Top 5 Smoker Recipes for Ribs

In need of some excellent smoker recipes for ribs to up your grilling game?

Here are some of the best tried and tested smoker recipes for ribs from this blog and around the Internet.

Smoker Recipes for Ribs 1 – Baby Back Ribs 321 Method

Baby back ribs come from the where the ribs connect to the pig’s backbone, and are called ‘baby,’ because they are shorter than spare ribs.

The 321 method for ribs is a classic way to get that delicious fall off the bone, melt in your mouth texture and taste.

You smoke the ribs for 3 hours directly on the grills, then wrap the ribs in foil to smoke for another 2 hours. Finally you remove the foil so that the dry heat of the smoker can help form a crust on the ribs.

The ribs are usually sauced for the last hour, but you can add a finishing sauce at the very end if you want a drier, firmer crust.

This is an easy and effective recipe to help you achieve tender tasty pork ribs.

Smoker Recipes for Ribs 2 – Aaron Franklin’s Beef Short Ribs

This is a cracking classic smoked ribs recipe from BBQ expert Aaron Franklin.

This recipe doesn’t call for wrapping the ribs, as they are cooked for such a long time.

The ribs are brushed with hot sauce and then smoked over oak or hickory for 8-9 hours at 285°F until an internal temp of 203°F.

You’ll need a water pan in the smoker too.

You spritz the ribs regularly for the last 2-3 hours with vinegar or water to stop them drying out.

The ribs will feel soft, like melted butter and a little bit jiggly.

Absolute luxury on a plate.

Juicy, melty, beefy and delicious.

The dry rub is a super simple but effective 50/50 mix of salt and pepper.


  • 3- to 5-pound rack of beef short ribs – make sure they are from the plate and not the chuck
  • About 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup Beef Rib Rub – equal parts coarse salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce of your choice

Smoker Recipes for Ribs 3 – Steven Raichlen’s Memphis Style Ribs

This recipe from Barbecue Bible gives you the choice between Baby Back Pork Ribs or Spare Ribs to smoke Memphis style. 

The ribs are marinated for 4-8hours in a flavourful dry rub and then smoked at a medium heat on the smoker grills.

After an hour you can begin to brush the ribs with a mop sauce made of apple cider vinegar, mustard and salt.

15 minutes or so before the ribs are done they are covered in more dry rub.

The ribs are done when the meat is very tender and has shrunk back from the end of the bones.

Ingredients for the Dry Rub

  • Cumin
  • Brown sugar 
  • Celery salt 
  • Cayenne pepper 
  • Garlic powder 
  • Dry mustard 
  • Paprika
  • Salt and black pepper

Smoker Recipes for Ribs 4 Chef Billy Parisi’s St Louis Style Ribs

This fantastic smoked recipe for spare ribs involves the 321 method mentioned above, with BBQ sauce and butter being added when the ribs are wrapped after 3 hours.

You start by brushing your spare ribs with mustard and then applying a simple but tasty dry rub.

After 1 hour of smoking you will need to spritz the ribs 8-10 times with a mixture of apple juice, cider vinegar and water. Then repeat every half hour or so.

The ribs are smoked at 240-250°F for around 6 hours altogether.

BBQ sauce is served on the side rather than putting it on during the end of the smoke.

The dry rub is quite simple but tasty.

Dry Rub

  • 2 tablespoons of paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic granules
  • 1 tablespoon of onion granules
  • 2 tablespoons of black pepper

Smoker Recipes for Ribs 5 Kalbi Korean Short Ribs

The garlicky, gingery & fruity Korean flavours in the rib marinade are so tasty you might find yourself making this your go to ribs recipe.

The short ribs are marinated overnight, but this is a short smoke at a high heat, so there’s not so much to do on the day.

The ribs are cooked in the smoker at 450-550°F for around 3-4 minutes per side.

Served with sesame seeds and scallions.

Just so delicious.

Marinade Ingredients

  • ½ peeled kiwi
  • ½ peeled yellow onion
  • 1 peeled and seeded Fuji apple
  • 5 large garlic cloves peeled
  • 1 teaspoon of peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 peeled & seeded Asian pear
  • 1 cup of soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of mirin
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

These ingredients are all blitzed in a blender and then used to marinate the ribs.

Smoker Recipes for Ribs

FAQ’s About Smoker Recipes for Ribs

221 Method Ribs

The 221 method for ribs works best with Baby Back Ribs because they are smaller than Spare Ribs or Beef Short Ribs. It involves smoking the ribs for 2 hours unwrapped, 2 hours wrapped in foil/butcher’s paper, and a final hour on the smoker sauced to create a bark.

There are some who think the 321 Method for Ribs is too long and overcooks the ribs. We recommend the 321 method for beginners, but it’s always best to experiment, get used to your smoker, and keep in mind that internal temperature is the final decider for when your ribs are ready.

321 Method Ribs

The 321 Method for Ribs is often used by Pitmasters and BBQ competitors to smoke ribs. For bigger, fattier rib cuts such as Spare Ribs it works particularly well. For the smaller Baby Back Ribs which have less fat, you could try the 221 ribs method.

In the end these methods are a useful guide but every smoke is different, and you need a meat thermometer to make sure your ribs are properly cooked.

Internal Temp for Ribs

Cook your pork ribs to an internal temperature of 195-200°F. Beef ribs should be cooked to an internal temp of 200-205°F.

You may also enjoy this article on ‘Dry Rub for Ribs.

If you enjoyed this article you could also try our ‘Best Smoked Pork Butt Recipes.’

Or our ‘Best Smoked Chicken Wings Recipes.’

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