BBQ Smoked Baby Back Ribs are juicy, tender, and fall-off-the-bone delicious. Rub a savory and sweet homemade seasoning on the ribs and smoke them low and slow. Then, coat them with barbecue sauce and put them straight on the grill to get sticky and caramelized.
Go ahead. Lick your fingers.
These delicious ribs will be a hit with all the meat lovers in your life. Whip them up for game day or a backyard barbecue for an instant crowd-pleaser. Whether you’re a first-time or experienced smoker, this bbq ribs recipe is a simple way to wow your friends and family.
Why KJ Loves BBQ Smoked Baby Back Ribs
Who doesn’t love some finger-lickin’ good ribs? I sure do! I love how this recipe checks all the boxes for what good ribs should be: tender, smoky, sweet, salty, sticky and simply irresistible! These ribs are crowd pleasers every time I fire up the smoker. They have even ruined eating out for ribs/bbq – we just want our own! Fire up the smoker and have some lip-smackin’, finger-lickin’ ribs ready to eat in no time!
Buying & Prepping the Ribs
Pork Baby Back Ribs are leaner and more tender than pork spare ribs, which makes them worth every penny!
Make your life easier by asking the butcher to remove the silver skin for you. Silver skin is the thin membrane on the underside of a rack of ribs. Removing it allows all the smokiness and seasoning to get into the pork. If you are removing the silver skin at home, check out this easy resource for getting it done!
How to Smoke BBQ Ribs
Smoking your own ribs can seem daunting, so let’s break it down. This bbq smoked baby back ribs recipe follows a simple 3-2-1 smoking guide. You’ll find that a delicious rack of smoked ribs is surprisingly hassle-free!
01) Rub-down + 3 hrs.
First, give the ribs a good rub-down with some yellow mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and a homemade seasoning blend. They put them straight onto the smoker and leave them alone for 3 hours.
02) Cover in foil + 2 hrs.
Next, transfer the ribs into a foil baking pan, cover it tightly with foil, and stick it back onto the smoker at a higher heat for two more hours.
03) Coat in bbq sauce + 1 hrs.
Then, all that’s left to do is unwrap the ribs from the foil pan, coat them evenly with your choice of bbq sauce, and stick them back onto the smoker grates for another hour. Allowing the ribs to caramelize with the bbq sauce is important to getting sticky, finger-licking good ribs.
And finally, it’s time to eat! I guarantee that you won’t be able to eat just one.
This is one of those moments where I wish we had smell-o-vision because the smell of these bbq ribs smoking away is irresistible! All your neighbors will be jealous with the smell of these ribs wafting through their yards. You’ve been warned.
Whether you are making these ribs for a crowd, as a fun weekend dinner, or just to take a whack at smoking your own ribs, they are guaranteed to disappear before you know it. So make sure you get at least 4-5 on your plate. (This is a judgment-free zone – go for all you can eat!)
Seasoning & Sauce
Yellow mustard adds a zing to the ribs and keeps them juicy. Plus, it aids in the sticky coating that ribs are well-known for.
This gets mixed in with the yellow mustard and adds a depth of flavor to the ribs.
Homemade seasoning blend
A mix of seasoned salt, brown sugar, paprika, and onion powder creates the perfect seasoning blend that is salty, sweet, and smoky.
You can’t have bbq ribs without bbq sauce! My favorite is Sweet Baby Ray’s (perfectly sweet and saucy), but you can use your favorite bottle here. This is also where you could amp up the heat if you prefer a sauce with more spice.
BBQ Smoked Baby Back Ribs Serving Tips
If you are making the ribs ahead of time, you can keep them warm in a slow cooker on the “warm function.” Or you can wrap them in foil and put them in the oven at 200 degrees. (I recommend the oven option only if you need to keep them warm for an hour or so.)
If you are making the ribs a day or two ahead of time, allow them to cool before wrapping them in foil and storing them whole in the refrigerator. Slowly bring them back to a warm serving temperature in a 200-degree oven before slicing and serving.
BBQ Smoked Baby Back Ribs FAQ
What is the 3-2-1 rule for smoking ribs?
The 3-2-1 method results in tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs. First, smoke the ribs for 3 hours. Then, cover the ribs in foil and cook for 2 more hours. Finally, coat the ribs in bbq sauce and cook for 1 more hour directly on the smoker.
How long does it take to smoke BBQ baby back ribs?
Following the 3-2-1 method, you’ll smoke and cook your BBQ baby back ribs for a total of 6 hours.
How long and what temperature do you smoke baby back ribs?
Following the 3-2-1 method, you’ll cook the ribs for a total of six hours at two different temperatures.
First, smoke the baby back ribs for 3 hours at 165 degrees. Then, cover the ribs in foil and cook for 2 hours at 250 degrees. Finally, coat the ribs in bbq sauce and cook for another hour at 250 degrees.
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Thanks for following and cooking along with me!
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Recipe originally posted on September 11, 2019 – updated on September 6, 2022.