Smoked Baby Back Ribs are the perfect dish to impress your friends and family at your next barbecue or gathering. The smoky flavor and tender meat will have everyone coming back for seconds!
Table of contents
This recipe is designed for those with some experience in smoking meats and using a pellet smoker. However, with the right equipment and a little patience, even a beginner can create a rib feast to remember. You’ll need a good quality pellet smoker, BBQ tongs, a sharp knife, and a meat thermometer to ensure that your ribs are cooked to perfection.
The process of smoking baby back ribs is a bit of a time commitment, but the end result is well worth the wait. The smoky flavor from the hickory wood pellets, combined with the spicy and sweet rub, creates a mouth-watering taste that is hard to resist. And the juicy, tender meat will melt in your mouth.
So fire up that pellet smoker and let’s get started! These smoked baby back ribs are sure to be a hit at your next barbecue and will have everyone begging for the recipe. Get ready to become the BBQ hero of your neighborhood!
Overview: Smoked Baby Back Ribs
With just a few simple steps, you’ll be on your way to becoming a backyard BBQ hero. Here’s the most important information you need to know to make this recipe a success.
- Smoke baby back ribs cooked to perfection on a pellet smoker using hickory wood pellets
- Preheat smoker to 275°F and smoke ribs for 1 hour, then spritz with apple cider vinegar every 30 minutes until internal temperature reaches 200°F
- Total cooking time: 4-5 hours, including 15-minute rest before serving
What Are Baby Back Ribs?
Baby back ribs, also known as pork loin ribs, are a popular cut of meat for barbecuing and smoking.
They are cut from the top of the pig’s ribcage, close to the spine, and are shorter and more curved than other cuts of ribs, such as pork spare ribs. Because of their location on the pig, baby back ribs are leaner and more tender than other cuts, making them a favorite among BBQ enthusiasts.
The meat on baby back ribs is lean, yet flavorful, and is surrounded by a thin layer of fat that helps to keep the ribs moist during cooking.
When prepared correctly, the meat should be tender and fall off the bone, while still having a nice smoky flavor.
Baby back ribs are best cooked using a low and slow cooking method, such as smoking, to help break down the collagen in the ribs and make them tender.
Be sure to use a generous amount of dry rub or marinade to help build flavor, and always let the ribs rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
Memphis Style Ribs
Memphis-style ribs are a popular variation of baby back ribs that originated in the barbecue capital of the world, Memphis, Tennessee. They are known for their tender, juicy meat, and delicious, smoky flavor. There are also another variation called St. louis style ribs.
Memphis-style ribs are typically rubbed with a blend of spices and slow-smoked over hickory or other hardwoods to infuse the meat with a rich, smoky flavor.
Unlike other styles of ribs, Memphis-style ribs are usually not sauced during cooking, allowing the flavor of the rub and smoke to shine through.
The result is a delicious, flavorful rib that is a staple at many BBQ restaurants and competitions in Memphis and around the country.
If you’re a fan of ribs and looking for a classic, smoky flavor, Memphis-style ribs are definitely worth trying. And this recipe for smoked baby back ribs is a perfect place to start!
How To Make Baby Back Ribs
- Preheat the Pellet Smoker
Before you start smoking the baby back ribs, it is important to make sure your pellet smoker is properly preheated to the desired temperature. In this recipe, we recommend using hickory wood pellets for a delicious, smoky flavor.
Set the temperature on your pellet smoker to 275°F and allow it to preheat for at least 10-15 minutes before adding the ribs to the smoker grate. This will help ensure that the smoker is at a consistent temperature throughout the cooking process.
- Prepare The Ribs
Preparing the ribs by removing the membrane from the back of the baby back ribs is a crucial step in ensuring that the rub and smoke penetrate the meat properly.
To remove the membrane, simply use a butter knife to loosen one corner, then use a paper towel to grip it and gently pull it away from the meat in one piece. If you are having trouble with this step, don’t worry – it takes some practice, but you’ll get the hang of it in no time.
- Prepare The Dry Rub
The dry rub is what gives the smoked baby back ribs their amazing flavor. In this recipe, we suggest combining all of the ingredients for the dry rub in a medium bowl and mixing until well combined. Then, generously season all sides of the ribs.
This rub is so amazing that you don’t need to add any barbecue sauce at all. It will add flavor and also create a delicious crust on the surface of the ribs as they smoke.
- Smoke Ribs
Once the ribs are seasoned, it’s time to place them on the smoker grate, meat-side up. Make sure to place the racks of ribs far enough apart on the smoker grate so that the smoke can circulate around each one. Then, close the lid and allow the ribs to smoke for one hour uninterrupted.
- Spritz Every 30 Minutes
After one hour of smoking, prepare your spritzing liquid by combining equal parts apple juice and apple cider vinegar. Then, spritz the ribs every 30 minutes for the remainder of the cooking time.
The spritzing liquid will help to add moisture to the ribs, keep them from drying out, and also help to create a delicious, tangy flavor.
- Continue Smoking Ribs
For the remainder of the cooking time, continue smoking the ribs, spritzing every 30 minutes, until the internal temperature of the ribs reaches 200°F.
This could take anywhere from 4-5 hours. It is important to monitor the internal temperature of the ribs using a meat thermometer to ensure that they are fully cooked and safe to eat.
Be sure not to hit any bones while taking the temperature as this could give you a false read.
- Let The Cooked Ribs Rest
Once the internal temperature of the ribs has reached 200°F, remove them from the smoker and let them rest for 15 minutes. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and prevent the ribs from drying out when you slice them.
- Season & Serve
Just before serving, season the ribs with the dry rub one more time. This will give the ribs an extra burst of flavor and help to create a delicious crust on the surface.
