Smoking Ribs for Beginners

Smoking Ribs for Beginners

Posted on: January 17, 2023

All meat lovers agree that smoked ribs are great. However, getting the perfect balance between flavor and texture is one of the hardest things to do as a beginner.

The good news is, with a pro-food smoker, you can practice until you get it right. All you need to do is choose the right wood Bisquettes, season your ribs, and start the smoking process.

If that still sounds like a difficult task, we have outlined what you need to begin your smoking journey below.

The Type of Ribs

Baby back ribs are the perfect type of ribs to make your smoking debut. Although the name implies that they come from a baby animal, they don’t.

They come from the upper spine of the animal. They are smaller than spare ribs, and that’s where they get their name from.

Baby back ribs are more tender and have less fat than spare ribs. They are also more delicious, and that’s why they are preferred.

The first step in preparing the perfect smoked ribs is removing the membrane at the back of the ribs. The membrane does not cook, so if you don’t remove it, your ribs might end up being chewy.

Start at one corner of the ribs to make it faster, holding it with a paper towel and pulling will make the trick. Once you get all the pieces of the membrane off the ribs, season them in to get them ready for smoking.

What Type of Rub Works Best?

There is a wide variety of rubs you can try at the local store. However, like with most things, making your own rub will give you more freedom to experiment. Work with your best spices and herbs to come up with the right blend.

The next step is to apply the rub on the ribs. Don’t apply the rub too deep because it will clog the pores and interfere with smoke absorption. This will work against you because you want the ribs to get as much smoke as they possibly can.

Ensure you also apply the rub uniformly across the ribs. To make it easier, start with the backside and let it rest for at least five minutes before you flip the rack over.

Once all sides are done, leave the ribs in the fridge for 30 minutes to absorb the flavors.

Interested in checking out more information about meat rubs? Look no further than our articles on:
3 Homemade Rubs to take Your Smoked Chicken to the Next Level
Famous Rub Types Paired with Delicious Recipes
What is a Rub, Why and How to Do It?

What Is the Best Wood Type?

The final flavor of your ribs will depend a lot on the type of wood Bisquettes you use in your smoker. There is a wide range of wood flavors to choose from, so you can get as creative as you want.

However, we recommend sticking with one type of wood if you are not very familiar with the process. Milder woods like apple, mesquite, and pecan are popular choices to use with ribs. They are mild, so they will not overpower the meat.

Smoking Timelines and Temperatures

There are different recipes out there with specific details down to the last minute you should smoke your ribs. The 3-2-1 and the 2-2-1 methods are the most popular methods.

In either case, the goal is to get tender ribs. This means you have to smoke them slowly at a low temperature. Set your smoker to 225°F (107°C) and set the ribs on the smoker racks.

Close the door of the smoker to ensure it is not losing heat. Also, ensure there are enough wood Bisquettes in the smoker before you start smoking, each one will smoke for 20 minutes.

The 2-2-1 one method works well with uncovered ribs. Place the uncovered ribs on the smoker rack and leave them for 2 hours. Remove them from the smoker after that and wrap them in aluminum foil.

Return them to the smoker for another 2 hours. Take them out at the end of the 2 hours and remove the foil for the last hour of cooking.

The 3-2-1 method requires 3 hours of smoking, wrapping the ribs in liquid for 2 hours, and then letting them rest in BBQ sauce for 1 hour.

Although these methods work, use them as a loose guide rather than a must-follow. Consider the size, thickness, and type of your ribs well. Also, ensure you have a meat thermometer with you during the entire smoking process.

The look and the internal temperature of the ribs will let you know when to stop the smoking process.

In Closing

Even with the best of recipes, there is still a chance that you will not get your ribs right on the first attempt.

Congratulations if you did, but if you didn’t, you will do better next time.


  1. The wood Bisquettes and rub you use will affect the final flavor of your ribs.
  2. Slow cooking over low heat will give you tender and more flavorful ribs.
  3. The appearance and internal temperature of your ribs are the best way of confirming doneness.
  4. You may not get it right on the first attempt, and that’s okay. You will do better next time.

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.