Introduction: Smoked Ribs in the Smoker

Picture of Smoked Ribs in the Smoker

Today I am going to make my smoked baby back ribs, thought I would share cause these are so good From start to finish this cook should take app 6 hours. Things you will need for this instructable:


Wood chips…. I like apple

Brown sugar


Apple juice, spray bottle


Aluminum foil

BBQ sauce (whatever works for you). My recipe is at the end of this post, if you’re interested.

A good brand of beer… for the chef, totally optional of course.

Step 1: Unwrap Your Ribs and Remove the Membrane

Picture of Unwrap Your Ribs and Remove the Membrane

. My wife is removing the membrane on the back of the ribs. That’s her fun, not mine. No matter what, this is done, no exceptions, no excuses, makes for a more tender rib. A long flat screwdriver or knife works great. Just slide it under the clear skin on the bone side and pull.

Step 2: Dry Rub

Picture of Dry Rub

Next step, the rub. Put it on just before putting it in the smoker or a couple hours prior, doesn’t matter. The rub is liberally applied next, don’t miss anywhere. My rub is made up of:

5T brown sugar

1 1/2T kosher salt…. Less if you like

1/2T chili powder

1/4t black ground pepper

1/4t cayenne pepper or more for more heat

1t garlic powder

1/2t onion powder

1t red pepper flakes

Step 3: Into the Smoker

Picture of Into the Smoker

The smoker is heated to about 270 F, my new thermometer is very close to my digital, surprise. Wood chips are added, as is a container of water or apple juice, and when everything is up to temp the ribs are put in, meat side up for 1 1/2 hours. Then flip, meat side down for another 1 1/2 hours. Smoke them for about 1 1/2 hours. They might look a little dry but they’re not. If you want, spritz them with apple juice after the first hour and a half. That beer I mentioned, now would be a good time to pop the top.

Step 4: Add the Goodies

Picture of Add the Goodies

Preparation for the next step: 2 sheets of aluminum foil for each rack for wrapping the ribs in, some brown sugar to sprinkle on the ribs, honey on top of the brown sugar, and sprayed with some apple juice on top of the honey. Wrap tight, 1 seam down, 1 seam up. Back in the smoker.

Step 5: Back in the Smoker

Picture of Back in the Smoker

After 2 hrs remove from the smoker, and uncover the ribs. Be very careful, as the ribs and juices will be very hot.

Step 6: Baste With Sauce

Picture of Baste With Sauce

Baste the ribs with your favourite BBQ sauce and as in the picture put them back in the smoker for about 1 hour

My sauce recipe:

3 cups brown sugar

3 cups ketchup

¾ cup red wine vinegar

¼ cup water or beer.

2T worcestershire sauce

2T garlic powder

3T dry mustard

2t paprika

5t salt

5t ground black pepper

2-3T lemon juice

5T hot sauce or to taste

Step 7: Done

Picture of Done

This is them, done. Unfortunately didn't get a picture of them cut up and on the platter. Our guest just grabbed them too damn fast. Got thumbs up all around

If you make these ribs and enjoy them, or plan on making them please leave a comment. Thanks


tryscratch (author)2016-08-06

So did it take 6 3/4 hours in the smoker?

grillmaster (author)tryscratch2016-08-07

Oooops, that should be 1 hr, not 1 3/4 hrs I'll edit that, that's for reading.

CPUDOCTHE1. (author)2016-07-31

I used to go to the trouble of smoking my ribs. I use turbinado sugar (probably shouldn't post that, now everyone will have better ribs) and just do them in a grill. 45 minutes bone side down, 30 minutes bone side up, and then wrap them in foil until done (about 1 hr 30 minutes).

grillmaster (author)CPUDOCTHE1.2016-08-01

Slow and low, my friend, that's what BBQ is all about. Time well spent with friends and a beer. Certainly no trouble and and the final product is well worth the effort put in. If you have the patience to use a crock pot, then you can hanle a smoker. One more factor.... it's fun.

CPUDOCTHE1. (author)grillmaster2016-08-03

I smoke a lot of other stuff, but to me, smoking ribs does not enhance them in any way. If you notice, the above cooking takes almost 3 hours if not more. I run the grill about 250 degrees, so it is low and slow.

grillmaster (author)CPUDOCTHE1.2016-08-04

I have smoked turkey breast and pork butt for 180 people at our RV Park in Florida, only complaint was they wanted more. On a smaller scale, ribs for 50 people (too expensive). You will definitely get an argument from them about smoking.

dennisst99 (author)2016-08-01

I've been wondering how to get that "fall off the bone" style ribs so I took a chance and tried this recipe. All I can say is WOW! The only variation was I used a commercial brand of bbq sauce on half and in a separate foil pouch I just left them with the rub. Truly fall of the bone good and I can't really say which I liked better. Thanks for the instructable!

grillmaster (author)dennisst992016-08-01

You are so welcome, glad they turned out for you. Slow and low, the way to go. Thanx for reading.

