How long to smoke ribs? Small Guide to prepare delicious Barbecue Pork Ribs at home

how long to smoke ribs
Source: Chowhound

It has been a long since all your favourite restaurants have temporarily shut down due to lockdown. But, this does not mean you cannot fashion and enjoy your famous barbecue pork ribs at home within a few hours of craving. From how long to smoke ribs to how to use a smoker for preparing them? First time pork rib chefs may have got many questions. Wait until you read this easy-to-cook Guide for Barbecue unique pork rib, and you will no longer be missing your favourite main course food places. So, without any further ado, commence with the first and most significant question: 

How long to smoke ribs? 

Smoking ribs for beginners can be a bit challenging. The reason being, ribs appear sensitive because of all the thick skin and soft texture. However, it can take a good six hours for ribs to smoke perfectly with a juicy flavour inside.

how long to smoke ribs
Source: Taste of home

More often than not, the timeline for how long to smoke ribs also depends on the type of smoker you are using. In many cases, beginners also try to smoke ribs in the oven. It takes only 3 hours (on a rough examination) to smoke ribs in an oven, to the reader’s surprise. Sounds like a good idea? Well! Let’s decide by viewing the following two different methods to smoke ribs – in a smoker and an oven. Are you thrilled? If yes, let’s take a glance: 

Method 1: How to smoke ribs in a smoker? 

Smoking ribs for beginners is hours of process, and every new trick comes up throughout the procedure. So, if you are smoking ribs for the first time at home without any professional’s help, don’t dishearten! You are going to do a great job by using the following stepwise Guide. Before we go ahead, it is recommendable that you clean the smoker beforehand due to the COVID-19 widespread, to be on the safe side. Now, let’s begin: 

STEP 1: Collect all the ingredients

List of ingredients for smoking purposes: 
  • Traditional smoker (suitable for barbecue)
  • Fuel (since it is six hours smoking process, assure you have enough)
  • Woodchucks (to adjust the heat or temperature from time to time)
  • Meat thermometer (to check whether the temperature is enough or beyond limit)
  • Aluminium foil (high-quality because heat is going to be extended)
  • Meat-cutting knife
Source: Pinterest
List of ingredients to prepare the dish:
  • Box of ribs
  • Rib rub (for seasoning)
  • Barbecue sauce (optional) – if you don’t want traditional barbecue seasoned ribs.

Step 2: Get your smoker ready and steady / how to prepare a smoker for ribs?

It is an essential step. Once you have accumulated all the ingredients, you must prepare the smoker beforehand because it requires heating a specific temperature level. If you prepare the ribs first, you will have to wait for an extra hour to get the smoker ready. In the meantime, there’s a chance of spoiled seasoning because of excess humidity. So, here’s how to prepare an electric smoker? 

To begin with, set up your smoker with a temperature equivalent to 225 Fahrenheit or 110-degree celsius. It will probably take an hour for the smoker to reach this kind of high temperature. 

Source: Studio 5

Also, on the side, keep the wood chunks ready to go into the smoker. It helps to give a smokey taste, texture, and scent to the ribs. It also helps barbecue sauce to settle in. 

STEP 3: Prepare the Ribs for Smoking

For the most part, smoking ribs for beginners is tricky. The beginner cook may not figure out which step to focus on the most. But, in our opinion, this step is as crucial as the next one. From buying ribs to prepare them, you have to be very careful at moments. So, here’s how to prepare the ribs: 

Buying Ribs: 

While purchasing ribs at the store or online, you must ensure that it is a whole rack rib with thickness at both ends. Otherwise, a combination of thin and thick surfaces may create an imbalance. Not only this, but this odd combination will require you to adjust the smoker’s temperature many times throughout the process. Spoiler Alert: It can be challenging to find ribs with an equivalent thickness on both sides. Thus, you can go to buy the odd combination if the difference is negligible. 

Prepare ribs for smoking:
  • Start off by trimming the irregular edges of the ribs. Make sure the surface and sides are all flat without any bumps or lumps. 
  • Please make certain that you cut or trim all loose pieces of meat (skin). Otherwise, it will give your ribs a dry surface. 
  • Now, take a knife and remove the membrane on the ribs. If you do not remove the membrane, juices will not fill in the entire rib, and you won’t receive a traditional taste. 

