How Long to Smoke Ribs at 250 Degrees to Perfection – PLUS an Easy Smoked Baby Back Ribs Recipe
A Baby Back Ribs and Spare Ribs How-To
Slow Smoking Spare Ribs Like a Pro
Likely you are reading this article because you want to find an excellent technique to smoke “off the bone tender ribs.” Perhaps you have tried amazing BBQ smoked ribs from a restaurant or friend and now want to learn how to smoke ribs yourself. Well, you are in the right place.
In this article, we are going to teach how to smoke ribs at 250 degrees to perfection. Our 250-degree rib smoking technique will help you cook tender, smoky moist ribs. This recipe and technique work well for cooking spare ribs or baby back ribs.
We all know you have scorched a few racks of ribs, so sit tight, grab a beer and read on. We are about to show you how it is done!
Essential Tools for Smoking Ribs
popular pork rib cuts, Baby Back and Spare Ribs
We released an article explaining every pork cut in detail to educate you on the various pork cuts, how they differ in taste texture, and what cuts work best for grilling, smoking, or braising.
The Intro to Pork Cuts is an excellent guide to learn which pork cuts are best for smoking, grilling, stewing, or braising recipes.
What Are Baby Back Ribs
Baby Back Ribs are also known as Pork Back Ribs: This popular pork cut is one of my favorites cuts to throw on a bbq grill. Pork back ribs ( baby back ribs ) are not as meaty as country-style ribs but are still juicy, tasteful, and require less time to cook. This cut of ribs is obtained from the bottom of the pig’s ribs.
Spare Ribs: Spare ribs are an excellent choice for slow smoking grilling. Spare ribs come from the end of the baby back ribs, making them a bit larger and usually contain cartilage. When these ribs are trimmed are also known as St. Louis Cut Spare Ribs. These rib cuts are meatier and fattier.
What To Watch For When Buying Ribs
- If your goal is to smoke the most delicious and tender ribs, then a fresh cut is crucial. A fresh rack of ribs will have a nice pink tone and good marbling; marbling will affect flavor.
- Slabs with good marbling will be more tasteful and juicier than leaner cuts. Also, leaner cuts will not tenderize as well as fattier rib cuts.
- Whenever I want a good quality pork rib cut and want the convince of having it delivered to my doorsteps, I use Snake River Farms. Snake River Farms offers good quality meat cuts, and I like the convenience of having these quality meats delivered to my front door.
- Whenever I want good smoked ribs, I order a rack from Snake River Farms.
Let’s Prepare the Ribs – Removing the Membrane and Trimming
Should you remove the membrane from the ribs?
Yes, you should and need to remove the membrane from the ribs for the best results and flavor. The membrane doesn’t cook well or taste good. Without it, your ribs will be more flavorful and tender.
Smoked ribs cooked with the membrane on will not taste as good. The membrane is almost like a thin plastic film that prevents heat and smoke from penetrating the ribs.
Another step to preparing your ribs for the smoker is trimming. You need to trim excess fat. Trim any pieces of fat “hanging” or large “chunks” of fat. Trimming excess fat will help smoke penetrate the ribs thoroughly and improve flavor. Excess fat can also burn and ruin the taste of your ribs.
Lastly, you need to seasons the ribs.
When seasoning your pork ribs, I recommend keeping things simple. A nice dry rub of salt and paper will do just fine, but you are always welcome to try your own seasoning and add your own twist.
I have tried rubs with anything from mustard to paprika. They all work and taste good.
I like pork rubs with a good balance of both sugar and savory. Brown sugar helps with caramelization while smoking the ribs, and the savory adds extra flavor.
Again, we all have our taste preferences. Some people prefer Memphis-style BBQ, while others love Texas or Carolina’s style. This rib recipe and technique works well with whatever rub or seasoning you choose.
Let’s Smoke Some Ribs
How To Smoke Baby Back or Spare Ribs – smoking baby back ribs, The Cook.
Smoking pork ribs is not as tricky as smoking briskets, but one still has to follow a few steps to achieve a good result.
The steps below will help you smoke flavorful, tender ribs in a smoker grill.
What temp to smoke ribs?
If you are wondering at what temp to smoke ribs, we prefer smoking ribs at 250F degrees. Preheat, then set your smoker to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you use a Green Egg or Primo Kamado grill, you can also set your kamado grill to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. However, be very careful not to let your kamado’s temperature get above 250 degrees.
Kamados are very efficient, and if the internal grill temperature rises above our favored 250-degree recommendation, you will end with tough pork ribs.
