How to Make Smoked Pork Ribs in the Smoker

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smoked ribs with barbecue sauce

If you’ve ever tasted perfectly smoked pork ribs, you know they are divinely delicious. Almost addictive. Drive-across-town-to-get kind of yummy.

But guess what? You don’t have to drive across town. Because… they are incredibly easy to make at home. 

It’s as simple as the right equipment, a dose of patience, and some simple pantry ingredients.

The reward? Other than fantastically tender, out-of-this-world delicious ribs — is the aroma they create while smoking. Simply… heaven. It brings to mind summers past. And if you’re tailgating? Everyone will want to come to your party.

Below is everything you need to know about How to Make Smoked Pork Ribs in the Smoker. From the smoker to the dry rub to the wood chunks and even the barbecue sauce. It’s all here.

Let’s start with the equipment. My brother is the master smoker in our family. These are the electric smokers he uses. And believe me… they are worth every penny. 

Digital Electric Smoker

Electric Smoker at Amazon

Electric Smoker at Dick’s Sporting Goods

Dry Rub:

Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. Then apply a dry rub to the uncooked ribs.

Our best options for dry rub:

> Make an easy homemade rub.
> Store bought favorite: Back Yard Southern Style Rub on Amazon.

Rub the spice mixture into the baby back ribs on all sides. Wrap the ribs well with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking.

dry rub on pork ribs

Smoking the Ribs:

Prepare the smoker.

To the drip pan add:

> 1 cup apple cider vinegar
> 3 cups water

Wood chunks:

We love to use hickory wood chunks for these smoked ribs. However, mesquite and apple wood are delicious too.

If you don’t have a drip pan, soak the wood chips for 30 minutes to 1 hour to add liquid to the smoker.

How to Make Smoked Pork Ribs:

1. Combine the ingredients for a dry rub or buy your favorite store-bought brand. Rub the spice mixture over 2 racks of pork ribs and refrigerate a couple of hours to overnight.

2. Then, preheat the smoker to 250 degrees and close the vent halfway so that the smoker will burn a little cooler. If your smoker has a drip pan, add the liquid and/or soak the wood chunks for at least an hour. Prepare a small spray bottle with a spritzing liquid.

3. Spritz the marinated ribs with the spritzing spray. Then add the ribs to the smoker and smoke for 2 hours. Remove the ribs and wrap in heavy-duty foil, meat side down. Return the ribs to the smoker and cook for 1 more hour.

4. Meanwhile, make an easy barbecue sauce, or prepare your favorite store bought brand.

A 10-Minute Simple Barbecue Sauce That’s Sweet and a Tad Spicy

5. When the foil wrapped ribs have finished cooking, unwrap and remove the foil; return to the smoker and cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes.

foil wrapped pork ribs

Serving the Smoked Pork Ribs

There is only one final step left in making these incredible smoked pork ribs. Serving and eating. Simply brush the ribs with barbecue sauce and serve additional on the side. Cut or pull into sections of two to three ribs each.

That’s only if the people around you can wait that long. In our house — they don’t last long enough to plate and serve.

serving smoked pork ribs

Tender and juicy… and mouth-wateringly delicious.

splitting ribs into sections

I wish you could taste them — and smell them. It’s incredible — and I promise, they don’t last long. Especially when my son, Brent, wanders through the kitchen. Good thing I had more…

dipping ribs into barbecue sauce 

Here’s how to make your own smoked ribs at home… or wherever you find yourself, be it camping, tailgating or picnicking. Or simply hanging out with those you love most.

Cut Ribs with Barbecue Sauce

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How to Make Smoked Pork Ribs in the Smoker

smoked ribs with barbecue sauce

These are the drive-across-town-to-get, almost addictive, divinely delicious smoked pork ribs we adore. But guess what? You don’t have to drive across town. Because… they are incredibly easy to make at home. And here’s how:

  • Author: Stephanie Wilson
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 1/2 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Smoked
Scale

Ingredients

2 racks baby back ribs (about 3 pounds each)

Dry Rub Ingredients if Making Your Own

2 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 cup apple juice
black pepper to taste

Drip Pan Liquid (if using)

1 cup apple cider vinegar
3 cups water

Spritzing Liquid

3/4 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Barbecue Sauce

favorite store-bought bbq sauce or
Easy Homemade Barbesauce Sauce

Instructions

Prepare the ribs. Combine the dry rub ingredients or use a favorite store-bought brand. Rub the ribs all over with the spice mixture and cover with plastic wrap or place in a large resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Meanwhile, if not using a drip pan, soak the wood chips in water for an hour, then prepare your grill for smoking. Fill the smoker box with wood chips or chunks. Then combine the spritzing liquid in a small spray bottle and shake to mix. Finally, preheat the smoker to 250 degrees and close the vent halfway to smoke a little cooler.

Remove the marinating ribs from the refrigerator, lightly spray with spritzing liquid, and place the ribs meat side up in the preheated smoker. Close the smoker and smoke for 2 hours.

Remove the ribs from the smoker and wrap in a heavy-duty foil, meat side down. Return to the smoker and cook for 1 more hour. Meanwhile, prepare barbecue sauce and set aside.

When the foil wrapped ribs have finished cooking, unwrap and remove the foil; return to the smoker and cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the ribs from the grill and let rest 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Notes

To prep the ribs before marinating, place the ribs meat side down. Insert a paring knife under the membrane that covers the back of the rack. Loosen the membrane with the knife and grab the skin with your fingers and peel off completely. This will ensure a tender cooked rib.

Keywords: Smoked Ribs, How to Make Smoked Pork Ribs in the Smoker, Smoker Ribs

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Written by 

Stephanie Wilson is an author, blogger, publisher, and former television news writer and producer. She lives in the Puget Sound area with her family.

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