These Spicy Smoked Pork Ribs are made up of beautiful racks of tender, juicy pork and a simple homemade sweet and spicy pork rib rub. With just 5 minutes of prep, this pork ribs recipe makes smoking pork easy!
Smoked ribs are one of those meals that tend to intimidate new grillers. So we’re going to take a step back to demystify smoking pork ribs…because you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to achieve award-winning smoked ribs.
All you need is a high-quality cut of meat, a killer dry rub, and a little bit of time. You’ll nail these Spicy Smoked Pork Ribs every time!
- Pork Rib Rub – we’re making a homemade dry rub out of brown sugar, salt, paprika, cayenne, and cumin.
- Pork Ribs – I use Smithfield Extra Tender Fresh Pork Back Ribs.
- Apple Juice – we’re using apple juice to keep the meat moist as it smokes.
- BBQ Sauce – I use BBQ sauce to baste the ribs in the last hour of cooking. This adds even more moisture and flavor.
How to Smoke Pork Ribs
First, mix all of the dry rub ingredients in a small bowl.
Remove the pork ribs from the package, pat them dry, then arrange them on a clean work surface. Remove the membrane, if desired, then season liberally with the dry rub. Allow the meat to sit for 1 hour to give the seasonings time to absorb into the meat.
Prep your charcoal and wood chunks and set up your smoker for indirect heat at 225ºF. Arrange a drip pan under the cooler side of the grill and pour in apple juice. Place a grate over top and add on the pork rib racks. Smoke for 3 hours.
Remove the ribs from the grill, wrap them in foil, then add them back onto the grill. Cook for another 1-2 hours, spritzing a couple of times with apple juice to moisten.
For the last hour of cooking, unwrap the ribs and baste them with BBQ sauce. When the ribs are done cooking, place them on the hotter side of the grill for a couple of minutes to char, then serve and enjoy.
What Cut of Pork Ribs to Use
I use Smithfield Extra Tender Fresh Pork Back Ribs because they’re tender, juicy, and super easy to work with.
You could also use spare ribs or St. Louis style ribs for this recipe if preferred.
How Long to Smoke Pork Ribs
When it comes to smoking, it’s never about time. Factors that affect cook time can include temperature, wind, altitude, and the product. While there are rough estimates, you’re better off going with temperature. This puts so much more in your control in terms of tenderness, flavor, and texture.
For smoked pork ribs, I aim for a temperature of 200ºF which usually takes anywhere from 4-5 hours total. Again, this is a rough estimate and will depend on your conditions, so invest in quality thermometers.
- Pat the ribs dry. Ridding the ribs of any excess moisture will help that form that delicious crust as they cook.
- Wait an hour after seasoning. After you season the ribs, let them sit for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours before cooking. This gives the meat time to absorb all of that flavor.
- Cook on indirect heat. Lower and slower is where it’s at for ultimate tender juiciness.
Check the temp. I shoot for somewhere between 195ºF and 205ºF for perfectly smoked pork ribs.
How to Store
Leftover smoked pork ribs will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. To reheat, thaw in the fridge if frozen then warm at 250øF in the oven until heated through.
More Grill Rib Inspiration
- Beginner Dry Rub Smoked Ribs
- Smoked St. Louis Style BBQ Ribs
- Memphis Style Smoked Ribs
- Hickory Smoked Pork Ribs with Paleo BBQ Sauce
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For the Dry Rub
- 4 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp cumin
For the Ribs
- 2 racks Smithfield Extra Tender Fresh Pork Back Ribs
- 1 cup apple juice
- Barbecue sauce, if desired
For the dry rub:
- Whisk the dry rub ingredients together in a bowl.
- Remove the pork ribs from the package and pat dry. Arrange on a clean work surface.
- Carefully remove the membrane on the back side of the ribs, if desired.
- Rub the pork ribs thoroughly with the dry rub.
- Allow to sit at least 1 hour before grilling.
When ready to grill:
- Prep your charcoal and wood chunks.
- Set up your smoker for indirect heat, 225 degrees.
- Arrange a drip pan under the cooler side of the grill. Pour in the apple juice.
- Place the grate over top and arrange the racks of pork ribs.
- Smoke for 3 hours.
- Carefully remove the ribs and wrap them in foil tightly.
- Place them back on the grill.
- Keep an eye on your temperature and adjust as needed to maintain 225 degrees.
- Let the ribs cook for another 1 to 2 hours on the grill, spritzing with apple juice once or twice while cooking, about every 45 minutes.
- For the last hour of cooking, unwrap and baste with sauce, if using.
- Place the pork ribs over the hotter side of the grill to char, flipping often, just to finish the ribs off.
- Serve hot.
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