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How to Smoke Rib Scraps

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Did you trim a rack of spare ribs and ended up with extra scraps of meat? Well, don’t discard those bits and pieces. Instead, put them to good use by learning how to smoke rib scraps like a pro! You’ll end up with tender, delicious smoked rib meat that makes a fantastic appetizer, filling for tacos or breakfast hash.

Spritzing Pork Rib Scraps

We’ve all been there. You’ve trimmed a couple of racks of spare ribs, and now you have all the leftover rib scraps. So, what do you do with it? The riblet portion found underneath the ribs is usually grilled and served as an appetizer. But, those meatier pieces are set aside for sausage making or simply discarded. What if you put those rib scraps in the smoker instead? With our burnt end method, those days of relegating meat scraps to sausage filling are over.

We can all agree that beef prices are high, but pork remains an affordable option for most. In my quest to minimize food waste, I endeavored to experiment with new ways to use up leftover meat scraps. Typically, this involves a beer in one hand, tongs in the other, and my smoker hot and ready to go.
Now, I’ve already made brisket burnt ends, pork belly burnt ends, and even turkey burnt ends. But, smoked rib scrap burnt ends sounded like a great option. I mean, if hot dog burnt ends can exist, why not this? All I needed was 2 1/2 pounds of saved rib scraps, and I had enough to start the process.

What are rib scraps?

Rib scraps come from the excess meat trimmed off of pork spare ribs. These ribs are cut to a uniform shape for even cooking. Most backyard cooks trim them into a St. Louis cut, leaving two meat sections (not including the riblets).

  1. These areas include removing the sternum section on the top of the rack and the flap located on the edge.
  2. Flip the rack over and cut off the protruding section known as the riblets.
  3. Separate the riblets from the other rib scraps, and cook them independently as appetizers.

What you’ll need

How to smoke rib scraps

Cook these pork rib scraps like you would pork ribs. Aim for a cooking temperature of 225 degrees F and a 2 1/2-3 hour cook time. You can hit them with a little smoke at the beginning but don’t overdo it. They are small scraps and can become too smoky.

Wood Recommendation: I recommend apple, cherry, pecan, maple or peach wood for smoking ribs scraps.

Blot the meat dry. You can apply a little yellow mustard or brush on a thin layer of vegetable oil onto your rib scraps—season well, but do not overpack the rub.

  • Place the seasoned ribs scraps directly onto the grate of your smoker, close the lid, and let them cook for 1- 1 1/2 hours. This will give the meat enough time to form a good bark.
  • Next, spritz the rib scraps with slightly warmed apple juice, as needed. Let the rib scraps cook for an additional 1- 1 1/2 hours or until they reach an internal temperature of 185 degrees F

*Please note that the smaller scraps will finish faster than the larger pieces. Remove them from the smoker once they are cooked.

Once cooked, remove the ribs scraps from the smoker and rest for a good 15 minutes before using. 

Ways to use them

  1. If I have a large amount of smoked rib scraps, I will chop them up (discarding any cartilage in the meat), coat the pieces in Burnt Ends Sauce, and serve them in sandwiches.
  2. Dice and use in tacos, nachos, or breakfast hash.
  3. I also use them in my delicious Pellet Grill Baked Beans
  4. Chop them up small and use as a topping along with warmed BBQ sauce or pepper jelly on Smoked Cream Cheese.  

Storing leftovers

Store your leftover smoked rib scraps in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Place them into a vacuum-sealed bag and store them in your freezer for up to 3 months. 


Smoked Rib Scraps

A simple recipe for smoking your rib scraps. Make delicious burnt ends, or chop and use in tacos, nachos, breakfast hash, and more!
5 from 2 votes
Print Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American BBQ
Keyword: how to smoke rib scraps, rib scraps, smoked ribs scraps, what to do with rib scraps
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 200kcal


  • 2-3 pounds rib scraps riblets excluded
  • bottled or homemade rub
  • 1/2 cup apple juice


  • Prepare your smoker for 225 degrees F. Add your preferred wood. Fruit woods are recommended.
  • Blot the meat dry with paper towels. Apply a little yellow mustard or vegetable oil onto your rib scraps—season well with rub.
  • Place the seasoned ribs scraps onto the grates of your smoker, close the lid, and let them cook for 1- 1 1/2 hours.
  • After this time, spritz with warmed apple juice, as needed.
  • Let the rib scraps cook for an additional 1- 1 1/2 hours or until they reach an internal temperature of 185 degrees F.
  • Once cooked, remove the ribs scraps from the smoker and rest for a good 15-20 minutes before using.


Calories: 200kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 21mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg

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