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5 from 3 votes

Smoking Spare Ribs

Smoking ribs is super easy, and you can do it right from home with only a few pieces of equipment and an assortment of ingredients. There are many ribs recipes, but this one is pretty simple and quick.

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 hrs 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Ribs
Servings: 1
Calories: 762kcal


  • Meat Smoker
  • Natural chunk charcoal
  • Wood of choice
  • Spray bottle
  • Instant read thermometer
  • Temperature probe thermometer (optional)
  • Aluminum foil
  • Grill rack (optional)
  • One or more racks of bone-in pork spare ribs


  • Spice rub

  • Apple juice, apple cider vinegar, or other sweet and acidic liquid

  • Barbecue sauce of choice (optional)


  • Depending on the ribs you buy, it may already be removed or you may be able to ask your butcher to do it for you, but it's extremely simple to do it yourself if you can't take advantage of either of those options.

  • Just take a sharp pairing knife and cut underneath one end of the membrane, peeling back gently and cutting away at the membrane as you go while being careful not to slice into the meat itself.

  • Once you reach the end, you should be able to pull it off without any problems.

  • Once the ribs are prepped, it's time to spice things up. Coat your ribs in olive oil, canola oil, or mustard (yellow, Dijon, or even grain work fine), then season thoroughly with a spice rub of your choice, making sure to dry rub the spices into every square inch of the meat.

  • Wetting the meat beforehand allows your spices to adhere to the surface of the meat better, as well as stops them from drying out during the long smoking process while adding some additional flavor on top of the spices.

  • The particular ​rub recipe you decide to use​ is up to you, but just the same as with the wood, try to choose flavors that will compliment rather than overpower your meat.

  • The first resting period will come immediately after you finish coating the ribs in your spice rub.

  • Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator overnight if not longer. 

  • This gives the meat a chance to absorb the flavors into it, as well as ensure the spices are tightly pressed into the surface of the meat.

  • After you've given your ribs ample time to develop their flavor, remove the ribs from the refrigerator and allow them to warm up to room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour before cooking.

  • Food cooked at room temperature as opposed to ice cold cooks more evenly, tastes better, and retains moisture better.

  • As your ribs get up to temperature, light your smoker in advance to let it do the same.

  • Fill a water tank if needed and place your wood and charcoal into the smoker to get the best smoky flavor​.

  • Light the charcoal and close the lid, letting heat and smoke build up inside.

  • After several minutes, return to the smoker and use an instant read thermometer to check the temperature.

  • Smoking is a process done with a low temperature over a long time, so going any higher could result in tough, dry meat.

  • Once both the smoker and the ribs have come up to temperature, take your ribs and get ready to smoke.

  • If you have a grill rack, place it on the grates and line up your ribs in there.

  • Racking up your ribs can help improve air flow, allowing for a more even cook.

  • If you don't, though, just place them onto the grates directly bone side up. You'll still get a great smoke without one.

  • A five pound rack of ribs can smoke for around four and a half hours before being taken off the heat.

  • If your ribs are bigger or smaller than that, adjust your cook time accordingly.

  • Every half hour to 45 minutes, spritz your ribs down with a mixture of 1/4 cooking oil and 3/4 apple cider vinegar, apple juice, or other sweet and acidic liquid to help the ribs stay moist and add extra flavor.

  • When fully cooked, your ribs should come to an internal temperature of at least 175 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Once your ribs have rested, it's time to serve.


Serving: 240g | Calories: 762kcal