Smoking baby back ribs are all about constant temperature. To get fall off the bone ribs, low and slow smoking at a constant temperature is key.
Pro Tip: Try to remove the ribs from the refrigerator about 45 minutes before smoking them, so they get closer to room temperature. A cold rack of ribs will not cook as fast or as evenly.
Now that your smoker grill is at temp, place your ribs in the smoker. So, how long to smoke ribs? You will cook the ribs for about two hours ( 2 hours ) or about an hour to an hour and a half per pound.
During the 2 hours of cooking, check the ribs once or twice to ensure they are cooking well, not drying or burning.
You can modify the cooking time based on your taste and preferences. Also, keep in mind that a small rack of baby back ribs will not need the full 2 hours.
You want to see some coloring, and the ribs should start looking cooked before moving to step number two. Always use a meat temperature probe to monitor the ribs’ internal temp and knowing when the ribs are done.
Place the ribs in the smoker bone side down. Placing the ribs done side down will help protect the meat and stay moist.
Pro Tip: During the initial 2 hours of the cook, you can make a mix of 1/4 cooking oil and 3/4 apple cider vinegar, pour it in a spray bottle and apply small mists of this mix to the ribs. This homemade bbq meat cocktail will add good flavor and help tenderize the ribs. Shake the bottle and spray the ribs down every 45 minutes or so.
Should I wrap my ribs in aluminum foil when smoking?
Smoking ribs at the appropriate temperature is important, but this step is where the magic happens. We like to see the ribs reach an internal temperature of around 160 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit before wrapping the ribs in aluminum foil.
Wrapping the ribs will help add more flavor and tenderize the ribs. Remove the ribs from the smoker and wrap them in a sheet of aluminum foil.
In an interview conducted by The Texas Monthly with Aaron Franklin, he explains that using aluminum foil “gets things steamy” and is best used in pork butts and ribs.
Make sure you create a nice sealed and tight wrap. I usually add apple juice to the ribs during the wrap, but others add butter and honey to add additional flavors and help braise the ribs in the foil. Apple juice will add great flavor and help tenderize the meat and achieve that fall off the bone texture.
Place the ribs back in the smoker for about an additional hour and thirty minutes.
Unwrap the ribs:
After about one hour and thirty minutes, unwrap the ribs, inspect and if the rack looks good, apply your favorite BBQ sauce and place the rack back in the smoker grill for about 30 more minutes. The additional time in the smoker will conscientiously cure the barbecue sauce onto the meat.
Is pretty safe to assume the ribs will be done after hours in the smoker, but why guess and ruin hours of work. Don’t fly blind; use a temperature probe to make sure the ribs are cooked well. You don’t need anything fancy; a simple meat temperature problem from Amazon will do just fine.
Since we have allowed the ribs to cook low and slow, the ribs should be very tender and easy to probe. We usually look for a final temperature of around 205 to 210 degrees Fahrenheit. The bones should not just fall out, but the meat should feel tender.
Let It Rest:
Remove the ribs from the smoker, let the ribs rest for about 10 to 15 minutes and then get ready to eat!
This is a great method to smoke baby back ribs. We wrote an article on popular methods to smoke ribs which you can read here.
Use a good knife and cut between each rib bone. I find it simpler to slice the ribs the bone side up. You can also add more of your favorite sauce to your smoked ribs and enjoy.
Meat temperature notes: When cooking any meat, please make sure you follow USDA Meat’s recommended temperature. Here is a chart you can use.
Frequent questions from our readers:
How Long To Smoke BABY BACK Ribs
So how long does it take to smoke ribs? Baby back ribs do not have as much meat as other rib cuts, such as spare ribs; however, when smoking ribs at 250 degrees Fahrenheit, you will need to plan for about 4 hours of smoking time. Always follow USDA meat temperature guidelines.
Here is a meat temperature chart you can use as a reference when grilling and smoking meats.
According to the USDA, Pork is considered cooked when its internal temperature is 145 degrees. However, the ribs’ collagen will start to gelatinize at about 165 degrees Fahrenheit when smoking ribs.
So, to get the ribs’ texture right, continue cooking until their internal temperature reaches around 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, the ribs are done.
One Last Word.
Smoking pork ribs is a lot of fun, and the result can be satisfying. Being known as the guy or gal that smokes mean ribs in your neighborhood will make you very popular around your block! This is how long to smoke ribs at 250 degrees f, a simple yet amazing technique to smoke ribs.
Smoked pork is a delicious BBQ dish, but more importantly, enjoy the process, have fun, and enjoy outdoor cooking with your friends and family.
Enjoy Life, Get Grilling!