This Smoked Ribs recipe is juicy, succulent, and so flavorful. These smoked spare ribs are perfect for your next summer BBQ and cost just $1.85 per serving to make! 

For more smoked recipes, check out this Smoked Brisket, Smoked Leg of Lamb, and this Smoked Chuck Roast recipe. 

Finished smoked ribs with text overlay for Pinterest.

My summers are always busy with family celebrations. Between my little family and my extended family, we have 5 birthdays and 2 wedding anniversaries to celebrate in one month. Basically, this means we party ALL. MONTH. LONG.

Now that summer is upon us, that means 3 things for our family celebrations:

  • Good food.
  • Great company.
  • We’re most definitely grillin’!

Smoked Ribs Ingredients

  • 2 large racks of spareribs, about 5 pounds each
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 Tablespoons paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce
All of the ingredients needed to make this recipe.

Smoking Pork Ribs

These ribs are at the top of my list for summer grilling. They are moist, tender, full of flavor, and like magic, they fall off the bone! Isn’t that how you want your smoked spare ribs to taste? I know I do! This Smoked Ribs recipe will help you achieve that EVERY.SINGLE.TIME!

There are a couple of secrets to making these smoked pork ribs. The first secret is the dry rub. This helps magnify the flavor when smoking the ribs. 

The next secret is to cook the Smoked Ribs on low and slow. This is key! You do not want to rush this process. Otherwise, the ribs will be too tough and not the tender bite we are looking for. 

With a little bit of work, you can have amazing tender smoked spare ribs at home that taste like you just spent too much money on pork ribs at your favorite restaurant! 

Close up picture of smoked spare ribs stacked on a blue plate.

Do you flip ribs when smoking?

Yes, you should flip the ribs after 1 hour of smoking them.  You’ll flip them every 30 minutes until they’re done. 

The only time you don’t have to flip ribs is when you use a rib rack. This is my preferred method because I can do other things besides make myself available to flip ribs every 30 minutes for HOURS! $24 for a rib rack is a great investment that will save you time! 

Why are my smoked ribs tough?

My guess would be that the ribs were cooked too fast at high temperatures. Cooking them at a high temperature for a short amount of time results in tough meat. 

It’s best to go low and slow when smoking ribs (low temperature for an extended amount of time). This will ensure that juicy fall-off-the-bone meat that we all love. 

How do you check if ribs are done?

Ribs will be done when the meat starts to shrink away from the bones and they’re dark brown and tender.

Close up picture of the entire rack of smoked spare ribs.

Cook’s Notes – Smoked Spare Ribs

  • To achieve moist, tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs, it’s really important to plan ahead and allow yourself time to cook these smoked ribs “low and slow”.
  • For this Smoked Sweet Ribs recipe, I like using either hickory, mesquite, apple, or cherry wood pellets. I find they complement the ribs nicely.

Cook’s Tools for Smoking Ribs

  • smoker
  • wood pellets
  • grilling tools
  • mixing bowl
  • baking sheets
  • rib rack – this is a great time saver for this recipe! 
  • pastry brush
Close up of a smoked pork rib being held up close to the camera.

Breaking Down the Cost of Smoked Pork Ribs

RECIPE COST: $18.52

PER SERVING COST: $1.85

NOTE: The recipe prices are used calculating name-brand products from Walmart’s website. The actual cost of the recipe will vary depending on what your pantry is already stocked with and current grocery prices. 

***In recent weeks, I’ve seen the price of ribs decrease by 50%. If you get the ribs on sale, then the price of this recipe will decrease substantially. 

  • 2 large racks of spareribs about 5 pounds each $17.40
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar $0.24
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder $0.16
  • 2 Tablespoons paprika $0.20
  • 2 Tablespoons salt $0.06
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin $0.10
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce $0.36
Smoked spare ribs rack on a white platter after it's fully cooker.

How To Smoke Ribs

Make Rub

  1. In a medium bowl, combine sugar chili powder, paprika, salt, and cumin.

A picture showing how to make a rub for ribs

Prep and Rub Ribs

  1. Pull the silver membrane from the back of the ribs and trim the ribs.
  2. Transfer ribs to 2 large rimmed baking sheets.
  3. Use your hands to distribute the rub over both sides of the ribs and rub it into the ribs.
  4. Cover the baking sheets with foil and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

A picture collage showing how to trim and rub ribs.

