How to Smoke Ribs on the Grill and Homemade Dry Rub Recipe

This post Learn How to Smoke Ribs on the Grill was sponsored by Smithfield as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. #SmithfieldGetGrilling #IC

Are you ready for your Labor Day BBQ? Labor Day is approaching and even though it marks the official end of summer, what big plans to you have for your grill? Our family loves ribs. We don’t eat them very often because they are pretty expensive to order them at restaurants but you can feed a crowd when you make them at home. In the past we have tried baking ribs first then grilling and today I am going to share just how easy it is to smoke ribs on a gas grill. 

how to smoke ribs on the grill


Ribs really are not that hard to make, you really just need a long window about 3-4 hours that you are around to allow them to smoke on the grill. That may seem like a long time, but trust me the end result is worth it. While the grill is heating up  and you are preparing your rub mixture, it is a good idea to bring the the ribs to room temperature. 

Dry rubs are simple to make and we had all the spices on hand for this recipe. You can always use a store-bought  dry rub, but homemade rubs allow you to know exactly what is going into your rub mixture and can adapt to your own tastes. 

how to smoke ribs on the grill

When smoking meats, the wood chips are a big factor in the flavoring of your meat. My husband likes apple wood chips but there are a lot to choose from. 

how to smoke ribs on the grill how to smoke ribs on the grill

We chose to grill Smithfield® Extra Tender Fresh Pork St. Louis Style Spareribs that were reasonably priced at our Food Lion store. More importantly, Smithfield Ribs  contain no artificial ingredients and they are enhanced to be as juicy and tender as possible. This is so important when your ribs are going to slow cook for a long time,  who wants dried out ribs? 

How to Smoke Ribs on the Grill and Homemade Dry Rub Recipe


My husband has a grill that has a small smoker feature so this was the perfect recipe to use on his grill.

To prep the grill for smoking, soak your wood chips for at least 30 minutes, we prefer fruit trees, and then place them to the side of the grill. This is where you will have your heat source. The grill should really not get above 300 degrees. If you don’t have a smoker element on your grill, simply put them in a tin container on the far side of your gas grill. 

how to smoke ribs on the grill


First the prep of the ribs, there is a membrane on the back of each rib, you just need to get your finger underneath and pull it off. 


Next massage your BBQ rub onto both sides of your ribs. Don’t be shy, rub in the spices, with clean hands of course.

how to smoke ribs on the grill


how to smoke ribs on the grillhow to smoke ribs on the grill


Don’t open your grill very often. Every once in a while you need to check your chips and add more, and be sure the temperature of the grill does not raise, other than that the grill is doing all the work. BOY does it smell good.

how to smoke ribs on the grill

Boom you are done for 2.5-3.5 hours depending on how many racks and how large they are. 

Time to lather the smoke ribs with the your favorite BBQ Sauce. If you would like a homemade recipe, check out our homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe, otherwise I think we all have a favorite sauce in the grocery store.

You are almost done. I basted both sides liberally with the sauce. Rotate your slabs of ribs half way thru and reapplied more sauce.

how to smoke ribs on the grill

Allow your ribs to sit 20 minutes if you can resist the temptation to grab a rib and gnaw on it right there. Cut and serve.

how to smoke ribs on the grill

Smoking ribs really is not that hard, just a little time consuming. Set your table in festive colors, serve a side of baked beans and root beer floats and you have the perfect Labor Day Meal. 

Be sure to take advantage of the $1.00 off Food Lion coupon on Smithfield Extra Tender Ribs and buy some extra racks to cook later this fall. 

How to smoke ribs on the grill pin

Now do you think you will smoke ribs on the grill?


how to smoke ribs on the grill

Smoked Ribs and Homemade Dry Rub Recipe

Yield: 6 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes

Learn how to make Smoked Ribs and with a Homemade Dry Rub REcipe


  • 2- to 4- tablespoons Dry Rub, see recipe below
  • ½ cup Stubb’s Bar-B-Q Sauce, we fell in love with Sticky Sweet
  • Two, 2- to 3- pound racks of baby back ribs
  • 3 cups wood chips, or 4 to 5 chunks, soaked We prefer fruit trees and used apple
  • 1/4 cup sweet paprika
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons celery salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin


  1. 1.Pull off the thin membrane from the underside of the rack of ribs. Blot each rack of ribs with a paper towel to dry. Massage the spice rub into the ribs on all sides. Leave the ribs at room temperature for up to 1 hour before grilling.
  2. 2. Prepare a grill for indirect cooking by layering soaked wood chips and charcoal. We used a gas grill and filled a tin pan with soaked apple chips. We kept the burners off the area where the ribs lay.
  3. (for coal grilling) When the coals are ashed over, spread them out in one part of the grill so the food can cook to the side and not directly over the coals. Cover the grill and bring it to between 225°F and 235°F. (monitor your gas grill)
  4. 3.Cook the ribs bone side down with the grill lid closed, for 2.5 to 3.5 hours, or until the meat just starts to shrink back from the ends of the bones. To ensure even cooking, set an oven thermometer next to the ribs.
  5. 4. Finish by basting the ribs on both sides with your barbecue sauce of choice, and placing them back on the grill for 5 to 10 minutes. You don't want to burn them. Once completed, set the rib racks on a baking sheet and cover with foil; let them rest for 10 to 20 minutes, then slice and serve. Serve with additional sauce if desired.
Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 865Total Fat 54gSaturated Fat 17gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 34gCholesterol 166mgSodium 2209mgCarbohydrates 47gFiber 6gSugar 22gProtein 49g

All information and tools presented and written within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on should only be used as a general guideline.

Do you love ribs? Be sure to pin this recipe for LaborDay!

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  1. I’ve never grilled ribs before but your step by step pictures makes it look pretty simple. My husband would be pretty impressed with me!

  2. Nothing beats that smoked flavor! These ribs look delicious and I definitely prefer a dry rub over an actual sauce. Can not wait to try them.

  3. One of my younger brothers is a big fan of smoking meats. He enjoys cooking outdoors and would enjoy this recipe.

  4. That sounds so good! My husband grills ribs all the time. I can’t wait for him to try smoking them. Om nom nom.

  5. We often smoke ribs on the grill! They are soo good! I always make my own rubs too! I love your version! I agree with your husband. I’m fond of apple wood!

  6. Definitely! I love ribs and I cannot wait to try to make them this way! Looks delicious!

  7. Those ribs look heavenly! So happy for summer and grilling!

  8. This looks amazing! I wish we had a barbecue big enough to do something like this, ribs are one of my favourite things

  9. I love ribs! I have a smoker which I used exactly once to smoke ribs and they turned out delicious but the smoker leaked a lot of fat at the bottom and ruined our patio (I didn’t know I had to put something underneath it). I love your suggestions of smoking ribs in the bbq – makes it so much easier!

  10. Getting excited for the Labor Day, for sure these smoke ribs will be included in my to-do list!