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SmokED Baby Back Ribs

There’s a lot to love about these SmokED Baby Back Ribs considering they usually have a good bit of meat on them, they cook up in around 5 hours and there’s not a lot of fat to deal with once it’s all said and done. 

Prep Time:     15 mins
Cook Time:    5 hrs
Servings:        6



Step 1: Rinse and Dry

  1. Rinse the ribs to remove anything that shouldn’t be there.
  2. Pat them dry with a paper towel and lay on the cutting board.

Step 2: Remove Fat and Clean up

  1. Remove the membrane (but it is not really worth a lot of time and frustration).
  2. If you have trouble with it, skip this step … not worth it.
    • The easiest method I have used is to use the handle end of a spoon or butter knife to gently lift the membrane in the middle of the rack. Ease your finger in to gain more separation then, with a paper towel, grab it and slowly pull to get the membrane off.
    • I have smoked ribs with and without the membrane and when it comes to tenderness and flavor, it doesn’t make a lot of difference … but the eating experience will be better without it.
  3. Remove any fat if it’s easy to get to.
  4. Remove any ‘extra’ flaps of meat and set it aside.

Step 3: Rub down

  1. Grab a bottle of SmokED Stuff Par Rub and sprinkle a good coating on the top of the ribs. Just enough to cover the meat under the rub.
  2. Start the smoker (or oven) and let it get up to temp. You want the temperature to be between 225°F and 240°F. This time will allow the SmokED Salt that is in the rub to start drawing moisture out of the meat. This is called “Dry Brining”.
  3. After a few minutes, the top of the ribs will start to look wet. This is the moisture in the ribs being pulled to the surface where it will mix with the rub and create a paste.

Step 4: Smoke using the 2-2-1 Method

  1. Choose a smoking wood that pairs with pork well. Apple, Hickory, Mesquite, and Cherry wood are good choices but in reality, you can use whatever smoking wood that you like and have available. I use a high-quality lump charcoal as the fuel and mix in 4 or 5 chunks of smoking wood for flavor.
  2. Once your smoker is preheated and you have selected the wood you will use and it is producing “blue” smoke, you are ready to place the pork ribs in the smoker. “Blue” smoke is almost imperceptible … not the heavy smoke appearing when the smoker is first lit.
  3. If the smoker is producing “dirty” or “white” smoke, it will impart a bitter taste to the meat. I find that it takes about 20 – 30 minutes after lighting the smoker for “blue” smoke to appear.
  4. Place the rack(s) of ribs directly on the smoker grate boney side down, meaty side up and quickly close the door or lid to your smoker. Leave them this way for about 2 hours. This is the 1st ‘2’ in the 2-2-1 method.
  5. After 2 hours, remove the ribs from the smoker and either 1) wrap them in foil or 2) place them into a very large foil pan covered with foil over the top. Drizzle honey, sprinkle SmokED Stuff Brown Sugar, and place several pats of butter on top of the ribs before closing up the wrap. Both wrap options work equally well but the foil pan is easier and a little more leak proof.
  6. Leave them in this configuration for 2 hours in the smoker at 225-240°F. This is the 2nd ‘2’ in the 2-2-1 method. This foil stage is where the ribs get super tender. If you do not like super tender ribs, then reduce the amount of time the ribs are in the foil. Some people leave them in the foil for only 1 hour to create ribs that are less tender.
  7. It is now time to unwrap the ribs from the foil or remove them from the foil pan and place them back on the smoker grate at 225-240°F for about 1 more hour. This is the ‘1’ in the 2-2-1 method. Start painting some sauce on the ribs to make them ‘sticky’.
  8. If you need some metrics for making sure that the ribs are actually ready to eat: Pork is safe at 145°F internally but pork ribs are perfectly tender at 195°F. Feel free to check that with a Thermapen or other digital meat thermometer in that meaty area right between the bones, The bones should be showing about ½ inch or more due to the meat pulling back, and the rack of ribs should bend nearly in half when held up at one end with a pair of tongs.

Step 5: Rest

  1. Remove the ribs from the smoker, carefully – they’ll be HOT.
  2. Let these ribs ‘rest’ for at least 10 minutes … up to 15.
    • Simply place the hot ribs on a wood cutting board and lightly cover them with aluminum foil. Use enough foil that you can tuck it under the edge of the ribs all around and leave a peak, like a tent, above the meat.
    • This allows the moisture inside the ribs to redistribute so they will be moist and delicious. If you cut into the ribs right away, the liquid will actually pool out and your ribs will end up dry.

Step 6: Slice and Eat

  1. Turn the rack upside down on the cutting board and slice between the bones with a sharp knife.
  2. Begin bragging (loudly) to your spouse, kids, and/or guests that these are quite possibly the best ribs ever concocted on planet Earth.