Smoked Baby Back Ribs

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Here's a Smoked Baby Back Ribs recipe that's really easy for beginners. Use your wood pellet grill and follow these simple instructions to create ribs that are foolproof, tender and juicy!

Serve this mouthwatering rack of ribs with creamy coleslaw, spicy baked beans, and everyone's favorite loaded hashbrown casserole. It's a barbecue feast that's perfect for Game Day, or a backyard cookout with friends!

Smoked baby back ribs with bbq sauce on a black cast iron plate.
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Why This Recipe Works

  • Easy Recipe: easy to follow recipe with simple ingredients!
  • Constant Temperature: there's no need to change the temperature on your pellet grill to create melt-in-your-mouth baby back ribs.
  • Wood Pellet Flavor: smoking on a wood pellet grill creates a delicious smoky flavor.
  • Low and Slow: cooking low-and-slow helps break down the connective tissue resulting in tender and juicy meat.
Brushing on bbq sauce on top of a rack of ribs.

Ingredients

  1. Baby back ribs: you'll need 2 racks to serve 6 hungry folks
  2. Dry Rub: made with brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, black pepper, kosher salt, instant coffee granules, and steak seasoning. The instant coffee granules add a deep, rich flavor without any coffee taste.
  3. Wood pellets for smoking: fruit wood works well, or hickory wood is a great choice
  4. Favorite BBQ Sauce: try Carolina Gold or Blueberry BBQ sauce as a condiment
  5. Apple Juice: just a small amount helps keep the meat moist during the final stage of cooking

Want more spice? Add cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to the bbq rub before applying to the meat. See recipe card for quantities.

Ingredients needed for rib dry rub.

Equipment

  • sharp knife
  • foil wrap
  • pair of tongs
  • meat thermometer

Instructions

  • Mix Dry Rub: combine all ingredients of dry rub in a large bowl before turning on the smoker.
Dry rub mixed together.
  • Prep the Meat: using a paper towel, pull the silver skin membrane from the bone side and trim any excess fat. Pat dry with paper towels.
Pulling the membrane off baby back ribs.
  • Apply Dry Rub: coat both sides of the rack with dry rub. Rub spices into the meat and press firmly for better flavor.
Sprinkling dry rub rub on top of two racks of baby back ribs.
  • Preheat the Pellet Grill: preheat pellet grill to 225°F. Use hardwood pellets of your choice; hickory, apple, or cherry work well.
  • Smoke the Ribs: place the seasoned ribs directly on the grill grates, bone side down. Close the lid on the grill and smoke at 225°F for about 3 hours.
Baby back ribs after being prepped with dry rub.
  • Wrap in Foil: after 3 hours on the grill, open the grill and wrap the ribs in aluminum foil. Add a little bit of apple juice and close the foil packet. Return meat to the grill and cook for another 2 hours at the same temperature (225 degrees F.)
Ribs in aluminum foil.
  • Add Barbecue Sauce: after 5 hours, unwrap the aluminum foil and glaze ribs with your favorite barbecue sauce. Keep the foil open so the sauce will caramelize. Smoke ribs for 1 more hour at 225 degrees F.
  • Check for Tenderness: check the meat for tenderness. The meat should start pulling away from the bones.
Brushing barbecue sauce on smoked baby back ribs.
  • Rest and Slice: once racks are done, let rest for about 10 minutes before slicing between the bones.
  • Serve and Enjoy: plate these smoky ribs and savor the flavor!
Baby back ribs after being smoked.

What to Serve With Smoked Baby Back Ribs

Spoonful of dry rub sprinkled over the back of a rack of rbis.

Expert Tips

  1. Remove the Membrane: it's easier to remove the membrane if you use a paper towel to pull the edges
  2. Dry Rub: apply the dry rub generously or try marinating the meat overnight in the fridge for greater flavor
  3. Low and Slow: allow plenty of time for the low and slow cooking method which truly makes a difference
  4. Fruit Woods: try using fruitwoods like apple or cherry for a sweet flavor
  5. Keep it Moist: use a water pan in your grill which maintains moisture and prevents the meat from drying out.

Variations

Want to make ribs in the oven instead of a smoker? Try this Fall Off The Bone Ribs recipe or Dutch Oven Ribs that are perfect for baking a couple of racks in the oven.

