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Smoking Ribs For Beginners: [How To Do It The Right Way]

Smoking Ribs For Beginners: [How To Do It The Right Way]

Fall-off-the-bone tender, juice, and mouth-melting ribs are what every BBQ enthusiast dreams to achieve when cooking ribs. While smoking ribs for the first time can be challenging, you will always get it right if you take the time to acquaint yourself with the necessary skills.

  • Prepare the ribs well for the smoker and smoke the ribs at a low temperature while unwrapped for 3 hours
  • The second phase is to smoke at a low heat wrapped in aluminum foil
  • Last, smoke the ribs unwrapped with your favorite sauce for an hour to impart flavor.

Although knowing the procedures to follow when smoking ribs is essential to making them delicious, it is also important to understand that the quality of the ribs will always have a significant impact on the entire process. Read on for more essential tricks on smoking ribs for beginners.

smoking ribs

Smoking Baby Back Ribs For Beginners

There are several methods that you can embrace when smoking baby back ribs. One of them is 3-2-1. If it is your first time smoking ribs, the following instructions will be helpful when it comes to smoking ribs for beginners.

1. Smoke The Ribs For 3 Hours

Once the baby back ribs are well-prepared and seasoned, they are ready for cooking. Start by smoking them over low heat for three hours. You can use either cherry or apple wood for the best results. However, other woods, such as hickory and alder, can do well. It all depends on your taste and preference.

2. Wrap For 2 Hours

After the ribs have cooked for 3 hours, the next step is to wrap them in either aluminum foil or butcher paper before adding the sauces of your choice. You can use a tablespoon of butter mixed with dark brown sugar or apple cider. Cook the ribs at 225-250 degrees F for two more hours.

3. Sauce And Smoke For 1 Hour

The last step is to baste the ribs with your favorite BBQ sauces and allow them to cook for another hour. The resulting ribs will be a sticky, sweet, and savory meal you will enjoy with friends or family.

Smoking Pork Ribs for Beginners

Smoking pork ribs is easy as long as you have all the necessary ingredients and know the procedure.

The Essential Ingredients

  • Pork ribs
  • Apple cider
  • Brown sugar
  • Salted butter
  • BBQ sauce

How To Smoke Pork Ribs

To make delicious pork ribs, you only need to follow these steps, and you will have a delightful meal.

1. Remove The Membrane

Removing the membrane from the rib is an important part of its preparation. Removing the membrane makes it easy for the seasoning to penetrate well into the meat. Place the ribs flat and use your knife to remove the membrane.

2. Prepare The Dry Rub

The dry rub is significant in enhancing the meat’s flavor, which is why you should ensure that you get it right. Mix the dry rub ingredients in a small bowl and keep the mixture ready for the next step.

3. Apply Mustard

Slather the pork ribs with the mustard, ensuring that the mustard well covers every part of the pork. The significance of the mustard is to help the dry rub to stick to the ribs.

4. Apply The Dry Rub

After applying the mustard, it is time to apply the dry rub. When applying the dry rub, ensure that the dry rub thoroughly covers every part of the ribs for heightened flavor.

5. Prepare Your Smoker

Set your smoker to 180-200 degrees F. For pork ribs, you can use a blend of hickory, maple, and cherry for a perfect smoky flavor. The wood you use highly depends on your taste and preference. Place the ribs on the smoker, close the lid and let the ribs cook for three hours.

6. Get Your Basting Ingredients Ready

The basting ingredients include brown sugar, apple cider, and melted butter. Combine them in a jar. After the ribs have cooked for three hours, put them on heavy-duty aluminum foil and use a meat brush to paste the ribs. Wrap the paste ribs in foil.

7. Cook For Additional Two Hours

The next step is to put the pork ribs back into the smoker and cook them for another 2 hours. After hours, carefully transfer the ribs onto your work surface and unwrap the foil with caution, so you do not burn yourself.

Unwrap the bone-tender ribs and brush them with your BBQ sauce before putting them back on the grill. Close the lid on the smoker and let them cook for an additional hour. After one hour, you can let the ribs rest before slicing and serving.

Smoking Beef Ribs For Beginners

Smoking beef ribs for beginners is similar to smoking other ribs. The 3-2-1 technique described above will work fine.

After seasoning the beef ribs, cook them for 3 hours in the smoke before wrapping them in a heavy-duty foil, applying your favorite dry rub, and then letting the ribs cook for another two hours. Lastly, unwrap the ribs, paste them and cook them for an additional hour before slicing.

Nonetheless, whether you are cooking beef or pork ribs, the following tips will be necessary to prepare a delicious meal.

1. Remove The Membrane

Most people do not spare time to remove the membrane because they do not understand the significance of the process. While removing the membrane might appear as a time-wasting process, it is essential as it makes it easy for the seasoning to penetrate, elevating the taste of the ribs.

Again, the thin membrane on the ribs does not break even after cooking and can be chewy. Hence it is a good idea to always remove it when preparing the ribs.

2. Start By Seasoning The Bone Side Before The Meat Side

Proper seasoning of the ribs is essential in making them more flavorful. It is a good idea to start seasoning the bone before moving to the meat side. This is because it allows the seasoning to penetrate deeper into the ribs without falling back. Again, when seasoning the ribs, ensure you get all the parts.

3. Put The Ribs In The Fridge For 30 Minutes

After seasoning the ribs, put them into the Fridge for 30 minutes before you start smoking them. When you start smoking the ribs as cold as possible, give them plenty of time to absorb the smoke and develop a nice bark.

ribs bbq

4. Do Not Paste Too Soon.

After smoking the ribs for some hours, you must paste them with your favorite sauces. You should avoid pasting the ribs too soon, as that will interfere with the crust. The best time to mop the ribs is when it has one hour to cook.

5. Foil Or Butcher Paper

While either the foil or the butcher paper can work fine, it is important to understand that the kind of ribs you are cooking will influence your choice. Also, the time that you wrap the ribs is quite important. For most BBQ enthusiasts, the right time to wrap the ribs is after cooking them for three hours.

6. Ensure That You Have All The Necessary Equipment

Lastly, for a smooth cooking experience, ensure you have everything you need to complete the cooking process successfully. When you have everything you need, you will focus on the cooking process, avoiding making costly mistakes.

You would require the smoker, mop brush, basting brush, aluminum foil, barbecue sauce, yellow mustard, and butter.


The best method to smoke ribs is the 3-2-1 method. It always leads to a tender and mouth watering dish. All you need is to ensure that you buy quality ribs and adhere to the instructions mentioned above. You can also read smoking ribs for beginners recipes to sharpen your skills.