Smoked Ribs

Easy, tender, and juicy – you can’t go wrong with these smoked baby back ribs! Smoked Ribs are simply divine, they deliver a deep flavor that’s bound to please the crowd. Whip these up for dinner, BBQs, or summer parties – kids and adults alike will adore tucking into these beauties!

overhead view of smoked ribs in a red plastic basket.

What’s in Baby Back Pork Ribs?

All you have to do with your baby back pork ribs is slather them in a delicious dry rub full of slices, then mist them with apple juice throughout the cooking process to make them sweet and juicy.

  • Baby Back Pork Ribs: Two racks serves 4 people, feel free to adjust the recipe as needed for different numbers of people.
  • Apple Juice: Put it in a spray bottle to infuse your meat with delicious flavor!
  • Celery Salt: For a bit of zing!
  • Garlic Powder: Add more if you’re a big fan of garlic.
  • Chili Powder: This is the core source of smoky flavor in this recipe.
  • Black Pepper: an essential for any basic spice blend.
  • Ground Paprika: This brings some extra depth to the recipe.
  • Cayenne Pepper: For my spice lovers!

Variations on Smoked Baby Back Ribs

This rib recipe is super simple and easy to customize. Feel free to swap out the spice blend for your favorite spice blend, such as pork chop seasoning, Italian seasoning, Creole seasoning, blackened seasoning, chili seasoning, fajita seasoning, taco seasoning, or herbs de Provence.

step by step photos for how to make smoked ribs.
How long does it take to smoke ribs?

For this recipe, we will smoke our ribs at 300°F for 3 hours.

Why doesn’t this recipe for smoked ribs use the 3-2-1 method?

While many people love the 3-2-1 method for fall-off-the-bone tender ribs, it is not the traditional method for smoking ribs. Here, we employ a more traditional method that leads to perfectly cooked ribs that stay on the bone, but are still super tender!

Can I use a different type of ribs to make smoked ribs?

Baby back ribs are ideal because they are leaner and more tender, but you can also use spare ribs or St. Louis-style ribs.

Should I flip ribs when smoking them?

Yes, you should flip them after 1 hour, then every 30 minutes until they’re done. If you use a rib rack, you do not need to flip your rubs.

How can I tell when smoked ribs are finished cooking?

Smoked ribs are done when they are dark brown, tender, and the meat begins to shrink away from the bones. The internal temperature should be 202°F.

Why are my smoked ribs tough?

If your ribs were cooked too fast at too high of a temperature, they will be tough. Smoking ribs is a low-and-slow method that results in tender ribs.

close up of smoked ribs.

How to Store and Reheat Smoked Pork Ribs

Store leftover smoked ribs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days for maximum freshness and safety. Reheat in a pan covered with aluminum foil in a 250°F oven for about 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 140°F.

How to Freeze Smoked Pork Baby Back Ribs

Freeze smoked ribs tightly wrapped in 2 layers of plastic wrap and 1 layer of aluminum foil in a Ziplock bag for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

What to Serve with Smoked BBQ Ribs

These easy smoked ribs work great with a variety of sides, such as Baked Mac and Cheese, Shoestring Fries, Corn Pudding, or Grilled Potato Wedges with Chimichurri.

Crispy-tinged with a tender and juicy center, you will not believe how perfect these baby back ribs are!

three-quarters view of smoked ribs in a red plastic basket.
overhead view of smoked ribs in a red plastic basket.

Smoked Ribs Recipe

These traditionally smoked ribs are so delicious and fall-off-the-bone tender! Made super flavorful with a homemade dry rub, they're perfect for parties, BBQs, and game days!
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 707kcal
Author Becky Hardin


  • Smoker



  • 2 racks Baby Back Pork Ribs
  • 2 cups apple juice in a spray bottle

Dry Rub Seasonings


  • Remove the silver skin (membrane) off the back side of the ribs if the butcher did not already do this by taking the blunt end of a knife and tracing it under the membrane. Pull the membrane away from and off of the ribs.
    2 racks Baby Back Pork Ribs
    overhead view of ingredients for smoked ribs.
  • Preheat the smoker to 300°F for 15 minutes with the lid closed.
  • Combine the rub seasonings in a small bowl or ramekin. Rub the ribs on the top side thoroughly with the seasoning. Let ribs rest as the smoker comes to temp.
    2 teaspoons celery salt, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons chili powder, 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, 3 teaspoons ground paprika, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    spice rubbed ribs on a wooden cutting board.
  • Place the ribs directly on the grill grate of the smoker. Smoke for 30 minutes, then spritz several times with apple juice. Repeat spritzing every 30 minutes until 3 hours has passed. Flip the ribs once at 1 hour, and then every 30 minutes after. Check to be sure the internal temp of the ribs has reached 202°F before removing.
    2 cups apple juice
    a hand spraying partially smoked ribs on a grill with apple juice.
  • Rest the ribs on a wooden cutting board for 10 minutes. Working from left to right, slice next to the next bone (on the left hand side of it) to make even sections. Serve with your favorite bbq sauce if desired. Enjoy!
    smoked ribs on a wooden cutting board.


  • If your smoker uses wood chips, look for lighter woods with a fruitier flavor, such as hickory, oak, mesquite, grapevine, apple, cherry, or pecan. Avoid overpowering woods such as elm, cedar, cypress, fir, pine, redwood, spruce, sycamore, poison oak, or eucalyptus.
  • Trim and prep your ribs properly before starting. Be sure to remove the silver skin (membrane) on the back of the ribs.
  • Don’t be stingy with the rub! Be sure to fully coat the ribs on all sides with the rub for the best flavor.
  • Spritz the ribs often with apple juice to keep them moist and juicy.
  • Rest the ribs for 10 minutes before cutting to keep the juices in.
Storage: Store smoked ribs tightly wrapped in aluminum foil in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.


Calories: 707kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 55g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 196mg | Sodium: 1433mg | Potassium: 913mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 1156IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 111mg | Iron: 3mg

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