Smoking Ribs in an Electric Smoker: Savory And Sweet BBQ
The Different Types of Ribs
Ribs are prepared differently in every country. Unique seasonings, rubs and sauces are used to enhance the flavor of the ribs. You may prefer your ribs baked, broiled, grilled or cooked in an open fire pit. Some cultures cut the meat off the bone prior to cooking. You may have tried spicy Cajun ribs, tangy Chinese ribs or barbequed American ribs. Despite the numerous styles and techniques, there is nothing quite like the savory and sweet flavor of ribs cooked in an electric smoker. The ribs are tender, full of flavor and absolutely delicious.
The Beauty of an Electric Smoker
If you are a beginner, you will love the convenience and ease of smoking ribs on an electric smoker. This type of smoker is different than charcoal smokers because you will not need to constantly monitor your ribs. You can choose from different features and sizes ideal for your needs. Once you set the temperature you can walk away because the unit maintains the temperature.
Since there is no fire, you can use your electric smoker on the balcony of a condo or apartment. The best part is you can purchase an electric smoker big enough to hold a couple of racks of ribs or a few pounds of meat. Your meat will be juicy and tender every time. You will discover a lot of amazing electric smoker recipes.
Sweet and Savory Smoked Baby Back Ribs
Your first step is getting the ingredients you will need. Pro Tip: You can find higher quality ribs at a butcher than your local grocery store. You will need:
- Two racks of baby back ribs (approximately three pounds each)
- One cup apple cider or juice
- One-quarter cup brown sugar
- One tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- One tablespoon chili powder
- One teaspoon mustard powder
- One tablespoon paprika
- Two teaspoons ground cumin
- Kosher salt
- Two tablespoons Worcester sauce
- Eight to ten cups of wood chips
- Brush your grill with vegetable oil to remove the stickiness
Pro Tip: Use eight to ten cups of Mesquite wood chips for a sensational smoky flavor. Using the 3-2-1 method, your smoked baby back ribs will require six hours of cooking time. If you are wondering how to smoke ribs in an electric smoker, simply follow the preparation steps. Once you have used the rub, your ribs will need to be refrigerated for two hours to soak up the flavor. The wood chips you are using will need to soak for one hour.
Prior to smoking your ribs in an electric smoker, they need to set for thirty minutes to reach room temperature. The entire process will take roughly nine hours. You can prepare your ribs the night before to cut the time down to seven hours.
Preparing your Smoked Baby Back Ribs
Begin by cutting off any fat and the membrane so only the prime meat remains. The membrane is the rubbery layer on the bottom of the ribs. Pro Tip: Use a blunt knife for easier removal of the membrane. Do not remove any of the fat between the bones because this is the source of the flavor and juices. The next step is preparing your rub.
Take a shallow bowl and thoroughly mix your brown sugar, chili powder, two tablespoons of salt, cumin, paprika and mustard powder. Rub your spice all over the ribs including the hard to reach areas like between the bones. This will give your ribs the mouthwatering savory and sweet flavor. Put your ribs in a big roasting pan. Cover the pan and put it in your refrigerator for a minimum of two hours or overnight.
Soak your wood chips for at least one hour before smoking your ribs in an electric smoker. Ten cups should be enough for your entire smoker. Thirty minutes before you are ready to start smoking your ribs, take them out of your refrigerator so they can reach room temperature.
Mix your apple cider vinegar, apple juice and Worcester sauce together. Pro Tip: Pour your mixed ingredients into a small spray bottle for better coverage. Use this to base your ribs while they are cooking. Now that your ribs are ready, it is time to prepare your electric smoker.
Preparing your Electric Smoker for Smoked Baby Back Ribs
Preheat your electric smoker to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray your vegetable oil on your grill to avoid a sticky mess and prevent your ribs from sticking. Once your grill has reached the desired temperature, place your ribs into the smoker. You will be using the 3-2-1 smoking process. You will smoke your ribs right on the rack for three hours. Do not forget to place your wood chips in your electric smoker.
Once the three hours have elapsed, take your ribs out of the smoker. Liberally spray them with the basting sauce you made. You need to make sure your ribs are well coated. Pro Tip: To maximize the flavor, wrap your ribs in heavy-duty aluminum foil then put them right back into your electric smoker meat side down. Let your ribs smoke for another two hours.
