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How Long to Smoke Baby Back Ribs  

How Long to Smoke Baby Back Ribs  

Ribs are a delicious delicacy. However, when ribs are overcooked, they can be quite unpleasant.

 Yes, overcooked ribs are tender, but they are also very mushy, which ruins the rib eating experience.

Although you may have cooked ribs 3-2-1 style a few times, knowing how long to smoke baby back ribs is important, so you do not overcook your ribs.

What Are Baby Back Ribs?

There are 2 different types of ribs you can purchase to smoke: baby back ribs and spareribs.

Baby back ribs are the curved ribs that are carved from the pig’s spine that runs along the animal’s back. 

Baby back ribs are considerably smaller, less meaty than spareribs, and they do not take as much time to cook.

On the other hand, spareribs run from the back ribs down along the side of the animal.

Unlike baby back ribs, spareribs are flat and features bone and cartilage running throughout the entire rack.

Spareribs can be left as they are or fabricated into another type of rib.

Spareribs that have been trimmed of their cartilage are called St. Louis ribs.

How To Buy Baby Back Ribs

Ultimately you want a pack of ribs that has a pink color and marbling running throughout the meat. The marbling will render out while the ribs are cooking.

Select ribs that have a healthy amount of meat covering the bones. Do not purchase ribs with shiners.

Shiners are an indication the meat has been cut too close to the bone.

Exposed bones could potentially fall out while our ribs are smoking. Furthermore, do not purchase ribs that are frozen or have been refrozen.

Yes, you will not end up with a fresh pack of ribs every time you go to the food store.

In addition to this, it is hard to whether a pack of ribs has been frozen a few times.

Some people argue there is no difference between frozen and fresh ribs. However, the flavor of fresh ribs will always reign supreme over frozen ribs.

A good indicator of ribs that have not been frozen is cryovac packages with 1-3 slabs of baby back ribs.

These ribs are usually fresh and can seldom be found in your local grocery store.

In contrast, packages with other types of packaging are usually sold frozen.

Nonetheless, do not purchase ribs that are discolored or are dried out around the edges.

This is a tell-tale sign of freezer burn.

If you purchased ribs sealed in a cryovac package, they might smell a little, which is normal.

However, discard the ribs if the odor has a strong rancid smell that persists for more than 10 minutes.

As the ribs sit in the package, it releases a small amount of liquid.

This liquid is what is known as the purge and is no cause for concern if there is a small amount of liquid. 

Nevertheless, if there is a large amount of liquid, the ribs have probably been stored for a long at the wrong temperature or frozen a few times. 

When it comes to the weight and size of ribs, this depends on how many people you intend to serve. 

Remember, every slab of ribs is different, so choose ribs that are similar in size and weight, and you will have a great BBQ experience.

Best Woods for Smoking Baby Back Ribs

When it comes to smoking ribs, fruit woods are the creme dele creme. For example, apple and cherry woods impart an irresistibly sweet flavor onto ribs.

In contrast, oak wood also works with pork as it enhances its meaty flavor.

How Long to Smoke Baby Back Ribs?

How long to smoke ribs depends on the size of the baby back ribs as well as the temperature you smoke them at.

How Long Do You Smoke Bab Back Ribs at 200 Degrees?

If you smoke baby back ribs at a temperature of 200°F and maintain this temperature throughout the duration of the cook, your ribs will take approximately 7 hours.

How Long Do I Smoke Baby Back Ribs at 225 Degrees?

If you smoke baby back ribs at a temperature of 225°F, they will be finished in 5 hours. The 25-degree temperature increase will speed up the cooking process.

How Long to Smoke Baby Back Ribs at 250 Degrees?

Baby smoked at a temperature of 250°F will take approximately 4 hours to cook. Again, the higher the temperature, the quicker the ribs cook.

How Long to Smoke Baby Back Ribs per Pound?

Although most rib recipes feature a cooking time, this is simply an estimation. You may be using a different smoker or grill or a different type of fuel than they used.

On average, the cooking time can be estimated by estimating an hour of cooking time for every pound of ribs.

Should I Wrap Baby Back Ribs in Foil?

When it comes to smoking, ribs low and slow is the way to go. Ribs almost always take more than 2 hours to smoke. 

Therefore, they should be wrapped in foil about halfway through the smoking process.

There is such a thing as too much smoke. Wrapping the baby back ribs in foil prevents them from absorbing too much smoke.

Wrapping the ribs in foil also gives the ribs better color and flavor, adds moisture, and speeds up the smoking time.

How to Smoke Ribs

Before you place your ribs on your offset smoker, they have to be prepped.

Place your ribs onto a cookie sheet or large butcher block, with the transparent, shiny membrane facing towards you.

If you need a butcher block, check out our review of the 5 best butcher blocks.

Slide a butter knife between the silver skin and bone to remove the silver skin. 

Use your fingers to separate the membrane, then pull it away from the ribs.

This is a shortened version of how to remove the silver skin from ribs.

Next, season the ribs with a BBQ rub.

Massage the BBQ rub onto both sides of the ribs, cover them, and chill them for 4 hours or overnight to marinate.

If you refrigerate your baby back ribs, let them sit at room temperature while you prepare your smoker.

To get your smoker or grill ready, remove any ash from the base of the grill and switch the top and bottom vents to the open position.

Place your charcoal into a chimney starter along with a few pieces of paper.

Wondering how much charcoal to use? Check out our detailed how-to guide.

Need a chimney startercheck out our review of the best charcoal chimneys.

Light your charcoal and wait for 15-20 minutes until they ash over.

Pour the charcoal into the smoker’s heating chamber and add your wood chips.

Once the smoker’s cooking grates begin to heat up, use a grill brush to remove any residual food debris from the grates.

Let your smoker come to a temperature of 225°F.

Arrange your ribs onto the grills cooking grates leaving enough room for air to circulate around the ribs.

Close your smoker’s dome and cook them for 3-5 hours.

Don’t forget to wrap your baby back ribs halfway through the cooking process.

So, how do I if my ribs are ready? As previously mentioned, every rack of ribs is unique, as are the type of smoker or grill you use.

For example, electric smokers cook ribs faster than offset smokes because it controls heat better.

Ribs are ready when a toothpick easily glides through the meat without any pushback.

In addition to this, the meat should easily release from the bone when pulled. The bone should be as naked as the day you were born.

Nevertheless, the meat should not fall off the bone either, as this is a sign of overcooked ribs.

Once you have determined the ribs are tender, transfer the baby back ribs to a cookie sheet and wrap them with foil.

Let the ribs sit for 20 minutes before slicing them into individual pieces.

You can dress the ribs with BBQ sauce before or after carving them.

If you need a BBQ sauce recipe, we’ve got excellent homemade BBQ sauce, homemade spicy BBQ sauce, Carolina BBQ sauce, and Alabama white BBQ sauce recipes.

If you want to skip the recipes and conveniently purchase BBQ sauce online, check out our review of the best BBQ sauces you can buy online.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to long to smoke ribs, overcooked ribs be gone!

You can cook tender and juicy ribs with confidence.