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Smoked Baby Back Ribs (2-2-1 Method)

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Get ready to sink your teeth into these delicious smoked baby back ribs. The flavors are phenomenal! Whether you’re a seasoned backyard chef or just beginning your journey, these smoked ribs are sure to please. So, grab your apron, turn on the grill, and prepare to make the most sensational smoked baby back ribs!

smoked-bay-back-ribs-scaled

When it comes to cookouts, BBQ ribs are one of the most popular items that end up on the grill. Not only are pork ribs budget-friendly, but they are easy to make with a few simple steps.

2-2-1 Method

There are two ways to cook baby back ribs on a grill or smoker. Both will yield tender, delicious ribs. One method requires wrapping the ribs to work through the stall, and the second method requires no wrapping. Typically, baby backs are cooked using the 2-2-1 method: 2 hours on the grill, 2 hours wrapped, 1 hour unwrapped and back on the grill. Our method uses the temperature, look, and feel of the ribs to determine these steps.

How to cook ribs on a pellet grill

Pellet grills the smoking process is so simple. They are easy to preheat and use, and these grills produce delicious BBQ ribs. The optimal cooking temperature for ribs is 225 degrees F. with an internal doneness temperature of 195-200 degrees F. Plan on a 4-hour cooking time for baby back ribs. You will need the right wood pellets, binder and BBQ rub, pink butcher paper, BBQ sauce, and a reliable instant-read thermometer or temperature monitoring system. 

Pork Meat Cuts

What are baby back ribs?

Baby back ribs are removed from the spine area of the animal once the loin section is taken off. This upper portion is referred to as “baby back” ribs because they are smaller and contain shorter bones than  pork spare ribs. The term baby does not indicate the animal’s age but rather a way of differentiating two distinct rib sections.

Ingredients

  • 1 rack of baby back ribs
  • BBQ rub: You can use either a homemade BBQ rub or a commercially bottled rub. If using a no-salt rub, use 2 teaspoons of salt per rack of ribs.
  • BBQ sauce: Try our Rib Candy or one of our homemade barbecue sauces. You can also use your favorite bottled sauce.
  • Yellow mustard: If you are not a fan of mustard, use mayonnaise or hot sauce as a binder.
  • Apple juice: Or a 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar mixed with 1/4 cup water for spritzing the ribs
  • Pink butcher paper or aluminum foil for wrapping
  • Food-safe squirt bottle for BBQ spritzing
  • Wood pellets: Make sure you have enough fuel to get you through a 4-5 hour cook.

Best woods for baby back ribs

We recommend using fruitwoods like apple, peach, or cherry wood. For more moderate smoke, use pecan or maple for this baby back rib recipe.

Making smoked baby back ribs

  • Remove the ribs from the packaging, blot dry with paper towels, and place them onto a lined baking sheet.
  • Place it into the refrigerator for 1-4 hours to form a pellicle on the surface. Doing this will attract more smoke and help build a beautiful, rich bark on the surface.
  • Next, remove the ribs from the fridge and let them stand at room temp for 15-20 minutes.
  • Trim off any excess knobs of fat or flesh from the meat side of the rack.

Removing the membrane (silver skin)

Removing silver skin from baby back ribs
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  • Next, remove the membrane (silver skin). 
  • Flip the ribs over so that the bone side is facing upward.
  • Make a slit in the silver skin with a sharp knife. Next, grip the cut piece with a folded paper towel. Pull up and gently pull off the membrane. It might take a few attempts to get it all off.

Seasoning baby back ribs

  • Flip the rack of ribs over, and coat the meat side with yellow mustard. Apply BBQ rub.
  • Preheat your pellet grill or smoker to 225 degrees F. 
  • Place the baby back ribs on the grates bone-side down, close the lid, and leave it alone for 1 1/2 hours. 
Spritzing baby back ribs on a pellet grill
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  • After this time, you’ll notice that the ribs have a darker hue, and the seasonings have set in place forming a beautiful bark. Look out for dry patches.
  • Fill your food-safe spray bottle with room-temperature apple juice (or cider vinegar plus water). Mist the ribs with the mixture. Close the lid and let the ribs cook until they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.

Wrapping the ribs

  • Remove the ribs and place them onto a large sheet of butcher paper. If you want fall off the bone ribs, wrap them in foil with few pats of butter.
  • After wrapping, place them back on the grill or smoker.
  • Once the ribs reach an internal temperature of 185 degrees, unwrap the them. Place them back on the grill and brush them with barbecue sauce. Let them cook for an additional 30 minutes.
  • Ribs are done once they reach an internal temperature of 195-200 degrees F.

Resting and Carving

  • Remove ribs from the smoker and place them onto a cutting board. Let them rest for 15 minutes.
  • Slice into individual ribs and serve with extra BBQ sauce on the side.
sliced-baby-back-ribs

Do you have to wrap ribs?

No, you do not need to wrap them. Wrapping will yield a tender rack of ribs. Unwrapped ribs will produce a better smoke ring, but the meat will not be as tender. For fall-off-the-bone ribs, we recommend using aluminum foil. Doing this will basically steam the ribs and soften them more than pink butcher paper will.

What to serve with smoked baby back ribs?

More to try!

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Smoked Baby Back Ribs Featured Image

Smoked Baby Back Ribs

These easy smoked baby back ribs are fall off the bone tender and super delicious!
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American BBQ
Keyword: baby back ribs, pellet grill ribs, smoked ribs scraps
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 3
Calories: 376kcal

Equipment

  • Equipment
  • Pellet Grill
  • Pink butcher paper or aluminum foil for wrapping
  • Food-safe squirt bottle
  • Wood pellets

Ingredients

  • 1 rack of baby back ribs
  • 1/4 cup Pork Rib Rub
  • 1/2-2/3 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup apple juice (or 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar mixed with 1/4 cup water for spritzing the ribs

Instructions

  • Remove the ribs from the packaging, blot dry, and place them onto a lined baking sheet. Place it into the refrigerator for 1-4 hours to form a pellicle on the surface.
  • Next, remove the ribs from the fridge, and let them stand at room temp for 15-20 minutes.
  • Preheat your pellet grill or smoker to 225 degrees F.
  • Trim off any excess knobs of fat or meat from the top of the ribs.
  • Flip the baby back ribs over so that the bone side is facing upward. Make a slit in the silver skin with a sharp knife. Next, grab ahold of the cut piece with a folded paper towel. Pull up and gently pull off the membrane.
  • Flip the rack of baby backs over, and coat the meat section with yellow mustard. Apply the BBQ rub evenly to the ribs.
  • Place the ribs bone-side down) on the pellet grill, close the lid, and let it go for 1 1/2 hours.
  • After this time, you’ll notice that the ribs have formed a deep brown bark on the surface. You might also notice some dry patches.
  • Fill your food-safe spray bottle with room-temperature apple juice (or cider vinegar plus water). Mist the ribs with the mixture.
  • Close the lid and let the ribs cook until they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.
  • Remove the ribs and place them onto a large sheet of butcher paper. Gently wrap them up, and place them back on the grill. If you want to skip this step, you can.
  • Once the ribs reach an internal temperature of 185 degrees, unwrap the baby back ribs. Place them back on the grill and brush with BBQ sauce. Let them cook for an additional 30 minutes.
  • Ribs are done once they reach an internal temperature of 195-200 degrees F.
  • Remove ribs from the heat and place them onto a clean cutting board. Let them rest for 15 minutes.
  • Slice into individual ribs and serve with extra BBQ sauce on the side.

Nutrition

Calories: 376kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 659mg | Potassium: 437mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 287IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 111mg | Iron: 3mg

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