For more variations, try mixing up the dry rub with completely different flavors:

  • Honey Garlic Glaze: create a glaze with honey, garlic, soy sauce, and Dijon mustard.
  • Cajun Spice: give your ribs a Cajun kick with a spice blend featuring cayenne pepper, paprika, and thyme.
  • Maple Bourbon Glaze: add a mixture of maple syrup, bourbon, and a bit of Dijon mustard for a sweet bourbon flavor.
Racks of baby back ribs on sheet pans.

Recipe FAQs

Why do I have to pull off the silver skin?

The silver skin is a membrane on the back of the bones that is tough and chewy. It's best to remove it before adding the dry rub so the flavors can penetrate the meat.

Do I have to wrap the ribs in foil?

It's best to wrap the meat in foil and add apple juice during the last 3 hours of smoking. This keeps the meat from drying out and creates that juicy and tender rack you're looking for.

smoked baby back ribs sliced and ready to serve.

Storage and Freezing

  • Refrigerate: store wrapped ribs in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Leftovers can stay fresh for up to 3-4 days.
  • Freeze for Longer Storage: for longer storage, use a freezer-safe container or wrap leftovers in aluminum foil before placing in a freezer bag.
  • Reheat Safely: when reheating, make sure the ribs safely reach an internal temperature of 165°F. You can reheat them in the oven, microwave, or on the grill until they reach the proper temp.
  • Store Sauce Separately: if possible, store sauce separately. This prevents the meat from becoming soggy during storage and reheating.

More Smoked Recipes

If you're looking for more recipes to make on your pellet grill and smoker, you've come to the right place! Try these popular choices...

Recipe Card

Smoked baby back ribs with bbq sauce on a black cast iron plate.

Smoked Baby Back Ribs

Here's a Smoked Baby Back Ribs recipe that's really easy for beginners. Use your wood pellet grill to create ribs that are foolproof, tender and juicy!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Barbecue, Smoked Meat, Smoker
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings6
Calories: 695kcal

*See notes in blog post for detailed tips, photos and instructions.

Ingredients

RIB DRY RUB

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup instant coffee granules
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon steak seasoning

BABY BACK RIBS

  • 2 racks baby back pork ribs
  • ½ cup apple juice (use when wrapping ribs in aluminum foil)
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce - any type (save the extra for serving)

Instructions

  • Mix Dry Rub: combine all ingredients of dry rub in a large bowl before turning on the smoker.
  • Prep the Meat: using a paper towel, pull the silver skin membrane from the bone side and trim any excess fat. Pat dry with paper towels.
  • Apply Dry Rub: coat both sides of the rack with dry rub. Rub spices into the meat and press firmly for better flavor.
  • Preheat the Pellet Grill: preheat pellet grill to 225°F. Use hardwood pellets of your choice; hickory, apple, or cherry work well.
  • Smoke the Ribs: place the seasoned ribs directly on the grill grates, bone side down. Close the lid on the pellet grill and smoke at 225°F for about 3 hours.
  • Wrap in Foil: after 3 hours on the grill, open the grill and wrap the ribs in aluminum foil. Add a little bit of apple juice and close the foil packet. Return meat to the grill and cook for another 2 hours at the same temperature (225 degrees F.)
  • Add Barbecue Sauce: after at total of 5 hours on the grill, unwrap the aluminum foil and glaze ribs with your favorite barbecue sauce. Keep the foil open so the sauce will caramelize.
  • Cook 1 More Hour: Smoke ribs for 1 more hour at 225 degrees F.
  • Check for Tenderness: check the meat for tenderness with a fork. The meat should start pulling away from the bones.
  • Rest and Slice: once racks are done, let rest for about 10 minutes before slicing between the bones.
  • Serve and Enjoy: plate these smoky ribs and serve with extra barbecue sauce for dipping. Try Carolina Gold or Blueberry BBQ Sauce for lip-smacking flavor!

Notes

Storing Leftovers
  • Refrigerate: store wrapped ribs in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Leftovers can stay fresh for up to 3-4 days.
  • Freeze for Longer Storage: for longer storage, use a freezer-safe container or wrap leftovers in aluminum foil before placing in a freezer bag.
  • Reheat Safely: when reheating, make sure the ribs safely reach an internal temperature of 165°F. You can reheat them in the oven, microwave, or on the grill until they reach the proper temp.
  • Store Sauce Separately: if possible, store sauce separately. This prevents the meat from becoming soggy during storage and reheating.

Nutrition

Calories: 695kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Sodium: 1059mg | Potassium: 1020mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 53g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 128mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition info is an auto generated estimate.

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Love these ribs and how easy this recipe is. It's always confusing when they change the temperature of the smoker so I like that this stays 225 degrees the whole time.

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