Smoke Ribs (Rib Rack Instructions)

  1. Place rib rack on the grill. Place ribs in the rack.
  2. Smoke for 4 ½ hours. At the end of the 4 ½ hours, move to the “COOK RIBS IN FOIL” instructions.

Smoke Ribs (Non Rib Rack Instructions)

  1. Lightly oil grates, and place the ribs (meat-side up) on the grill. Smoke for 1 hour.
  2. Flip ribs so they’re meat-side down. Close grill and smoke 30 minutes. Repeat this process every 30 minutes for a total of 2 ½ more hours.

A picture collage showing how to smoke ribs.

Cook Ribs in Foil

  1. Remove the ribs from the grills. Increase the grill temperature of 350°F and close the lid.
  2. Place each rack on a piece of heavy-duty foil. Brush both sides of the ribs with barbecue sauce.
  3. Seal the ribs in the foil.
  4. When the grill reaches 350°F, place the foil packets of ribs on the grill and cover. Cook for 40 minutes longer.

A picture collage showing how to cook ribs in foil.

Rest Ribs

  1. Take the ribs off the grill and let them rest for 15 minutes before removing the foil, slicing, and serving.

A picture collage showing how to rest and cut ribs.

Best Smoking Ribs Temp

The best smoking temperature for ribs uncovered generally falls within the range of 180°F to 200°F. This temperature range allows the ribs to cook slowly, allowing the collagen in the meat to break down and render, resulting in tender and flavorful ribs.

After the initial smoke, you’ll want to slather the ribs with barbecue sauce, wrap them in foil, and then smoke at 350°F for 40 minutes.

To ensure doneness, you can use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the ribs. The ideal internal temperature for smoked ribs is around 195°F to 203°F.

How long to smoke ribs

The cooking time for smoking ribs can vary depending on the type of ribs, the rack size, and the smoker’s temperature. However, as a general guideline, here’s an approximate time range for smoking ribs:

  1. Baby Back Ribs: Baby back ribs are smaller and typically cook faster than spare ribs. Plan for a cooking time of approximately 4 to 5 hours.
  2. St. Louis Style Ribs: St. Louis style ribs are larger and meatier than baby back ribs. They usually require a longer cooking time, typically around 5 to 6 hours.
  3. Spare Ribs: Spare ribs are larger and have more fat than baby back ribs. They can take anywhere from 5 to 5 ½ hours to smoke.

Remembering that these times are approximate, and ribs should be cooked to the desired tenderness rather than relying solely on the cooking time. You can also use the “bend test” or a meat thermometer to check for doneness.

Remember to maintain a consistent smoking temperature and monitor the progress of the ribs to ensure they are cooked to your liking.

What to serve with Smoked Spare Ribs

Storing Leftover Smoked Ribs

Tips for Reheating Smoked Pork Ribs

When it comes to reheating smoked pork ribs, here are some tips to help you retain their flavor and tenderness:

  1. Oven Method: Preheat your oven to around 250°F. Wrap the ribs tightly in aluminum foil to prevent moisture loss. Place them on a baking sheet and heat for about 20-30 minutes or until heated through. Unwrap the foil for the last few minutes to allow the ribs to crisp up if desired.
  2. Grill Method: Preheat your grill to medium heat. Brush the ribs with a thin layer of BBQ sauce to prevent them from drying out. Place the ribs on the grill, bone-side down, and heat for approximately 10-15 minutes, flipping them occasionally and basting them with additional sauce. This method helps restore some smoky flavor and adds a slight char.
  3. Sous Vide Method: This method can help maintain the ribs’ moisture and tenderness if you have a sous vide machine. Seal the ribs in a vacuum-sealed bag or place them in a sturdy resealable bag, removing as much air as possible. Submerge the bag in a preheated water bath set to 165°F. Allow the ribs to reheat for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Afterward, you can quickly sear the ribs on a hot grill or in a hot skillet to develop a crust.

Regardless of the reheating method you choose, it’s important to monitor the internal temperature of the ribs using a meat thermometer. The ribs should reach an internal temperature of at least 165°F to ensure they are thoroughly heated.

Remember to let the ribs rest for a few minutes after reheating before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute and enhances the overall tenderness.