Serve the delicious, tender smoked baby back ribs with your favorite sides, and enjoy!
How To Tell When Baby Back Ribs Are Ready
To know when your baby back ribs are ready, there are a few signs to look for. Here are four things to keep in mind:
- The meat should start to pull away from the bones about 1/4 inch. This means the bone ribs will be exposed by about 1/4 inch.
- Check the color of the ribs. They should turn dark brown, which shows that they are fully smoked and cooked.
- Pick up the ribs with tongs. If they bend easily and the top starts to fall apart, then they are most likely ready.
- Use a food thermometer. Stick it into the thickest part of the ribs and look for a temperature of around 200°F. But be careful not to hit the bones!
By looking for these signs, you’ll know when your baby back ribs are ready to be taken off the smoker and enjoyed!
Tips For Making Baby Back Ribs
When it comes to smoking baby back ribs, there are a few important tips to keep in mind to ensure that your ribs come out perfectly cooked and full of flavor.
Whether you’re a seasoned smoker or just starting out, these tips will help you get the most out of your recipe and impress your friends and family with your BBQ skills.
Choose the right wood pellets: Different wood pellets will give your ribs different flavors. For Memphis-style ribs, hickory is a popular choice, but you can also experiment with other types of hardwoods such as mesquite, oak, or pecan for a different taste.
Be patient: Slow cooking is key to achieving the perfect tender, juicy ribs. Don’t be tempted to speed up the cooking process by raising the temperature, as this can cause the ribs to dry out.
Don’t forget to spritz: Spritzing the ribs every 30 minutes helps to keep the meat moist and adds a subtle tangy flavor. Use a mixture of apple juice and apple cider vinegar for the best results.
Let the ribs rest: After removing the ribs from the smoker, let them rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving. This allows the meat to reabsorb its juices, resulting in a more flavorful and juicy rib.
Best Beer To Pair With Baby Back Ribs
When it comes to pairing the perfect beer with your delicious smoked baby back ribs, the options are endless! But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with the top three beer styles that complement this savory dish.
American Amber Ale
American Amber Ales are a great choice for pairing with smoked baby back ribs. With their medium-bodied sweetness and a slightly nutty and malty flavor, they complement the rich and savory flavors of the ribs perfectly.
Plus, the subtle hop bitterness helps to cleanse your palate between bites, making your taste buds ready for another bite of ribs!
A nice, nutty brown ale with a slightly sweet and malty flavor can be the perfect complement to a delicious rack of baby back ribs.
The sweet and nutty notes in the brown ale help to balance out the smoky, spicy, and slightly sweet flavors of the ribs, while the medium-bodied texture of the ale is the perfect match for the juicy and tender meat.
If you’re looking for a bold and flavorful pairing with your smoked baby back ribs meat, a hearty and rich stout is the way to go.
With their dark and robust flavors, stouts are an excellent match for the smoky and slightly sweet flavors of the ribs.
The bold, malty flavor of the stout will help to enhance the flavor of the ribs, making for a truly unforgettable meal.
Whether you opt for a classic dry stout, a creamy and smooth nitro stout, or a bold and boozy imperial stout, you’re sure to enjoy this classic food and drink pairing!
Related Ribs Recipes
Smoked Baby Back Ribs
- Smoker Pellets (hickory) (apple or cherry)
- BBQ Grill Accessories (Tongs) (Tongs)
- 2 racks baby back ribs
- 1/2 cup cup apple juice
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp smoked paprika
- 3 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp celery seed
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- Preheat the Pellet Smoker to 275°F using hickory wood pellets.
- Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs
- Prepare rub by combining all rub ingredients in a medium bowl, then season generously all sides of the ribs
- Place the ribs on the smoker grate, meat-side up, and smoke them for one hour uninterrupted.
- After one hour, prepare your spritzing liquid by combining equal parts apple juice and apple cider vinegar. Spritz the ribs every 30 minutes for the remainder of the cooking time.
- Continue smoking the ribs, spritzing every 30 minutes until the internal temperature of the ribs reaches 200°F. This could take 4-5 hours.
- Once the ribs have reached an internal temperature of 200°F, remove them from the smoker and let them rest for 15 minutes.
- Season the ribs with the dry rub one more time before slicing and serving.
- Serve the delicious, tender smoked baby back ribs with your favorite sides, and enjoy!
Smoked baby Back Ribs FAQs
For this recipe, we recommend to cook ribs using hickory wood pellets for their smoky and slightly sweet flavor that pairs perfectly with the ribs.
While this recipe is specifically designed for a pellet smoker, you can use a traditional smoker or even your oven if you do not have access to a pellet smoker.
The cooking time for smoked baby back ribs can vary, but it typically takes between 4 to 5 hours to reach an internal temperature of 200°F.
For this recipe, it is recommended to spritz the ribs with the apple cider vinegar mixture every 30 minutes after the first hour of smoking.
The membrane on the back of the ribs is a thin, tough layer that can prevent the seasoning and smoke from penetrating the meat. It is important to remove this membrane for the best flavor and texture.
To determine if your ribs are ready, look for an internal temperature of around 200°F using an instant-read probe thermometer.
Additionally, the meat should start to pull away from the bones about 1/4 inch and have a deep mahogany color.
It is recommended to let the ribs rest for at least 15 minutes after removing them from the smoker.
This allows the juices to distribute evenly throughout the meat for maximum tenderness and flavor.
Serve your smoked baby back ribs with your favorite sides, such as baked beans, coleslaw, or garlic mashed potatoes.
Slice the ribs and serve them with additional dry rub and BBQ sauce on the side. Enjoy!