Smoked St. Louis Ribs are the perfect blend of sweet, smoky, and savory, and they’re sure to be a hit at your next cookout! This recipe is easy to follow and yields ribs that are tender, juicy, and full of flavor.
This classic BBQ dish is a crowd-pleaser, and for good reason – the meat is tender, juicy, and full of flavor thanks to a combination of dry rubs, spritzes, and a slow and low smoke on the pellet smoker.
While it may seem daunting at first, with the right equipment and a bit of practice, even beginners can master this recipe. To make these smoked St. Louis-style ribs, you’ll need a few key pieces of equipment, including a pellet grill or smoker, BBQ tongs, a sharp knife, and a meat thermometer. However, don’t let the equipment list scare you – once you have everything you need, the process of smoking food yourself is straightforward and fun.
This smoked st. louis ribs recipe is perfect for anyone looking to take their BBQ game to the next level. It’s a bit more involved than your typical grilled burgers and hot dogs, but the end result is well worth the effort.
Plus, with the right techniques and tips, anyone can make mouthwatering smoked St. Louis-style ribs that will have everyone asking for seconds. So fire up the pellet smoker, grab your BBQ tongs, and get ready to become a backyard BBQ hero with this amazing recipe!
What are St. Louis-Style Ribs?
St. Louis-style ribs are a type of pork rib that has become very popular in the United States. This cut of meat comes from the lower part of the meat side of the pig’s rib cage and is different from other types of pork ribs due to its preparation and trimming process.
St. Louis-style ribs are cut from spare ribs, which are the larger, meatier ribs that come from the belly of the pig. To create St. Louis-style spare ribs recipe, butchers remove the rib tips and the breastbone which creates a rectangular shape that is easier to cook and serve. This also results in a higher meat-to-bone ratio, which is one of the reasons why this cut of meat is so popular.
Because St. Louis-style ribs are meatier and have a higher fat content than other types of ribs, they are often slow-cooked over low heat to ensure that they become tender and flavorful. This slow-cooking process can take several hours and is often done on a smoker or grill. The result is juicy and flavorful smoked pork ribs that are perfect for serving with favorite BBQ sauce and your favorite sides.
How To Make Smoked St. Louis Ribs
Step 1: Preheat the smoker to 225°F
Before you start, make sure your pellet smoker is preheated to 225°F. This temperature is perfect for slow-smoking ribs and will give you the best results. If you’re using a pellet smoker, make sure to fill the hopper with pellets and turn it on to preheat.
Step 2: Make Dry Rub
The dry rub is an essential part of the smoking process. It adds flavor and texture to the ribs. Combine all the ingredients for the dry rib rub in a small bowl and whisk them together until well-mixed. Set the dry rub aside for later use.
Step 3: Make Spritzing Liquid
The spritzer is used to keep the ribs moist during the smoking process. Combine all the ingredients for the spritzer in a spray bottle and shake it well to mix them together. Set the spritzer aside for later use.
Step 4: Prepare Ribs
Before seasoning the ribs, you need to prepare them by removing any excess fat and the membrane from the back of the ribs. Use a sharp knife to carefully trim any excess fat from the ribs. Then, using a butter knife or a paper towel, remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. This will make the ribs more tender and allow the seasoning to penetrate the meat.
Step 5: Season Ribs
Now it’s time to season the ribs. First, apply a thin layer of brown mustard all over both sides of the ribs. This will help the rub mixture to adhere to the meat. Then, generously coat the ribs with the dry rub mixture, making sure to cover both sides evenly. This will create a beautiful crust on the ribs as they smoke.
Step 6: Smoked for 2 hours Uninterrupted
Place the seasoned ribs directly on the smoker grate, making sure to leave some space between them. Close the lid and smoke the ribs uninterrupted for 1.5-2 hours. This will allow the full smokey flavor to penetrate the meat and infuse it with flavor.
Step 7: Begin Spritzing Every 45 Minutes
After 2 hours of smoking, it’s time to start spritzing the ribs with the apple cider mixture. This will keep the ribs moist and prevent them from drying out. Spritz the ribs every 45 minutes for another 3-4 hours. This will help to develop a beautiful bark on the outside of the ribs.
Step 8: Coat Ribs in BBQ Sauce
After about 3-4 hours of cooking time, it’s time to add some BBQ sauce to the ribs. Brush the barbecue sauce on both sides of the ribs and continue smoking. Make sure to check the temperature often using a meat thermometer. The ribs are done when they reach an internal temperature of 190°F.
Step 9: Remove Ribs From the Smoker
Once the ribs have reached the desired internal temperature, remove smoked st. louis ribs from the smoker and let them rest for 15 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute, making the meat more tender and juicy. It can be tempting to cut into the ribs right away but trust us, the wait is worth it.
Step 10: Serve & Enjoy!
After the smoked st. louis ribs have rested, it’s time to slice and serve them. Cut the ribs into individual portions and serve with BBQ sauce on the side. You can also add some extra rub seasoning on top for an extra flavor boost.
How To Tell When Smoked St. Louis Ribs Are Done
Knowing when your smoked St. Louis ribs are done is crucial to achieving that perfect, juicy, and tender meat. There are a few ways to determine if your ribs are ready to come off the smoker and onto your plate.
Firstly, checking the internal temperature of the ribs is the most reliable way to ensure they are cooked properly.
