Finger licking juicy ribs with a hint of smoke and pull-off-the-bone perfection are what these Smoked St. Louis Ribs are all about. Loaded with flavor and sauced just right, you’d better make extra because these amazing ribs will disappear fast!

Well, hello there, fellow food enthusiast! Are you ready to elevate your smoker recipes game to the next level? You’re in for a treat because this smoked St. Louis ribs recipe is not messing around. These ribs are tender, juicy, and packed with flavor that will make your taste buds dance with joy. And let’s be real, if you’re not smoking your ribs, are you even living your best life? So grab your apron, fire up the smoker, and let’s get to it. Trust us, once you try this rib recipe, you’ll never go back to boring old oven-baked ones again!

What Are Smoked St. Louis Ribs?

St. Louis style spare ribs are cut from the pork belly, and the hard breastbone is removed, and while these ribs are flatter and longer than baby back ribs, they’re also fattier, making them some of the tastiest pork ribs around. These smoked pork ribs also benefit from being less expensive than baby back ribs, so if you’re a baby back rib fan, give one of our favorite pork recipes a try! 

Smoked St. Louis Ribs Ingredients

  • St. Louis style ribs – 2 racks.
  • Salt – We use kosher salt when cooking. Don’t use too fine a grain or too flakey a salt. Kosher is perfect for this recipe.
  • GirlsCanGrill Pork Rub – If you can’t get these spices, see the comments below and the alternative recipe in the recipe card.
  • OverTheFireCooking Adobo HoneySee notes below.
  • Sasquatch Fire RibSee notes in the recipe card below.
  • Mustard – Yellow mustard is fine.
  • BBQ sauce – Use your favorite BBQ sauce.
  • Wood chips or chunks – see recipe tips for our choices
St Louis Style Ribs being trimmed

How to Make Smoked St. Louis Ribs

  • Smoking ribs isn’t difficult; it just takes some time! Start the day before by rubbing the ribs with the spices and letting them sit in the fridge overnight. Then, start smoking the rack of ribs a few hours before you plan on eating.
  • Trim the ribs to remove excess fat and oddly shaped end pieces.
  • Remove the membrane on the back side of the ribs. Cut a corner of it away from the meat with a sharp knife, then grab the corner with a paper towel and pull it off. 
  • Rub the mustard over the ribs, then mix the spices and spread this dry rub evenly over the ribs.
  • Wrap the ribs in plastic and refrigerate them overnight.
  • Heat the grill to 225-250F, and add wood chunks. 
  • Hang the ribs in the smoker and smoke them until they reach an internal temperature of 195-200F.
  • Remove the ribs from the smoker and add coals to heat the grill. Add the grill grate and let it heat up.
  • Remove the hooks from the ribs, brush them with the BBQ sauce, and sear them meat side down until the barbecue sauce is thick, tacky, and caramelized. 
  • Take the ribs off the grill, let them rest for a few minutes, then cut along the bones using a cutting board to serve.


  • When using wood chunks or chips, don’t soak them first. 
  • If using wood chips, use a smoker box, or, for a barrel cooker, put them into a foil pan and replace them with fresh chips every 35 minutes or so.
  • Smoke ribs on a rib hook so they get even exposure to the smoke.
  • Serve your ribs with additional sauce.

Leftovers & Reheating

If, and that’s a big IF, you have leftover ribs, wrap them tightly and store them in the fridge for 4-5 days.

Here’s how you heat up your ribs after storing them in the fridge:

  1. Wrap the ribs tightly in foil or plastic, reheat in a 250 degree F oven for 10-15 minutes per pound.
  2. Let them rest for a few minutes before serving with your favorite sauce!

What to Serve With Smoked St. Louis Ribs

Anything you want! Some of our favorites are Dutch Oven Mac and Cheese, Easy Smoked Baked Potato, Smoked Corn on the Cob, Beef Tallow Fries with Furikake, Smoked Cabbage, and Smoked Potato Salad!

Recipe FAQs


We use our signature spice blends which are available at Spiceology, but if you can’t get those, you can swap out the spice blends and rubs for brown sugar, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, and black pepper in this recipe. 


St. Louis style ribs are larger and heavier than baby back ribs, so look for about 1 pound of raw ribs per person (bones included) or about 4-5 rib bones.


Delicious ribs pair best with a sweeter, less assertive wood. We love using post oak, pecan, or hickory.


Every smoker is different, as are the racks of ribs. If they’re super cold (just from the fridge), they’ll take longer, too. So give yourself between 5 and 6 hours to make the best smoked pork ribs.


Wrapping ribs in aluminum foil or plastic wrap during the smoking process can help to tenderize the meat and speed up the cooking time. This is especially helpful for spare ribs and rib tips, which have more connective tissue and can take longer to cook. However, some people prefer to skip the wrapping step for a firmer bark and more smoke penetration.


St. Louis-style ribs are cut from the belly side of the rib cage after the rib tips, and sternum have been removed, resulting in a rectangular shape. Baby back ribs come from the upper part of the rib cage and have a curved, meatier shape.


Smoked St. Louis ribs are a thing of beauty – tender, juicy, and packed with flavor. Whether you’re a seasoned pitmaster or a newbie home chef, there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of nailing the perfect rib recipe. And if you’re not quite there yet, don’t worry – it takes practice, patience, and maybe just a little bit of luck. So keep on smoking, keep on experimenting with rubs and sauces, and most importantly, keep on eating those delicious, smoky ribs. Your taste buds (and your friends and family) will thank you. Be sure to rate the recipe card and leave a comment below to help out the next reader!