Electric Smoker Recipe for Barbeque Sauce
This is a good time to prepare your sweet and tangy barbeque sauce. You will need:
- One small red onion (diced)
- Three cloves of garlic (minced)
- One can tomato paste (six ounces)
- Two cups of water
- One and one-half teaspoons ground pepper
- Two tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil
- One-quarter cup raw honey or unsulphered molasses
- One tablespoon brown or yellow mustard
- One-quarter teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Two teaspoons kosher salt
- Two tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- Three tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- One small can tomato sauce
Use a large saucepan on medium heat. Heat your oil then add the onions. Cook your onions for about five minutes until they are soft and translucent. Add your minced garlic and continue cooking for one more minute. Add your mustard and tomato paste and cook for five minutes, stirring constantly. Add your water, molasses, vinegar, pepper, tomato sauce, Worcestershire, cayenne and salt. Simmer on low until thick or for roughly two hours. Your BBQ sauce and ribs will be ready at about the same time.
There should be an incredible aroma coming from your smoker at this point. This is what smoking ribs in an electric smoker is all about. Check your ribs just to be sure everything is going smoothly and cover them with barbeque sauce. Your ribs are ready in about one hour or when your meat thermometer reads an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove your ribs from your electric smoker at this time.
Leave the aluminum foil on your ribs and let them rest for thirty minutes. This gives your meat enough time to absorb all of the incredible juices from cooking. Your smoked baby back ribs will be even juicier and more tender. After thirty minutes, carefully remove the aluminum foil. Cut your ribs apart using a sharp knife, pile onto a platter and serve.
The Best Side for Smoked Baby Back Ribs
Your ribs will be the masterpiece of your entire table. You do not want to serve anything with them that can take away from the sensational flavor and texture. Your homemade barbeque sauce will be outdone only by your ribs. There are certain side dishes that go exceptionally well with smoked ribs. All of them are very easy to prepare.
The classic biscuit is ideal with any type of smoked meat. Buttermilk biscuits are especially popular in the south. You can make your own baked beans by smoking your own beans overnight or simply opening a can or two of your favorite. Corn on the cob is always a hit. You can grill, boil or steam your corn and serve it with butter and seasonings.
Cool, crisp and crunchy coleslaw is a delight with anything smoked. This will add a welcoming freshness to your meal. You can purchase coleslaw already prepared or buy a package of slaw mix or pre-shredded cabbage. The final result will be an incredible meal your friends and family will ask you to prepare over and over again.
Smoking ribs with an electric smoker will enable you to make some of the most amazing ribs you have ever tasted. Although your ribs will need a lot of time to cook using the 3-2-1 method, your results will be more than worth the wait. We have included some pro tips to provide you with a little bit of an edge. We hope you enjoy your smoked baby back ribs and take pride in what you have achieved.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the 3 2 1 method for smoking ribs?
The most popular way to create smoky, fall-off-the-bone ribs is to use the 3-2-1 smoking method. To cook ribs this way, start the ribs bone-side down in a 225 degree Fahrenheit smoker. After three hours, wrap the ribs tightly with aluminum foil and return them to the smoker. After two hours, remove the foil and smoke the ribs for an additional hour. All in all, it takes six hours, but it’s totally worth it for juicy, tender ribs.
Should I flip ribs when smoking?
We always like starting the ribs bone-side down because it allows the entire top surface access to the smoky environment. It’s not a bad idea to flip the ribs after you’ve wrapped them in foil, cooking them bone-side up for two hours, to make sure the ribs cook evenly.
What is the best temperature for smoking ribs?
Our favorite temperature for smoking ribs is 225 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, the ribs will be finished cooking in about five to six hours.
Is an electric smoker worth it?
The thing we love about making ribs in an electric smoker is that it’s so easy. With propane or charcoal smokers, you have to wait to create the heat inside the smoker. Electric smokers are much quicker; you simply plug them in, set the temperature, and walk away. Because electric smokers use wood chips or pellets to create smoke, your ribs will be just as flavorful as ribs smoked on another type of smoker.
What are the best kind of ribs to smoke?
We like smoking baby back ribs because they’re meatier than spare ribs. Spare ribs are found closer to the belly than the baby backs (which are just off the loin). That means they’re fattier and contain more bone than baby back ribs. It’s a matter of personal preference, though, so give it a try at home and decide which type of ribs are your favorite!