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A plate of smoked baby back ribs, coleslaw, cornbread and baked beans.

Smoked Baby Back Ribs Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 7 reviews
  • Author: Erin Jensen
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Passive Prep Time: 24 hours
  • Cook Time: 6 hours 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 24 hours 4 mins
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Smoker
  • Cuisine: American


Smoked Baby Back Ribs Recipe – an easy and delicious smoked rib recipe that is flavorful and simple to make!


  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika (regular works)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon smoked garlic powder (regular works)
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 2 racks of baby back ribs
  • 12 tablespoons worcestershire sauce (see notes)
  • 24 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • Mop Ingredients: 1 cup water, 1 cup apple juice; 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • approx. 9oz (smokey) barbecue sauce (more if desired)


  1. Combine kosher salt, smoked paprika, lemon pepper, cayenne pepper (if using), onion powder and ground black pepper. Set aside.
  2. Place ribs, meat side down, on a baking sheet. Using a small knife, gently lift off the corner of the membrane (the layer of thin connective tissue) and gently pull to remove. 
  3. Pat ribs dry with a clean paper towel.
  4. Rub worcestershire sauce all over ribs.
  5. Rub yellow mustard all over ribs.
  6. Rub dry rub all over ribs.
  7. Wrap ribs in plastic wrap, tightly, and store in fridge for 12-24 hours.
  8. The next day, remove ribs from fridge and let ribs come to room temperature.
  9. While ribs are warming up, turn smoker up to 225 degrees F. (use whatever pellets or smoking chips you prefer) and combine your Mop Ingredients in a clean spray bottle.
  10. Place ribs in smoker, left side if using a pellet smoker, for 4 hours.
  11. Spray with Mop every 45-60 minutes.
  12. After 4 hours turn smoker up to 250 degrees F.
  13. After 1 hour turn smoker up to 275 degrees F.
  14. Once ribs have reached an internal temperature between 190 – 203 degrees F (approximately 1 hour) (see notes) remove ribs from smoker and turn smoker up to 350 degrees F.
  15. Sauce the ribs generously with your favorite BBQ sauce and place back in smoker for 6-8 minutes, or until the BBQ sauce becomes tacky.
  16. Remove ribs from smoker and let rest 15 minutes (I usually cover with aluminum foil during the resting period).
  17. Serve and enjoy!


  • Worcestershire sauce: If you are concerned with Whole30/Paleo simply omit this step.
  • Mop: Continue to spray the ribs with the mop every 45-60 minutes throughout the cooking time.
  • Letting sit overnight:  If you forgot to do this the night before or you just simply don’t want to do this, you can skip this part and the ribs will turn out just fine (I have done it many times). But if you want the best results, letting it sit in the rub overnight is the best way to go!
  • Internal Temp: Pork needs to be cook to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees F to be considered safe to eat BUT if you took your ribs off the smoker at that temp they would be a little tough.  The longer you cook them the more tender they become. We recommend an internal temp between 190-203 degrees F.  The closer you get to 203 the more fall-off-the-bone they will become so that is personal preference how long you want to let them cook.
  • here is a great recipe for how to make BBQ ribs in an Instant Pot! Always fun to try out different kitchen gadgets!