A simple method to produce tender, delicious, perfectly smoked St Louis Pork Ribs. Smoking doesn’t have to be intimidating or complicated!
Today I’d like to talk a little about smoking.
If you’re a beginner or novice you’ll find the more you read about it the more you might end up confused. Each and every barbecue enthusiast has methods they swear will produce the best finished BBQ.
So what’s the novice to do? Understand the process, temperatures & science of it all and get to smoking. Take a little advice from everyone, use your creativity & knowledge and make it your own process. Have fun and keep on keeping on until you find your perfect method.
My perfect method is simplicity. A simple rub and that’s it. No brines, no injecting, no mops – just rub it down and smoke away. Smoking is a lazy day activity for us. We prefer to keep things as laid back and uncomplicated as possible.
Tastes vary. The amount of smokiness one prefers will vary. Get a feel of how much wood chunks will give you the amount of flavor you’re after. Understand more is not better and too much smokiness is NOT a good thing. Start small and simple, say a whole chicken, to experiment with amounts to get the flavor you’re after.
Onto our St. Louis Pork Ribs. Easy peasy – anyone can do this! I rubbed them down with a dry rub, filled the water pan with an apple cider vinegar & beer mix, kept the temp at about 225° and smoked for about 6 hours. That’s it.
How to tell when your ribs are done? These ribs are not so much smoked to temperature – it’s more of a feel & visual thing. First off, ribs falling apart are overcooked. Now, if this is how you enjoy them, then go ahead and smoke them until they fall off the bone. I promise you though, you can do better. The perfect rib should be tender & juicy with a bit of chew and easily pull off the bone but not fall off. In comes the “Bounce Test”. Pick up ribs with tongs, and bounce gently. The center surface of the ribs should crack slightly. Yay – they’re done. If they fall apart, they’re overdone – boohoo. If they’re rubbery and don’t crack in the center, they’re not done. I know this all might sound ridiculous – but when you see it, it’ll make perfect sense 😉
I prefer to keep the sauce off the ribs until served. Some like their ribs smothered in sauce, some like to dip and others like them plain. Serve sauce on the side and everyone will be happy.
That’s it folks. It really is easy to make perfectly tender & delicious smoked ribs at home. Have fun & thanks for stopping by!
Want to smoke a beef brisket? Check out my BBQ Beef Brisket!
- 2 racks St. Louis Ribs, 2.5 - 3 lbs. each rack
- 4 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
- beer & apple cider vinegar (if using water pan)
- wood chunks
- BBQ sauce (to serve)
- Set up smoker. Smoking temp should be set up and maintained between 225° - 230°. Start this about an hour before smoking.
- Prep ribs. Remove membrane from the underside of ribs.
- Combine salt, pepper and spices.
- Rub down ribs, front and back, with spice rub. I like the rub to sit at least half an hour before smoking.
- When ready to cook:
- Add beer & apple cider vinegar to water pan (if using). We used about 2 beers and about ¼ cup apple cider vinegar. You could use just water if you liked.
- Throw ribs in, meat side up/bone side down & cover.
- Add a handful of wood chunks and get to smoking.
- Continue to smoke for 5-6 hours, maintaining temp at 225° - 230° and adding another 2 handfuls of wood chunks during course of smoking.
- Check ribs after 4½ - 5 hours of smoking.
- Pick up ribs with the tongs, and bounce gently. The center surface of the ribs should crack slightly. If not, smoke for another 30 mins to - 1 hour and test again. I know this "test" sounds crazy if you haven't seen it before - but when you see it, it will make perfect sense. Also, the meat should easily pull from the bone but NOT be falling off.
- If you'd like to add sauce and smoke for a few minutes, now's the time. I prefer to not sauce up my ribs and serve sauce on the side instead.
- Remove, let rest for a few minutes & enjoy 🙂