Make these Smoked Ribs and you will become known for smoking ribs. This is the famous, fail-proof 3-2-1 smoked ribs method and the results will rival your favorite restaurant baby back ribs. It’s easier than you think!
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Smoked Ribs Recipe:
Glazed sticky on the outside with fall-apart tender meat on the inside – these are the smoked ribs dreams are made of. Ribs are our favorite (inexpensive) way to feed a crowd – this recipe makes a big batch but they sure disappear fast. We buy the 9-pound package (3-racks of ribs) at Costco for about $30.
The best thing about smoked ribs is they reheat beautifully. If you’re going to put in the time it takes to make ribs, why not make a big batch? To reheat: Cover with foil and pop them in the oven until warm.
Homemade Seasoning Rub for Ribs:
You can use your favorite pre-made seasoning mix for ribs, but our go-to dry rub for rubs comes from Susie from Hey Grill Hey. We love the addition of brown sugar which caramelizes on the ribs. We use the full amount of seasoning to cover all 3 racks of ribs and they are seasoned to perfection every time (print ingredient list below).
The Best Homemade Rib Glaze:
This glaze is easy to make and has simple ingredients but the flavors really pop and the secret is in the mustard so don’t skip it. We modified this from Camp Chef’s 3-2-1 ribs. It’s easy and perfect; just combine everything and stir. Between glazing twice, we end up using the full amount on 3 racks of ribs.
- 2/3 cup ketchup
- 1/3 cup yellow mustard
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp black pepper
How to Make Smoked Ribs:
Step 1: Remove the Silver Skin. If the butcher hasn’t already done so, remove the silver skin or thin membrane from the bone side of the ribs. Silverskin is difficult to chew and doesn’t let flavor penetrate the meat. Score the membrane and peel it back. Tip: Use a paper towel to get a firm grip on the membrane.
Step 2: Salt Your Ribs. Pat dry with paper towels and season all over with kosher salt and rest at room temp 1 hour.
Step 3: Spritz Your Ribs: Use a spray bottle or brush on a mixture of apple juice, yellow mustard, and maple syrup. Generously season all over with all of the seasoning rub (about 1/3 cup). Grill Following the 3-2-1 Method.
TIP: set the ribs on a rimmed baking sheet and place over the door of your dishwasher and you won’t have any cleanup after spraying.
3-2-1 Smoked Ribs Method:
The 3 2 1 is a fail-proof and trusted method for grilling ribs. You set the grill temperature to 225˚F or “High Smoke”, close the smoker lid and:
- Grill the ribs directly on the rack (bone-side down) 3 Hours
- Remove ribs, brush glaze on both sides, wrap each in foil and grill 2 Hours
- Remove foil, glaze the tops and place directly on the rack 1 Hour
How to Test Rib Doneness:
Ribs are done grilling if you lift them with tongs and bounce them back onto the rack and they form a crack on the surface. The glaze should be set and slightly sticky to the touch. We found a 3-lb rack of ribs was perfectly done using the 3-2-1 cooking method.
Which Smoker Do We Use?
We did a ton of research before getting our smoker and looked at all of the current models including Camp Chef, Traeger, and Louisiana smoker grills. We fell in love with the Camp Chef pellet grill (smoker) because it has a “sidekick” feature and doubles as a BBQ grill and you can buy separate attachments that connect to a propane tank. It comes with a stove/griddle and we also have the pizza oven, and grill box attachments.
If you are new to smokers, they are electric and use wood pellets which add wonderful smoked flavor and aroma. Having the camp chef replaced our traditional bbq grill and the results have been impressive.
These smoked ribs are finger-licking good! If you love them saucier, feel free to brush on your favorite BBQ sauce on the finished ribs. It’s easier to cut them if you apply BBQ sauce after slicing.
Serve Ribs with these BBQ Side Dishes:
Smoked ribs are definitely the star of the show. Add these sides to make a truly memorable menu for your cookout.
Smoked Ribs with the Best Glaze
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Resting Time: 1 hour
Make these Smoked Ribs and you will become known for smoking ribs. This is the famous, fail-proof 3-2-1 smoked ribs method and the results will rival your favorite restaurant baby back ribs.
Cost to Make:
Calories: 523 kcal
Servings: 9 people
Smoked Ribs Ingredients:
baby back ribs
(3 lbs each rack)
- kosher salt
Homemade Seasoning Rub:
Prep Your Ribs:
Remove the Silver Skin or thin membrane from the bone side of the ribs (if the butcher hasn’t already). Score the membrane and peel it back, use a paper towel to get a firm grip on it.
Pat dry with paper towels, season all over with kosher salt and rest at room temp 1 hour.
In a spray bottle or mason jar, combine 1/3 cup apple juice, 1 Tbsp mustard, and 1 Tbsp maple syrup. Spray or brush all over rib racks. Generously season all over with all of the seasoning rub (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup). Grill Following the 3-2-1 Method.
3-2-1 Smoked Ribs Method:
You set the pellet grill temperature to 225˚F or “High Smoke.” Important: Always keep the lid closed when grilling.
Grill the ribs directly on the rack (bone-side down) 3 Hours. Meanwhile, stir together the glaze ingredients.
Remove ribs, brush glaze on both sides, wrap each in foil and grill 2 Hours.
Remove foil, glaze the top and place directly on the rack 1 Hour.
Test for doneness: Lift rack of ribs with tongs and bounce them back onto the rack – they should form a crack on the surface. The glaze will be set and slightly sticky to the touch.
Smoked Ribs with the Best Glaze
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 288
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 11g69%
Vitamin A 379IU8%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen