How to Smoke Baby Back Ribs

Smoked pork ribs sliced into pieces on a decorative plate

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Enjoy Fall-off-the-Bone Ribs with a Lip-Smacking Rub

Smoking baby back ribs isn't a quick process, but it's certainly worthwhile. If you're having friends or family over for a party during the weekend, a few racks of tender, fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs will wow them as the entree. Plus, it makes a ton of meat, so you can use the leftovers during the week for the kids' lunches or for quick dinners.

Pair the smoked baby back ribs with a few classic side dishes, such as coleslaw, potato salad or corn on the cob. Of course, don't forget a bevy of barbecue sauces to enhance the rich flavor of the ribs.

Total Time: 6 hours, 45 minutes | Prep Time: 45 minutes | Serves: 6


  • 6 pounds baby back ribs (approximately 2 racks) 
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 to 10 cups mesquite wood chips
  • Vegetable oil


  1. Prepare the ribs by removing the underbelly membrane. Position them meat-side down and insert a small knife under the membrane, moving the knife to loosen it. When there's enough room, use your hands to grab the membrane and peel it off. 
  2. In a small bowl, mix the sugar, chili powder, paprika, mustard powder and salt. Rub the meat with the spice mixture, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. 
  3. While the meat is marinating in the rub, soak wood chips in water for 1 hour. When done soaking, put a quarter of the wood chips in the smoker box. Heat the smoker to 250F. 
  4. Remove the ribs from the refrigerator 30 minutes before you're ready to start cooking to bring them to room temperature. 
  5. Combine the apple juice, Worcestershire sauce and vinegar in a spray bottle and shake to mix. 
  6. Brush the grates of the smoker with vegetable oil and put the ribs on the grates, meat-side up. Spray the meat with the apple juice mixture. Close the smoker and let it cook for 1 hour. 
  7. Add another quarter of the wood chips to the smoker box. Open the smoker, flip the ribs and spray it with the apple juice mixture. Close the smoker and let it cook for another hour. 
  8. Continue to replenish the wood chips, flipping the ribs and spraying the ribs until the meat is dark brown and tender, or about 2 additional hours. 
  9. Remove the ribs from the smoker and let them rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.