Introduction: Smoked Baby Back Ribs


1 or 2 racks of baby back ribs

1 jar sweet barbecue rub (or make your own)

1 jar barbecue sauce (or make your own)

1 bag of your favorite wood chips

Step 1: Remove the Membrane

Remove the membrane from the back side of the ribs. This can be difficult, but you once you get it started you should be able to pull the whole thing off fairly easily.

  • To remove the membrane, slide a butter knife, or back of a fork under the membrane, just over the bone on the bone side of the rack.
  • Loosen the membrane from the bone.
  • Run a finger under the membrane to loosen it from the rest of the bone and meat.
  • Try to pull the membrane up as one piece by gently pulling it off from one end to the other. Hopefully, the entire membrane will come off, if it does not, then pull off the smaller pieces as best you can.

Removing the membrane is critical to making tender ribs. If the membrane does not come off, the ribs tend to be much tougher. If the membrane will not come off, you can try to score the back of the ribs with a knife.

Step 2: Season the Ribs

Generously add rub to the ribs and wrap the ribs in foil or plastic wrap. Place back in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Apply olive oil or mustard so that the spice rub sticks better to the ribs.

If you are looking for some good rubs I really like Rub With Love by Tom Douglas. I also have a great rub recipe in my book The Culinary Camper.

Step 3: Prepare the Smoker

Prepare the smoker by getting a pan of cold water and placing it under where the ribs will go. This will help catch the drippings from the ribs. The water also provides the needed moisture to help the ribs stay moist and create that beautiful smoke ring on the ribs.

If you are in the market for a smoker, I recommend the Char-Griller line of smokers. I just received one for my birthday and I love it.

Step 4: Soak Wood Chips

Soak the wood chips at least a half hour before you are ready to start cooking. Make sure you use good quality smoking woods like cherry, apple, hickory or one of the other well-known smoking woods. You can purchase wood chips from most barbecue sections of the supermarket, or sporting goods store. Some cooking stores stock them as well. I often find a good assortment of different wood chips on Amazon.

Step 5: Light the Coals

Prepare the coals by lighting them. You can place them directly in the offset smoker box and light them, or light them with a chimney lighter and add them to the smoke box when they are ready.

Step 6: Place Ribs on Smoker

Once the coals are going and the temperature inside the grill is about 225° degrees F. Place your ribs on the rack inside the grill and close the lid. Do not open the lid for at least an hour and a half to two hours, or until you are ready to check them for doneness. Try to maintain the temperature between 225° F and 250° F.

Step 7: Cook for Two Hours

The ribs are ready when the meat starts to come off the bone. Do your best not to check the ribs before two hours is up. The old barbecue adage, "if you're looking you ain't cooking" holds true here. Do not let the heat and the smoke out by looking.

At this point, you can add some barbecue sauce and give it another 10 to minutes over a grill. This will caramelize the sauce on the ribs and can be very tasty. You can also just add sauce after you take the ribs off the grill.

My favorite sauces are either Stubb's or Sweet Baby Ray's. I also have an excellent Texas-style sauce in my book The Culinary Camper.

Step 8: Let Rest

Let the ribs stand for about 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with coleslaw or your favorite side.

For more information on this recipe and more like it, see my website, The Culinary Camper.

This recipe can be found at


Meat Contest 2016

Runner Up in the
Meat Contest 2016