TerranceW4 (author)2016-07-24

Sounds like a Tx recipe I'll be trying! But the wife dosn't like the heat. I do my ribs in the Hondo Smoker by New Braunfels smoker MFG char coale and wood fired. Making your own Bar-B-Q sauce is fairly easy, however I don't use measuring tools, good judgment and sampling as I go. My Catsup base sauce consist of Brown sugar, Ground Clove, Groung Cinnamen, Garlic powder, garlic salt, Sage, crushed bay leaf and apple cider Viniger, or raw apple cider if available.

As you stated removing the membrane is essential to getting a good even smoke and tender ribs. 8-24 hrs prior to cook time I marinade my ribs in various concoctions, generally pineapple juice, or orange juice or grape juice, my last rack of ribs I juice up some brandied fruits. But rarely do I use dry rubs. Thanks for posting.

grillmaster (author)TerranceW42016-07-27

pineapple juice and bromelain extract are commonly used as marinades because bromelain breaks down proteins, tenderizing the meat. Another tenderizer is papain which comes from papayas. Papain is an ingredient in Accent.

grillmaster (author)TerranceW42016-07-24

Thanx for reading.

chefspenser (author)2016-07-24

Nice job on the instructions. Ot all looks great. Thank you for the post!

grillmaster (author)chefspenser2016-07-25

Thanx for reading

lclaiborne (author)2016-07-25

Tempted to try this, but I'll need a smoker. Probably some one elses that didn't have much luck... I tell my sewing students to find a cheap machine that way, lol.

Any pitfalls to look out for? I'm a food docent in an 1840's museum kitchen, so cooking with wood fire I know about. Smoking is new. Like few clues.

How would pecan wood work? Just because we have a lot of it for the fireplaces.

grillmaster (author)lclaiborne2016-07-25

If you're using your own wood, remove the bark and use only hardwoods. The resin in softwoods will sour the meat.

lclaiborne (author)2016-07-25

Ooooh! This sounds good! There's nothing like good ribs.

tammycntn (author)2016-07-24

I have never smoked any meats, but I am going to use your instructable to give smoking a chance. I have a good feeling about it. Thanks for posting.

grillmaster (author)tammycntn2016-07-24

Thanx for reading.... good luck

tammycntn (author)2016-07-24

I have never smoked any meats, but I am going to use your instructable to give smoking a chance. I have a good feeling about it. Thanks for posting.

George Gooble (author)2016-07-24

I noticed a comment about the aluminum sealing out the smoke flavor. Most literature on smoking states the smoke flavor is obtained within the first hour and after that the meat has sealed itself. I think the methodology is sound and the aluminum will keep the ribs from becoming to dry.

That's exactly what the foil does, the ribs are basically steaming in their own juices.

BradD11 (author)2016-07-24

Try using a paper towel to get a grip on the membrane. Great job on the instructions. I am a certified judge and competitive cook. You are on target with everything. You can always split hairs here and there but keep on Q'in!

grillmaster (author)BradD112016-07-24

Thanx for the positive feedback, much appreciated.

Duster (author)2016-07-24

Great theater with the smoker, and all, but aluminum foil prevents any of the smoke flavor from getting to the ribs. The prep and rub are the key, but once the ribs are wrapped in foil, you can achieve the same results in your oven.

Cheese Queen (author)Duster2016-07-24

The smoke flavor is absorbed in the first hour or two of smoking. Wrapping the ribs in foil after this period is a well-tested and researched way to keep the ribs moist and juicy. Continuous exposure to your heat and smoke will result in drier, chewier ribs, which might well be your preference.

And yes, some folks do finish off their ribs in the oven.

dc3cowboy (author)2016-07-24

My ribs are smoked basically the same way. I smoke them for one hour. Then I use the heavy duty foil and nest one rib on top of another, two ribs to a package, and cook them for an additional four hours. By that time, they are falling off the bone and still very juicy!

kagyeman (author)2016-07-24

I am gonna try this. You make it sound easy and appetizing. thank you.

grillmaster (author)kagyeman2016-07-24

Thanks, you won't be disappointed.

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