Smoked Baby Back Ribs

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 30 minutes


  • 2 racks Pork baby back ribs
  • 6 - 8 oz Dry rub - See my Rib rub recipe or use you favorite store bought rub
  • 6 oz BBQ sauce - Use your favorite
  • 6 oz Apple juice
  • 4 oz Brown sugar


  1. Cut each rack in half, this will allow for easier handling and a better fit in the smoker. 

    Many people remove the membrane on the bone side of the ribs to allow the smoke and favors to better absorb. I have personally found removing the membrane to be time consuming, messy and doesn't make a noticeable difference, so I no longer even attempt it. I'll leave it to you to decide if removing the membrane is worth the effort.


  2. Generously sprinkle rub on both sides of the ribs and be sure to cover the edges as well.

    Allow to sit for 20 - 30 minutes covered on the counter top (in a cool place). This is especially important if the ribs are partially frozen, they need to be fully defrosted before smoking.

  3. Preheat your smoker to 260 degrees.


    Let's begin the 3-2-1 process:


  4. Step 1: 

    Smoking time is 3 hours for this first step of the process. 

    Place the ribs in the pre-heated smoker, directly on the rack, bone side down and set a timer for 3 hours. 

    Add chips right away to get the smoking process going. I like to keep a good amount smoke going through this first step, the type of smoker you have will determine how to best do this.

    In my electric smoker, I add a small amount of chips every 30 mins.


  5. Step 2: 

    Smoking time is 2 hours.

    In this step, the ribs will 'smoke', covered in foil so they can steam. 

    Remove the ribs and place on foil (big enough to fully enclose the half rack). Bend the sides of the foil up slightly so that the apple juice in the next part won't spill.

    Sprinkle each side with brown sugar, add ~1 1/2 oz of Apple juice onto the foil. With the bone side down gently wrap the foil around so that it is fully sealed on both ends and the top but not pressed against the ribs.

    Place covered ribs back into the smoker. Repeat for each piece. Be careful not to tear the foil, you need a tight seal to produce the steam. 

    Re-set the temperature to 230 degrees and set a timer for 2 hours.


  6. Step 3: 

    Smoking time is 1 hour.

    In this final step, the ribs will smoke uncovered, basted in your favorite BBQ sauce. 

    Note, sauce is optional, so if you don't want or like sauce on your ribs just follow the directions without basting.

    Remove each foil pack from the smoker one at a time.  Baste both sides of the ribs in sauce. Place the ribs back into the smoker, directly on the rack (no foil) bone side down.

    Note, there will be a lot of juice in the foil, so take caution when opening and be prepared to dispose of the juice without making a big mess.

    Re-set the temperature to 225 degrees and set a timer for 1 hour.


  7. After the ribs have completed the final step, remove from the smoker and allow to sit for 20 minutes lightly covered with foil.

    Cut into individual ribs with a sharpe knife and serve with more BBQ sauce on the side.