More from Food Folks and Fun

Close up over head picture of smoked pork ribs on a blue plate.
4.66 from 29 votes

Fall Off The Bone Smoked Pork Ribs

Recipe Cost $ $18.52
Serving Cost $ $1.85
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours 10 minutes
Total Time 7 hours
10 servings
This Smoked Ribs recipe is juicy, succulent, and so flavorful. These smoked spare ribs are perfect for your next summer BBQ and cost just $1.85 per serving to make! 

Equipment

  • smoker
  • wood pellets
  • grilling tools
  • mixing bowl
  • baking sheets
  • rib rack – this is a great time saver for this recipe!
  • pastry brush

Ingredients
 
 

  • 10 pounds pork spare ribs from 2 racks

RUB:

SAUCE:

Instructions

MAKE RUB:

  • In a medium bowl, combine sugar chili powder, paprika, salt, and cumin.

PREP AND RUB RIBS:

  • Pull the silver membrane from the back of the ribs.
  • Transfer ribs to 2 large rimmed baking sheets.
  • Use your hands to distribute the rub over both sides of the ribs and rub it into the ribs.
  • Cover the baking sheets with foil and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

PREPARE FOR SMOKING:

  • If you’re using wood chips, soak wood chips in water 1 hour before smoking. If using wood pellets, skip this step. When ready, fill the smoker box with wood chips or pellets.
  • 15 minutes before smoking, remove ribs from refrigerator and preheat smoker to 180° F with the lid closed.

SMOKE RIBS (RIB RACK INSTRUCTIONS):

  • Place rib rack on the grill. Place ribs in the rack.
  • Smoke for 4 ½ hours. At the end of the 4 ½ hours, move to the "COOK RIBS IN FOIL" instructions.

SMOKE RIBS (NON-RIB RACK INSTRUCTIONS):

  • Lightly oil grates, and place the ribs (meat-side up) on the grill. Smoke for 1 hour.
  • Flip ribs so they’re meat-side down. Close grill and smoke 30 minutes. Repeat this process every 30 minutes for a total of 2 ½ more hours.

COOK RIBS IN FOIL:

  • Remove the ribs from the grills. Increase the grill temperature of 350°F and close the lid.
  • Place each rack on a piece of heavy-duty foil. Brush both sides of the ribs with barbecue sauce.
  • Seal the ribs in the foil.
  • When the grill reaches 350°F, place the foil packets of ribs on the grill and cover. Cook for 40 minutes longer.

REST RIBS:

  • Take the ribs off the grill and let them rest for 15 minutes before removing the foil, slicing, and serving.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 3ribs | Calories: 647kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 128mg | Sodium: 332mg | Potassium: 168mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 23g | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 2.9mg

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19 Comments

  1. sara | belly rumbles says:

    Wow, impressed by the Sams Club birthday cake, looks so cool! Grilling screams summer to me too, and I am loving the look of your ribs, they sound so delicious.

    1. I know, right?! Sam’s Club cakes are really cute!

  2. Those ribs look crazy good!! And that cake is so pretty 🙂

    1. Thank you! And the cake didn’t just look good, it was super good, too!

  3. Great party planning! I have not used the scan and go app, you are the first one I have heard mention it, now I am curious to try it.

    1. The app is a serious game-changer!

  4. Brian Jones says:

    Well look at them, they look unbelievably good… I like the dry rub method for food like this too, add so much flavour.

    1. I agree, a dry rub and grilling go so well together!

  5. Sandhya Hariharan says:

    Wow.. So impressed by the celebration cake for Sam’s Club.. Bet they would be yumm not just looking good. I love the Dry Rub method on them !!

  6. wilhelmina says:

    Love these ribs! They are perfect for a cookout. Delicious!

  7. Shadi Hasanzadenemati says:

    I love your recipe, I’ll be making it again!

  8. Katie Bellamy says:

    Looking forward to making these one night this Summer! Yummy!

  9. These were frikin deeelicious. I will say you that they were not “fall off the bone”… but they were tender and juicy and yummy. Thanks for sharing

  10. Great recipe! My husband went crazy for these! I’ll make again soon for sure.

  11. Love this recipe! My ribs turn out super flavorful and tender every time!

  12. veenaazmanov says:

    Burst of flavors. Mouth melting delicious. Perfect recipe for a festive day.

  13. The meat on this was so incredibly tender. I will definitely be making it again.

  14. I wanted to report back. We tried these over the weekend. I had my egg a little too hot to begin, so I had to damen it way down. But eventually I figured it out, and it they ended up super flavorful and not dry at all! Loved the rub! Thank you for all the detailed info!