STEP 4: Apply Rub for seasoning the meat

It is one of the most tempting parts of smoking ribs. That’s right! If you love a spicy rib or want to give it a juicy taste, you will love this step. To begin with, there are various flavours of rib rub available in the market. You can choose from spicy, sour, to sweet, depending on your taste and preference. More often, first-time cooks bound themselves with limits while applying Rub on the rib. However, if you want your rib to be spicy or flavoured at a high or medium level, do not be a cheapskate. Apply enough rub to cover the entire rib. The reason being, during the smoking process, the Rub (or seasoning) dilutes first. Thus, the flavour remains at risk of compromise. 

Source: Once Upon A Chef

You can use a shaker to apply Rub on the rib rack. Or, you can also use your hands to do so. Please ensure that you sterilize your hands before you apply Rub on the Rub using hands. Or, prefer to wear cooking gloves. Apart from this, if you are sensitive to raw and dry spices that sometimes enter your nose, do not forget to wear a mask. 

At last, please make sure that the entire rib has been covered with Rub. 

STEP 5: Smoke Ribs

Now that your ribs are ready to go on the smoker, why wait? So, carry the rack of ribs carefully without disturbing the seasoning over it. Place the ribs in the dead center of the smoker. Accurate placing help to keep the required airflow coming for ribs. 

What to do if the smoker is small or medium-sized?

In many cases, the ribs are more enormous (for some reason, like guests are coming). But, if your smoker is small, you can simply buy a rack. A rack for ribs allows you to successfully fit the rib on a closed surface without disturbing the seasoning. Now, use your hands or a couple of spatulas to place the rack of ribs together smoothly. It protects the ribs from burning at the rack’s end. 

STEP 6: Wrap the Ribs – how long to smoke ribs before you wrap them?

It is an optional step. No matter how many restaurants you research for how long to smoke ribs, the wrapping method, i.e.., the 3-2-1 method, is universally followed. According to this method, the wrapping and unwrapping process goes on throughout the smoking process like this: 

  • 3 hours smoking of ribs (unwrapped)
  • 2 hours smoking of ribs (wrapped in aluminium foil)
  • 1 hour of smoking ribs (unwrapped at the end)

This method allows you to cook the ribs without the risk of overcooking or burning the sides. Not only this, but this wrapping process also separates the fat of the ribs from the bones. Hence, making it easy to enjoy the meat without all the hustle of dealing with bones. 

STEP 7: Final finishing and detailing

Want to serve pork barbecue ribs at the perfect temperature? You can use a spatula to make certain that the ribs are nearly cooked. At this moment, use wood chunks to decrease the temperature to 75 degrees C. 

In the event that you want to give ribs a crispy touch, you can expose the tender ribs to direct heat using a gas grill. At last, apply barbecue sauce on the surface of the 100% prepared ribs. 

Now, serve these beautifully prepared ribs as you like. 

Method 2: How to smoke ribs using an oven?

It is generally best to use a smoker to prepare smoked ribs. However, smoking for beginners can yet again be tough. Hence, they can be a bit nervous about using an electric smoker. In that case, a baking oven is the next best option to go with. Here’s how to smoke ribs using an oven:

how long to smoke ribs
Source: Spicy and Seasoned
  • Set the oven at 225 degrees C.
  • Season the ribs with dry fruits and other ingredients (like veggies).
  • You can also season it using a spicy Rub for flavour.
  • Take a roasting pan and add some chips to it (in the layer)
  • Now, add water to give the chips a moistening texture.
  • Further, place the rack of ribs in the roasting pan.
  • Take the roasting pan and place it in the oven.
  • How long to smoke ribs? Wait for 2.5 to 3 hours for ribs to thoroughly cook.
  • Use the gas grill to give your ribs a crispy touch, 


Smoked Ribs are simply the best main course for every occasion. Whether you are celebrating a promotion or an engagement, or whatnot, you can always enjoy a place full of smoked ribs and sleep satisfied at night. For more amazing recipes, bookmark us. Thanks for taking this journey with us. 


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