Pork ribs are done when they reach an internal temperature of 190°F. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature at the thickest part of the ribs. This will give you an accurate reading of the meat’s doneness.
Bend & Crack Test
In addition to checking the internal temperature, you can also use the bend test to determine if your ribs are ready.
Grab the ribs carefully using tongs and lift them up slightly. If the ribs “bend” or droop a bit, they’re probably done. This is a good indication that the meat is tender and has cooked long enough.
Another sign to look for when performing the bend test is cracking. When testing for the bend, if the surface of the ribs cracks slightly, this usually means the meat has reached its peak tenderness and flavor.
Pull Off The Bone
Lastly, though St. Louis ribs do not fall off the bone, they say tender ribs should pull off the bone easily. If the rib meat is still sticking to the bone, it needs more time on the smoker.
Once the ribs meet all of these criteria, you can feel confident they are ready to remove from the heat and serve.
Remember to let them rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving. This allows the juices to redistribute and makes for more tender and juicy meat.
Best Beer To Serve With Smoked St. Louis Ribs
When pairing beer with smoked St. Louis-style ribs, there are a few options that will take your taste buds to the next level. Here are the top 3 types of beer that pair perfectly with this rib recipe:
This beer style is perfect for pairing with smoked ribs because it has a rich maltiness that can stand up to the strong flavors of the meat.
The sweetness of the malt complements the savory flavors of the rub, and the beer’s carbonation helps cut through the meat’s richness. Plus, the beer’s caramel and toffee notes can enhance the BBQ sauce’s sweetness.
If you’re looking for a beer that can hold its own against the bold flavors of the smoked ribs, an IPA is the way to go. The bitterness in the beer helps to cut through the fattiness of the meat, while the hoppy flavors can bring out the spiciness in the rub. The pine and citrus notes in the beer can also complement the smoky flavors of the ribs.
This style of beer has a nutty caramel flavor that pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the BBQ sauce. The beer’s malty richness can also help balance out the ribs’ smokiness, while its subtle sweetness can bring out the flavors of the rub and hot sauce.
The carbonation in the beer can also help to cleanse your palate between bites, making every bite taste as good as the first.
Related Recipes of Smoked St. Louis Ribs
Smoked St. Louis Ribs
- Smoker Pellets
- BBQ Grill Accessories (tongs, basting brush, etc.)
- Aluminum foil
- 1 rack St. Louis-style ribs
- 4 tbsp 4 tbsp yellow or brown mustard
- 2 tbsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 2 tbsp butter (melted)
- 1 cup apple cider (or 1:1 apple juice to apple cider vinegar)
- Preheat the smoker to 225°F
- Combine all of the ingredients for the dry rub in a small bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.
- Combine the ingredients for the spritzer in a spray bottle. Shake to combine and set aside.
- Prepare ribs by trimming any excess fat and removing the membrane from the back of the ribs.
- Season the ribs by first, rubbing a thin layer of brown mustard all over both sides of the ribs. Then, generously coat with the rub mixture.
- Place ribs directly on the smoker grate and smoke uninterrupted for 1.5-2 hours.
- After 2 hours, begin spritzing the ribs with the apple cider mixture every 45 minutes for another 3-4 hours.
- After about 3-4 hours of cooking time, coat ribs in BBQ sauce and continue smoking, checking the temperature often until the ribs near the final internal temperature of 190°F.
- Remove the ribs from the smoker and let them rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
- Serve ribs with BBQ sauce on the side.
Smoked St. Louis Ribs FAQs
What are St. Louis-style ribs?
St. Louis-style ribs are a type of pork rib that is cut from pork spare ribs, and prepared by removing the rib tips and breastbone, resulting in a rectangular shape that is easier to cook and serve.
How do I prepare Smoked St. Louis ribs?
To prepare St. Louis-style ribs, start by removing the membrane from the bone side of the ribs. Then, season the ribs with a dry rub or marinade and smoke them over low heat for several hours until they are tender and flavorful.
How long do I smoke St. Louis-style ribs?
St. Louis-style ribs should be smoked for 1.5-2 hours uninterrupted, and then spritzed with a mixture of apple cider and other ingredients every 45 minutes for an additional 3-4 hours.
What temperature should St. Louis-style ribs be cooked to?
St. Louis-style ribs should be cooked to an internal temperature between 185 and 190 degrees F to ensure that they are fully cooked and tender.
What kind of wood should I use for smoked St. Louis ribs?
Hickory, apple, and cherry wood are all popular choices for St. Louis-style ribs, as they impart a delicious smoky flavor that complements the meat.
Can I cook smoked St. Louis ribs in the oven?
Yes, St. Louis-style ribs can be cooked in the oven. To do so, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and roast the ribs for 2-3 hours until they are tender and fully cooked.
How do I know when Smoked St. Louis ribs are done?
St. Louis-style ribs are done when they reach an internal temperature between 185 and 190 degrees F. Other signs to look for are bending when lifted on one end, or a slightly cracked surface when bent.
What kind of BBQ sauce should I use with Smoked St. Louis ribs?
Any type of BBQ sauce can be used with St. Louis-style ribs, but a sweet and tangy sauce typically pairs well with ribs smoke and the smoky and savory flavors of the meat.
What should I serve with St. Louis-style ribs?
St. Louis-style ribs are often served with classic BBQ sides such as coleslaw, baked beans, cornbread, or potato salad.