Smoked St. Louis Style Ribs

5 from 47 votes
Prep: 1 day 10 minutes
Cook: 5 hours 20 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total: 5 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 8 People
Master the art of smoking with our easy-to-follow recipe for tender, smoky St. Louis Style Ribs, perfect for BBQ lovers and weekend feasts. Delight in the authentic, slow-smoked flavor that's sure to impress friends and family alike.


  • 2 racks St Louis Style Ribs
  • 2 tbsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp GirlsCanGrill Pk Pork Rub
  • 1 tsp OvertheFireCooking Adobo Honey
  • 1 tsp Sasquatch Fire Rib
  • 4 tbsp Mustard
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce


Prep the Ribs

  • Trim the ribs to even out the ribs, removing the odd end pieces and any additional areas that need to be removed (untrtimmed fat, etc).
    2 racks St Louis Style Ribs
  • Remove the membrane
  • Rub the mustard over the ribs to coat
    4 tbsp Mustard
  • Mix the spices in a jar
    2 tbsp Salt, 2 tbsp GirlsCanGrill Pk Pork Rub, 1 tsp OvertheFireCooking Adobo Honey, 1 tsp Sasquatch Fire Rib
  • Spread the spice mix over the ribs
  • Wrap the ribs in plastic wrap and let sit overnight

Prep the Fire

  • Prep the grill for 225 to 250
  • Add the wood chunks (Post Oak, Pecan or Hickory)
  • Using hooks, pierce the 2nd or 3rd rib down

Smoke the Ribs

  • Hang the ribs in the smoker
  • Smoke until the ribs reach 195 to 200 degrees F with an instant read thermometer, 2 1/2 to 3 hous.
  • Carefully remove the ribs from the smoker and add more coals to sear the meat. Add the grill grate and allow the grill to get hot.

Baste with Sauce

  • Carefully remove the hooks from the ribs.
  • Brush the ribs with the BBQ sauce and place, meat side down for 2 to 5 minutes.
    1 cup BBQ sauce
  • Flip and sear the bone side, basting more bbq sauce on top.
  • Allow the sauce to get thick and tacky.


  • Remove the ribs from the smoker and let rest for 5 minutes.
  • Slice the ribs along the bones to serve.
  • Serve with additional BBQ sauce, if desired.


When using wood chunks or wood chips, do not soak the wood. If using wood chips, use a smoker box, or for a barrel cooker a foil pan, and replace with fresh chips every 35 to 40 minutes. For chunks, add directly over the coals. 
Recommend wood: Post Oak, Pecan, or Hickory
These ribs were smoked in a Pit Barrel Cooker, but this recipe for hung St Louis-style ribs would work in the Oklahoma Joes Bronco or any barrel-style grill. Alternatively, see my recipe for beginner smoked ribs to see how I smoked ribs on a regular charcoal grill
Alternative spice mix option: Whisk together: 1 tbsp salt, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp paprika, 1/2 tsp cayenne, 1 tsp garlic powder, & 1 tsp  black pepper


Serving: 1g | Calories: 128kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 2212mg | Potassium: 156mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 91IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Kita Roberts

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Well, Hey, Y’all.

Kita is a multi-talented individual, boasting numerous accomplishments such as being an award-winning recipe developer, world-traveled professional photographer, and journalist. As the lead creative force behind Girl Carnivore®, she is widely recognized as an authority on all things meat.


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5 from 47 votes (46 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Alright, Ma’am. I actually bought the specific seasonings. I was impressed, the flavor was incredible! I will make these repeatedly!


  2. I just noticed, this is from “Big Bob Gibson’s” book. His place is a half hour from us. we’ve been meaning to check it out, now I know I will. That looks delicious!

    1. I received this book for Christmas and have about 90 pages tabbed. If I were you I would be at that place tonight ;D

      1. Yes, based on this recipe I have to try Big Bob’s.

        I like my BBQ well seasoned & with a complex, spicy, slightly sweet & sticky sauce. That’s not the BBQ style common in Alabama, at least this area. Alabama BBQ that I’ve encountered is slightly smoked, lightly seasoned meats served with simple sauces: a white mayo based sauce; a hot vinegary sauce that is too one dimensional (also, I like vinegar based sauces for basting but not at the table); and a thin red sauce that lacks complexity. There’s nothing wrong with the BBQ places here, they provide a product made with quality ingredients & cooked with care, but their style isn’t what I like.

        I have found some BBQ I like here — Mud Creek Fishing Camp Restaurant in Hollywood Alabama (NE Alabama just off of 72) is great, but about an hour from here. However, we can combine this with a stop at the Unclaimed Baggage in Scottsboro where you can buy stuff that people have left on planes — some of the more unusual items are on permanent display.

  3. You neglected your grill? How could you?

    I remember a friend calling to tell me he was grilling steaks. I had just gotten home, work closed because of an impending blizzard. I drove across town, arrived just before the driving ban took effect. George was crouched over a hibachi on his front porch.

    Delicious steaks.

  4. Oh god, I can imagine that smell right now and I think it’s the first time I’ve craved ribs before 9am.