Smoked Ribs

Smoked Ribs
Smoked Ribs

Tender, juicy, smoky, and richly seasoned. That’s how we envisioned the end result when we set out to bring our 11 tips for terrific smoked ribs to life. We wanted it all: Delicious ribs, smoked to perfection, seasoned with a great Dry Rib Rub and topped off with a succulent Homemade Barbecue Sauce. It sounds like a tall order, maybe, but with the exception of hourly tasks to keep the ribs on track as they smoke, this is a pretty hands-off recipe that results in a stellar dinner that will make you the star of your next summer barbecue.

First, get your dry rub for ribs ready, as well as the mop recipe you’ll use to keep the meat juicy as it cooks. Before you coat the ribs in dry rub, remove two tablespoons of dry rub and put it to the side. You’ll need that to stir into the mop recipe, and you don’t want to use all the rub on the ribs and not enough at the end. Setting yourself up like this is an example of mise en place, the practice of staging everything near you that you need to cook successfully. This is an easy mise en place setup, with just the rub and mop to prep beforehand, but it’s a great habit to form. If you get into the habit of having everything you need at your fingertips it may lead to more fun and greater experimentation in the kitchen.

There are several different types of pork ribs we could have chosen here, but we selected the always-delicious St. Louis style ribs. They're already mostly trimmed so you don’t have to spend too much time prepping the meat, and the uniform size of the ribs means it cooks evenly, so you won’t have to navigate around overcooked ends and undercooked centers. We went with a slightly higher cooking temperature that will get the ribs finished in a bit less time than the low and slow 3 2 1 ribs method, but are happy to report that they still turned out tender and delicious.

At any point while the ribs are smoking, you can mix the barbecue sauce and set that to the side, too. This is a no-cook sauce that you’ll use toward the end of cooking, so prep it when you feel like you have five minutes. Before you serve it you’ll want to warm it a little, but it’s not going to cook.

While the smells emanating from your smoker may fuel a ravenous appetite, it’s important to let the meat rest for 10 minutes before cutting it. Cooking pulls the juices in the meat to the surface, which will run all over your cutting board if you cut the ribs early. Letting ribs rest gives the juices time to redistribute back through the meat, which helps the ribs stay tender, not dry. Coat the finished ribs with a light layer of barbecue sauce, serve more sauce on the side, and dig in! Don’t forget the napkins, and get ready for an avalanche of compliments.

 Print Recipe

Prep Time: 60 min.
Cooking Time: 180 min.
Category: Grilling, Pork
Cuisine: American

The ribs:

​​​​​​​The mop:

  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Dry Rib Rub

1. Pre-mix Smoked Rib Dry Rub and mop recipes, if they are not already made.

2. Remove excess fat and membrane from ribs and cover both sides of ribs completely with Smoked Rib Dry Rub. Allow ribs to come to room temperature for about an hour, as the smoker preheats to 275°F.

3. Smoke ribs with the meat side facing up for 1 hour then brush or spritz some of the mop onto the ribs. Keep the lid on the smoker closed except when mopping.

4. Smoke ribs until the internal temperature reaches 155-160 degrees, roughly another hour. Remove ribs from the smoker, mop again and wrap ribs in aluminum foil. Put wrapped ribs back in the smoker with the meat side facing down. Close the lid and continue to cook for another hour.

5. Remove ribs from the smoker and unwrap them. Apply a light coating of barbecue sauce and put them back in the smoker. Continue smoking until the internal temperature reaches 190-195 degrees.

6. Remove ribs. Let them rest for 10 minutes on a cutting board. Turn them over and slice ribs apart, meat side down.

7. Apply another light coating of barbecue sauce, if desired. Arrange on a platter and serve.