Ribs Roundup: Best Tips and Recipes for Smoky, Tender Ribs


There’s nothing quite like sinking your teeth into a rack of smoky, tender ribs. Ribs are always a crowd-pleaser whether you’re cooking them on the grill or in the smoker.

In this article, we’ll round up the best tips and recipes for smoking up some delicious ribs. We’ll also explain how long you should smoke them, based on how done you want them to be.

The first step is choosing the right ribs. You can go with pork ribs or beef ribs, but it’s hard to beat beef ribs for the best flavor. They can be a little more expensive than pork ribs, but they’re definitely worth it. Pick ribs with some meat on the bone for a better smoking experience. Then, get the membrane off the meat before the next step.

Once you’ve picked out your ribs and removed the membrane, the next step is to season them.

How Should I Season My Ribs?                  

A good dry rub is essential for delicious ribs. There are endless variations on rib rubs, but most are a mixture of salt, pepper, paprika, sugar, chili powder, garlic powder, and onion powder. These are ingredients you probably already have in your pantry or ones you can get easily. Experiment to find the balance you like best.

If you don’t know where to start, we recommend using a Memphis dry rub. This rub offers a blend of flavors that enhances the taste of anything. Use a light coat on your ribs if you don’t like too much heat. You can use this recipe and adjust the ingredients accordingly to get the best out of your rub.

You can also choose from a wide selection of wet rubs and sauces if that’s what you’d prefer. Kansas City-style BBQ sauce is a classic. It’s made with ketchup, vinegar, and brown sugar. This sauce is perfect for slathering on your ribs. This recipe outlines the steps you need to take to end up with a perfect homemade sauce.

Go for a sweet heat sauce if you are looking for something different. This sauce has Asian influences, but it’s still tangy and smoky, making it perfect for cutting through the richness of the ribs.

Which Bradley Bisquettes Give the Best Flavor?

The final flavor of your ribs will depend on the type of wood you choose to use in the smoker. The good news is, you have a wide variety of Bradley Bisquettes to choose from. You can choose strong woods like hickory and oak but be careful because they can overpower your meat and make it bitter.

Mix them with sweeter woods like maple or cherry to make the flavors milder. You can also experiment with different combinations until you find a flavor that works for you.

How Long Should I Smoke My Ribs For?

If done properly, smoking is the best method of preparation guaranteed to give you fall-off-the-bone tender meat. To do that, you need to get the timing and the temperatures right. As a general rule, low and slow smoking will give you the best results. There are two popular methods you can choose from: the 3-2-1 method or the 2-2-1.  

In the first method, you should place your uncovered ribs on the smoker rack and leave them for 3 hours. Remove the ribs from the smoker and wrap them up in foil. Put them back in the smoker for 2 hours. Take them out and unwrap them. Put them back in the smoker and smoke them for one hour. The second method recommends 2 hours unwrapped, 2 wrapped, and 1 unwrapped.

You can use either of these methods, and your ribs will turn out fine. However, it is important to note that these methods will still not give you tender ribs if the temperature is wrong. If you are using frozen ribs, allow them to defrost before beginning your smoking process. Make sure the ribs rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before smoking.

Maintain the smoker’s temperature at 225–240 °F (107–115 °C) throughout the smoking process. This shouldn’t be a problem with a pro-food electric smoker.

Have a good meat thermometer with you throughout the smoking process to keep track of the ribs’ progress. Ribs are generally considered done when the internal temperature holds steady at 190 °F (88 °C).

However, the best way of determining doneness is observing with your eyes. Start checking your ribs after the 6th hour and see how they feel after an additional 30 minutes or so.

Take your ribs out of the smoker when you are satisfied with the doneness level. Allow them to rest and soak in the flavors before digging in.

Now that you know the basics, you can experiment with different ingredients until you find the best for you. Use the tips and recipes above to whip up some homemade smoked ribs that will leave your guests wanting more.

Interested in learning more about ribs? Check out these articles we have prepared for you:
How to Make 3-2-1 Smoked Ribs, and Why You Should Do It
Can You Freeze Smoked Ribs?
Baby Back vs. Spare Ribs: What You Need To Know About Pork Ribs
How to Smoke the Juiciest Beef Ribs

For more great ideas on how to get the most out of your Bradley Smoker, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.