How to Smoke Beef Ribs? Your Guide to Perfect Smoked BBQ

 How to Smoke Beef Ribs

Do you love to BBQ or use your smoker to create mouth-watering dishes for your loved ones?

If you are a fan of slow-cooking meats, then you must try smoking beef ribs. Beef back ribs, also known as chuck ribs, are an excellent cut for smoking as they have plenty of meat and fat.

The key to smoking beef ribs is to cook them low and slow, making the meat tender and juicy. 

Adding a side of the ribs with your favorite BBQ sauce will create a delicious and flavorful dish that will be sure to impress your guests. Read on to learn how to smoke beef ribs like a pro.

How Do You Prepare Beef Ribs for Smoking?

Preparing beef ribs for smoking is a process that requires attention to detail and patience. Whether you are using plate ribs or a rack of ribs, the preparation steps are the same. Follow these steps to ensure your bbq beef ribs are ready to smoke and turn out perfectly every time.

  • Clean the Ribs: Before you start trimming, it's a good idea to clean the ribs. Rinse the meat under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

  • Trim the Edges: Using a boning knife and a wooden cutting board, trim the edges of the beef ribs. If the fat is too thick, it won't render properly and will be chewy. Trimming the fat will ensure that the meat cooks evenly and becomes tender.

  • Remove the Membrane: Flip over the ribs and use a paper towel to pull the fat until the membrane is exposed. Removing the membrane can take a little time, but it's an important step. The membrane is tough and can prevent the meat from absorbing the flavor of the rub and smoke. Use a sharp knife to loosen the membrane at one end, then use your fingers to pull it off.

  • Trim the Edges Again: Once the membrane is removed, trim the edges again to finalize the preparation. This will create a clean and consistent shape, allowing the meat to cook evenly.

  • Apply the Rub: Now that the ribs are ready, it's time to apply the rub. Use your favorite rub or create a custom blend that complements the flavors of the meat. Apply the rub generously, making sure to cover all sides of the ribs.

  • Let the Ribs Rest: Once the ribs are seasoned, let them rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This will allow the rub to soak into the meat and create a delicious crust on the surface.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Smoke Beef Ribs

cutting smoked beef ribs

After the preparation, you are now ready to smoke the ribs on either your smoker or your Traeger grill. 

Smoking beef ribs is a delicious and satisfying way to enjoy a barbecue at home. With the right equipment and some patience, you can create tender and flavorful beef ribs that will impress any guest. This step-by-step guide will show you how to smoke beef ribs using a Traeger pellet grill and butcher paper.


Before smoking the beef ribs, you need to season them properly. We recommend combining garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Rub the seasoning all over the ribs, covering every inch.


Preheat your Traeger pellet grill to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the grill has reached the desired temperature, clean the grates thoroughly to ensure the best possible cooking environment.

Making Smoke

Now it’s time to make smoke. Add some wood pellets to the hopper of your Traeger grill. We recommend using oak or hickory pellets for a classic smoked BBQ flavor. Once the pellets are loaded, turn the grill on and let it heat up for about 10 minutes.

Smoking the Ribs

Place the beef ribs on the grill, close the lid, and let them smoke for about 3 hours. During this time, it’s important to maintain a consistent temperature of 275 degrees Fahrenheit. This will ensure that the ribs cook evenly and develop a delicious crust.

Spraying the Ribs

After 3 hours, remove the ribs from the smoker and spray them with apple cider vinegar and water. This will help keep the ribs moist and prevent drying out. Return the ribs to the smoker and let them smoke for another 2-3 hours.

Check the temperature of the Ribs

Check the internal temperature of the ribs using a meat thermometer. The ideal temperature for smoked beef ribs is around 200-205 degrees Fahrenheit. When the ribs reach this temperature, they are done and ready to be removed from the smoker.

Wrapping the Ribs

Once the ribs are done, remove them from the smoker and wrap them in butcher paper. This will help to keep them warm and retain their moisture. Let the ribs rest for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Traeger smoked beef ribs are a delicious way to enjoy a barbecue at home. Following these simple steps, you can create tender and flavorful beef ribs that impress any guest. Remember to season the ribs properly, maintain a consistent temperature, and spray them with apple cider vinegar and water to keep them moist. When the ribs come off the smoker, wrap them in butcher paper and let them rest before serving. Enjoy!


How long does it take to smoke a rack of beef ribs?

It will take about 8-10 hours to fully smoke beef ribs, but the exact time will depend on the temperature of your smoker, the size of the ribs, and other factors. It's important to monitor the internal temperature of the ribs to determine when they are done. Aim for an internal temperature of around 190-205 degrees Fahrenheit for tender, fall-off-the-bone beef ribs.

Do you need to wrap beef short ribs when smoking?

Whether or not to wrap beef ribs while smoking is a matter of personal preference. Some pitmasters wrap their beef ribs in butcher paper or foil to speed up the cooking process and retain moisture, while others prefer to let the ribs smoke unwrapped for the entire cooking time.

It's worth noting that beef ribs have high intramuscular fat, which helps keep the meat juicy and flavorful as it cooks. As a result, wrapping may not be necessary for beef ribs, as the fat content will naturally help to retain moisture.

If you choose to wrap your beef ribs, it can help speed up the cooking process and get them to the desired internal temperature more quickly. However, adjust your total cooking time accordingly, as wrapping can shorten the cooking time. Ultimately, deciding whether to wrap or not is up to the person and their preference.


Now that you know how to smoke beef ribs, you can enjoy a delicious and flavorful barbecue meal in the comfort of your own backyard. Remember to monitor the internal temperature of the thickest part of the meat for perfect results. Additionally, you can experiment with different rubs and wood chips to create unique flavors and find your favorite rib recipes. Don't forget that these smoking techniques can also be applied to other types of ribs, such as baby back and pork ribs.