredients

  • 2 racks St. Louis Style Pork Ribs, (these are meatier ribs, cut from the belly, usually are nicely trimmed before packing)
  • cup mustard
  • ½ cup Sweet Rub, (homemade recipe makes the exact amount needed for 2 racks of ribs)
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, OR diluted apple juice (for spritzing)
  • cup BBQ Sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat Grill: follow instructions for your particular grill or smoker to preheat to 225℉.
  • Prepare Meat: Trim the meat if needed, typically it comes trimmed. 
  • Remove the membrane from the back, simply peel up a corner with your fingers (the skin with a silver shine to it) and using your hands, peel the layer of membrane off the bones. 
  • Binder: place the meat on a large baking sheet, meat side facing up. Brush the mustard over the meat. Then flip the ribs and brush mustard on the back side of the ribs also. 
  • Season: Evenly sprinkle the sweet rub over the back of the ribs, then carefully flip and do the same to the top of the ribs. Press the rub into the mustard to help ensure the rub stays on the meat. 
  • Smoke: Place the ribs on the grill so that the meat part is facing up, the bones are on the bottom. Smoke at 225℉ for 2 hours undisturbed. After 2 hours, spritz the ribs with the apple cider vinegar (or diluted apple juice) every 30 minutes for the next hour. (3 hours total on the smoker at this point..spritzing twice)
  • Slather: Flip the ribs, so the meat side is down and bone side is up, spritz the ribs, then brush the BBQ sauce on the ribs, close the smoker and let this cook for 15 minutes. Then flip the ribs so that the meat side is up, spritz the ribs again and brush the remaining sauce on the top of the ribs, close the smoker and let this cook another 15 minutes. (When handling the ribs avoid tongs, since this can damage the crust forming on the ribs)
  • Wrap: Remove the ribs from the smoker and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Easiest method is to lay a sheet of foil flat on a large baking sheet, lay the ribs on this, fold the edges in over the ribs, then use another sheet of foil over the top. This helps ensure that the juices stay inside the foil and don’t leak out the bottom. 
  • Continue Cooking: Place the ribs back on the smoker (or in an oven at 225℉, at this point we have the smoke flavor, we’re just braising the meat). Continue to cook the ribs at 225℉ for another 2 hours. 
  • Set Sauce: Remove the ribs from the foil and place the ribs back on the grill. Smoke for an additional 30-45 minutes until the ribs are done. (careful opening the foil, there will be a lot of liquid in there. Carefully remove the foil packets to a large baking sheet and open and remove the ribs there, this helps contain the liquid that will spill out).
  • Rest: once done cooking, test for done-ness (information below), remove the ribs from the smoker and place on a clean baking tray. Cover tightly with foil and let the ribs rest for at least 30 minutes before serving. 

Notes

How Many Ribs to make?
  • Plan for 1 rack of ribs for 2-3 adults.
How to Test Done-ness: 
  • Meat will be pulled up, exposing the bones on the end of the ribs. 
  • When you pick up the entire rack of ribs, one hand on each end, you will notice the meat start to crack in the center of the rack. 
  • If you grab a bone and twist it will start to pull away from the meat. 
  • Overcooked ribs will have bones falling out of the meat..we want the meat to still cling to the bone. 
Best Wood to Use:
  • Use a combination of a classic and a sweeter, fruity wood. Options include: Hickory, Oak, Mesquite, Apple, Cherry, Pecan and Maple. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 906kcal, Carbohydrates: 14g, Protein: 48g, Fat: 72g, Saturated Fat: 23g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 243mg, Sodium: 730mg, Potassium: 834mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 81IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 65mg, Iron: 3mg
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Photography done by @KJandCompany.co