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Here's How Long to Smoke Baby Back Ribs for Tender, Smoky Perfection

As tasty as a burger or hot dog is, nothing quite matches the deliciousness of perfectly smoked baby back ribs. The tender, succulent texture combined with the smoky flavor make this dish the star of the BBQ. To get those delectable fall-off-the-bone ribs, here's how long to smoke baby back ribs.

Figuring out how long to smoke baby back ribs is one of the most important parts of the cooking process, since smoking them for too long or too short can affect the flavor and texture. Most recipes call for dry rub or BBQ sauce, often with flavorings like brown sugar, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika.

Baby back ribs are not only delicious, they also have a number of health benefits that make them more than worth the effort. Pork ribs have large amounts of iron and zinc, along with potassium, calcium and vitamin A. Once you've seasoned both sides of the ribs, it's time to smoke them.

How Long Does it Take to Smoke Baby Back Ribs?

Close up Gourmet Grilled Pork Rib and Fried Potato

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The length of time for smoking baby back ribs depends on a few factors. For one, the cooking time is different for smokers, charcoal grills and gas grills. Along with this, the cooking time is longer for lower temperatures, so this is important to factor in when planning a BBQ. Whether you're smoking a half rack or a few racks of ribs, the total time will be the same as long as the ribs are placed in a single layer. Although each smoked ribs recipe will be different, here's a general guide for how long to smoke ribs.

Smoking Ribs on a Smoker

Smoking ribs on a smoker takes around 5 hours, which is longer than a grill, but the extra time is worth the deliciously smoky flavor. Start by preheating the smoker to 225 degrees F, and make sure that the temperature is between 225 and 250 degrees F throughout the cooking time. Then, place the ribs on the grate meat-side up, and let them smoke for two hours. At this point, take them off and wrap them in aluminum foil.

After these four hours, you have about an hour left before the ribs are ready. For the final hour, it's recommended to unwrap the ribs from the foil and put them back onto the grate. Some recipes instruct you to brush barbecue sauce on every few minutes for the last hour for flavorful, tender ribs. The ribs are done when the ends of the bone are exposed and the internal temperature is 190 degrees F. If your recipe calls for a lower temperature, the ribs will take longer.

Smoking Ribs on a Gas Grill

Grilled pork ribs

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Another option for making smoked baby back ribs is on a gas grill. If you choose this method, smoking ribs takes about three and a half hours. Preheat the grill to 300 degrees F, and then turn one burner off, bringing the heat down to medium on the other burners.

Put the rack of ribs bone side down above the burner that's off, and close the lid. Then, cook the ribs for around three hours, until the meat is soft and tender. For extra flavorful ribs, brush your favorite BBQ sauce on every few minutes for the last 30 minutes of cooking. You'll know that the ribs are ready when they're bone tender and their internal temperature is 190 degrees F.

Smoking Ribs on a Charcoal Grill

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Smoking a rack of baby back ribs on a charcoal grill takes slightly less time than with a gas grill, around three hours. When using a charcoal grill, it's best to smoke the ribs with indirect heat at about 300 degrees F. Put wood chips on the coals if using them, and then place ribs on the center of the grate.

Let them smoke for about two and a half hours, putting more charcoal in the grill when necessary to keep the temperature steady. Smoke the ribs for another 30 minutes, brushing barbecue sauce on every few minutes.

This smoked baby back ribs recipe from Hey Grill Hey is flavored with sweet rub, a cup apple cider or apple juice, brown sugar, butter, and BBQ sauce and is the perfect way to try for yourself!

READ MORE: Now This is How You Make Ribs in the Oven