Smoked Ribs: The Basics

Smoking a rack of ribs is easy — turn your charcoal grill into a simple smoker, get the perfect rib recipe, and keep these three basic things in mind and you'll be wowing your friends and family all summer long.

The Ribs
There are two basic cuts when it comes to ribs: lean and tender baby back (or loin back) ribs or meatier spareribs (which, when trimmed, are referred to as a St. Louis-style rack). Regardless of your preference, both types of racks will become tender and flavorful if you cook them using a low and slow method, so either can be used to make smoked ribs.

The Seasoning
After you remove the papery membrane from the back of your rack of ribs, sprinkle them with salt and your favorite dry rub. Wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for a few hours. If you plan to sauce your smoked ribs, wait until they are almost done cooking to do so; baste the ribs with sauce about 15 to 20 minutes before they come off of the grill.

The Smoker
Just about any charcoal grill can easily be turned into a smoker; just build your fire on one side of the grill and then smoke the ribs on the other (so that you're cooking at about 250 degrees F). Add your favorite woodchips (in moderation) for some extra flavor and put a small pan of water or apple juice under the rack of ribs for even more smokiness. Smoked baby back ribs will take approximately four hours to cook; smoked St. Louis-style spareribs, about five hours.

Originally published on May 28, 2015 

Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal's Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.