Slowly smoked pork ribs cooked in a BBQ are both delicious and remarkably easy to cook, you just need time and a BBQ with a lid!
Smoking ribs is a bit of a project cooking job but it is easy, you need to factor in an overnight marinade and around a 6-7 hour cooking time. But you spend very little time actually cooking.
Smokey Sticky BBQ Ribs
I have a thing about ribs! It does not matter whether they are cooked in the oven, slow cooker like my char siu ribs, Instant Pot like my Chinese Spare Ribs and apple glazed Instant Pot ribs or smoked on the BBQ like these.
Like so many of my meaty BBQ recipes, this one has an overnight marinade dry rub.
They are then smoked for using a “3,2,1” method, it is wonderful for pork ribs. 3 Hours smoked uncovered, 2 hours cooked wrapped and then 1 hour to glaze in a homemade BBQ sauce.
Yes, that is a long time, but we are talking at a very low temperature here. We aim to keep our smoker somewhere between 100-110°C or 210-225°F.
In the main, it is all downtime, and you can get on with your day.
The secret to perfect smoked ribs is just that, the less you do to them the better, just leave them well alone.
Frequently Asked Questions
What sort of smoker do you use?
I use a barrel BBQ with an offset smoker, I find them to be the best “utility” BBQ (The image below is me working on mine).
They offer plenty of room to set up direct and indirect heat and the ability to smoke foods too.
What sort of smoking chips do you use?
I ordered some whisky barrel chips for these smoked ribs but there are a host of options available.
Depending on where you are in the world will define what you can lay your hands on. They will all subtly change the flavour of your dish.
Apple, cherry and walnut are three of my favourites but Hickory and even oak are good and very popular.
What sort of thermometer do you use?
Despite my BBQ having a built-in thermometer, I use a meat thermometer with a probe attached by a cable. I got it from IKEA and it cost about £8-10.
That means I can leave it on the smoker and get an accurate reading at a quick glance.
What sort of pork should I buy?
When it comes to buying ribs you want to get some with a good amount of meat and a nice fat content.
You should also look for something even in profile along the length because they will cook more evenly.
What methodology do you use?
I favour a 6-hour, 3 phase cooking process for ribs.
- Stage 1: The Smoking… This is 3 hours long and all about getting that smokey flavour into the meat. This is where your smoke chips are added.
- Stage 2: Tenderising… Wrapping the meat in foil and cooking for a couple of hours helps break down all the chewy stuff.
- Stage 3: A bit more flavour. I use the last hour to add a little bit of a BBQ glaze. It primarily adds a little sweetness.
When it comes to sides for your smoked pork ribs then you can go anywhere you like.
I prefer salads personally, mainly because your BBQ/grill is tied up cooking the ribs at a low temperature.
As a result, if you want to add veggies, you need to be sure that you can cook them in the allotted time at a very low temperature.
Good options are softer vegetables like asparagus or broccoli, both of these can go in for the final hour of cooking. Throw them in a foil tray with some olive oil and garlic and let them sit there.
When it comes to salads, then one of my favourites at the start of BBQ season would be my samphire and asparagus salad.
Pasta salads are also a fantastic option, something like this chickpea pasta salad would be superb.
I only mention brands of equipment if I think they make a material difference to a recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.
- BBQ, I use a barrel BBQ with an offset smoker.
- Thermometer to check the temperature of the BBQ. If your BBQ has a built-in thermometer this is not required.
- Charcoal and smoking chips.
- Kitchen tongs.
- Mixing bowl and large freezer bag.
- Small 15cm or 6″ saucepan.
- Chopping board.
- Kitchen knife.
- A combination of weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
- Kitchen foil.
BBQ ribs are fantastic, properly smoked ribs are way beyond insane... These are sweet, smokey, spicy and prove that small scale smoking for two is perfectly possible.
- 500g (1 lb) Pork Ribs
- 1 Tsp Salt
- Sprig of Thyme
- 6 Garlic Cloves
For the Dry Rub
- 2 Tsp Spicy Paprika
- 1 Tsp Sweet Paprika
- 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
- 2 Tsp Dark Brown Sugar
- 2 Tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 Tsp Ground Cumin
- 1 Tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
For the BBQ Glaze
- 100g (⅔ Cup) Onion
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- 100ml (⅓ Cup + 1 Tbsp) Tomato Passata
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
- 1 Tbsp Apple Vinegar
- 2 Tbsp Black Treacle or Molasses
- 1 Tbsp Mustard
- ⅛ Tsp Tabasco Sauce
- Salt and Pepper to season
- Remove the membrane on the bone side of the rib, do this by simply pulling it away from a corner.
- Mix together the ingredients for the dry rub and massage them into the ribs. Place into a freezer bag and set aside overnight to marinate. The following morning massage in the salt and set aside.
- Fire up your offset smoker, and get the temperature in the main body of the BBQ up to 100-110°C, 210-225°F.
- Place a baking tray full of water under the grill where you are going to place your ribs. Add a good sprig of thyme and the garlic cloves to the water.
- Add a couple of handfuls of your chosen chips to the smoker then place the pork ribs on the grill above the water and allow them to smoke for 3 hours. You really want to leave the ribs alone during this period, all you need to do is manage the temperature by opening and closing the vents and adding more charcoal and smoking chips as required. I add smoking chips every hour.
- After 3 hours remove the ribs closing the smoker behind you to keep the temperature up. Wrap the ribs in foil and then return to the smoker for 2 hours.
- About 20 minutes before the 2 hours up, place all of the ingredients for the glaze in a blender and blitz to a smooth paste. Reduce this glaze by half on the stovetop.
- Remove the ribs from the smoker, again closing the lid behind you then take off the the foil and brush with the glaze.
- Return to the smoker for the final hour glazing once more after 30 minutes. Serve the ribs with the remaining glaze.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1063Total Fat: 78gSaturated Fat: 23gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 35gCholesterol: 263mgSodium: 1735mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 4gSugar: 24gProtein: 56g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.