Smoked St. Louis Style Spare Ribs

Smoked St. Louis Style Spare Ribs
smoked rack of spare ribs

Smoked Pork Spare Ribs

Carson Morby
My favorite thing on the smoker is spare ribs. They have great flavor, perfect meat to fat ratio, and they are super easy to cook.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American


  • 1 Rack St. Louis Cut Pork Spare Ribs
  • 1/4 Cup Your Favorite BBQ Rub


  • Pull the thin membrane off the back of the bones on the rack of ribs. There is commonly a flap of loose meat on the back as well. I like to cut that off to promote even cooking.
  • Apply a generous layer of your favorite BBQ rub on both sides of the rack of ribs. Let it sit with the seasoning on it while you preheat your smoker. I usually just keep them on a cookie sheet or cutting board
  • Preheat your smoker to 235 degrees F (You can do 225 if you want)
  • When the smoker is preheated, place the rack of ribs directly on the cooking grate. Let smoke at 225 until the ribs reach an internal temperature of 198-203 degrees F.
  • During the cook, if the ribs start to look like they are drying out, you can baste them or spritz them with apple juice. This will also help them develop a better bark
  • When the ribs probe really tender with a meat thermometer between 198-203 degrees F, remove them from the smoker. Let them rest on a cookie sheet or cutting board for 15-20 minutes under a tent of foil.
  • Slice the ribs into single rib pieces, and enjoy!
  • **You can apply a small layer of BBQ sauce when the ribs reach about 190 degrees F if you are a fan of saucy ribs. I generally don't use sauce on my ribs. I like to dip the ribs in sauce on the plate instead of having the sauce directly on the ribs.
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Smoked Pork Spare Ribs- St. Louis Cut

This has to be my all time favorite meat to throw on the smoker. I frequently have a lot of people ask me what my favorite thing to grill is, and I always tell them St. Louis Spare Ribs. Spare ribs have the perfect balance of meat, fat and rib bone. Don’t get me wrong, I love a great baby back rib, but spare ribs just have everything I need.

There’s a lot of ways to season spare ribs, but my favorite way is with a sweet rub. There’s just something about sweet flavors with pork. You can go savory with this one if that’s what you prefer. It’s tough to go wrong!

The most popular way to prepare ribs these days is with the 3-2-1 method. Basically, you smoke the ribs for three ours directly on the grill grates with just a dry rub. Then you wrap them in foil with any combination of butter, brown sugar, BBQ rub etc. Smoke it, wrapped in foil for 2 hours. After that, open the foil back up and baste the ribs in your favorite BBQ sauce. Smoke it for one more hour, and they will be fall off the bone tender.

This is a great method if you love really soft rib meat, and fall off the bone tenderness. For me, I like my spare ribs with just a bit of a pull. I don’t mean I want the meat to be stuck to the bones. I just want a tiny bit of resistance, and more texture in the meat. Not some soft, squishy stuff. Just my personal preference.

This method I outlined above is a great way to get the perfect rack of ribs with great textures, flavors, and technique.

However you like to enjoy ribs, is the right way to enjoy ribs. That’s the magic of BBQ. You get to enjoy things the way you want. Play with flavors. Play with seasonings. Experience different techniques. Enjoy!