Patricks BBQ Pork Recipes

Smoked Pork Ribs

Making smoked BBQ pork ribs Patrick's way.

This simple recipe is an easy way to make perfect smoked pork ribs.

What's unique about my smoked ribs recipe?

Well, simply put, it's simple. In this recipe, I use a store bought dry rub called "Barbecue Magic" from Chef Paul Prudhomme. It's great on almost any BBQ meat. If you are ambitious, you can make your own dry rub according to my NC rub recipe.

Pork Ribs with Dry Rub

My smoked pork rib recipe

I have cooked using this simple rib recipe dozens of times! My recipe makes perfect smoked ribs using my simple smoker-to-oven process. Note, because this is a shorter smoke, I recommend using wood pellets versus chips. They tend to start producing good smoke earlier in the cooking session.

What you'll need: Pork ribs, mustard, dry rub, can of soda, wood pellets, heavy duty foil, cutting board and sharp knife!


  • 2 racks of pork ribs
  • NC-style dry rub
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup salt
    • 1/4 cup paprika
    • 1/4 cup black pepper
    • 1/4 cup white pepper
    • 1 1/2 tbsp. onion powder
    • 1 1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
    • 2 tsp. ground mustard
  • 1/2 cup Cheerwine or Rootbeer soda
  • Barbecue sauce (optional)
  • Mashed potatoes (optional)
  • Corn off the cob (optional)


How to smoke pork ribs:

  • Prepare the smoker according to manufacturer instructions, maintaining a temperature of 215°F.
  • Apply mustard all over the ribs, this helps the rub stick to the surface of the meat.
  • Next, sprinkle the dry rub generously on both sides of the ribs and let them sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
  • Place the ribs on the smoker grate, bone-side down, and smoke for approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 225°F.
  • Remove ribs from smoker and wrap in aluminum foil, carefully fill bottom of foil with soda* before sealing. Place wrapped ribs in a shallow roasting pan to catch any drippings.
  • Transfer ribs to the oven, and slow cook for 1.5-2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 195°F.
  • Once done, let the ribs rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
  • Pair with your favorite BBQ sauce and enjoy the tender and flavorful smoked pork ribs!

* The soda will convert to steam when it reaches a temperature of 212°F.

History of Pork Ribs

The history of BBQ pork ribs in the United States is closely interwoven with the development of "barbecue culture" and its regional variations. Originating from ancient cooking practices of slow-roasting meats over open flames, barbecue took shape during the colonial era when early colonists in the South adopted and refined these methods, often focusing on pork due to its abundance. African Americans brought their expertise in slow-cooking techniques and spices, significantly influencing American barbecue, especially pork ribs.

The heart of American BBQ culture settled in the South, where BBQ became staples at social gatherings, political rallies, and church events in the 19th century. Distinct regional styles emerged, with Carolina favoring vinegar-based sauces, Kansas City famous for its sweet and tangy tomato-based sauces, Memphis specializing in dry-rubbed ribs, and Texas offering a simple spice rub and smoking method.

In the 21st century, BBQ pork ribs continue to thrive and evolve. Barbecue competitions, TV shows, and food festivals have popularized the art of barbecue, encouraging innovation in flavors, sauces, and cooking methods. Today, BBQ pork ribs remain a beloved American dish, savored in homes, restaurants, and barbecue festivals nationwide. The rich history of BBQ pork ribs in the US reflects the country's diverse culinary heritage, blending traditions and regional influences into an iconic and flavorful culinary experience.

What Are the Different Cuts of Pork Ribs?

Pork ribs come in several cuts, the most common include:

  • Baby Back Ribs: Also known as loin back ribs or back ribs, baby back ribs are taken from the top of the pig's ribcage near the spine. They are shorter and curved than spare ribs, with more tender and leaner meat. Baby back ribs are popular due to their tenderness and a higher meat-to-bone ratio, making them a favorite at many BBQ restaurants.
  • Spare Ribs: Spare ribs are cut from the belly side of the pig's ribcage (below baby back ribs). They are longer, and flatter than baby back ribs. While they have more fat and connective tissue, they also offer a richer flavor. Spare ribs are an excellent choice for slow cooking methods like smoking, allowing fat and collagen to render and tenderize the meat.
  • St. Louis Style Ribs: These ribs are a variation of spare ribs but have been trimmed to a more rectangular shape by removing the rib tips and the breastbone. The St. Louis-style ribs are more uniform in appearance and cook more evenly than untrimmed spare ribs. They are popular in competition barbecue and are preferred by some cooks for their neat presentation.
  • Rib Tips: When spare ribs are trimmed into St. Louis-style ribs, the triangular pieces removed are called rib tips. These small, flavorful morsels can be used in various dishes or smoked to create a protein-filled snack.

"Tug" and "Chew" in Competitive BBQ Competitions

In competition barbecue, achieving the perfect doneness for pork ribs is crucial. These methods help judges determine whether the ribs are cooked to the ideal texture and tenderness:

  • Tug - Tug refers to the ease with which a judge can pull the meat away from the bone using their teeth. When a rib is perfectly cooked, it should offer some resistance to the initial bite (not fall apart) but then come away from the bone with a gentle tug. The meat should not be tough or require excessive force to pull off the bone, nor too firm. Achieving the right tug is essential because it indicates that the meat is cooked (but not overcooked), maintaining juiciness and flavor.
  • Chew - Chew, as the name suggests, evaluates how the meat feels when you chew it. Judges look for a tender and easily chewable rib without disintegrating in the mouth. Overcooked ribs can be overly soft, while undercooked ribs can be tough. The ideal rib should resist slightly before yielding to the bite, ensuring a pleasant chewing experience.

Competitors in barbecue competitions strive to balance these two factors to create ribs with the perfect combination of a gentle tug and a pleasant chew. Achieving this balance requires precise cooking techniques, including maintaining the right temperature and cooking duration.

Pork ribs with dry rub on foil
Pork ribs sprinkled with a dry rub.

Patrick's BBQ tips:

Try using Pecan wood for your next smoke
. Pecan wood has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor with a rich smokiness. Pecan is "smokier" than other fruit woods (like apple), but more mild than hickory or mesquite.

Learn the Language:
Understanding the language of BBQ will help make you a better pitmaster.

Patrick's Pork Recipes

Perfect smoker temperature
Smoked pork ribs
Patrick's smoked ribs on a plate

Here are some regional styles of pork barbecue, including Carolina, Kansas City, Memphis, and Texas BBQ.

Patrick's Pork recipes feature a simple "smoker to oven" BBQ cooking method.

 Pulled Pork •  Pork Ribs •  Pork Loin •  Hot Dogs •  BBQ Dry Rub •  Deep Fried Pork Tenderloin

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