Learn How To Smoke Ribs In An Electric Smoker | Smoked Rib Recipes Included

How To Smoke Ribs With An Electric Smoker

When it comes to smoking ribs, even the most veteran electric smoker advocates take to online guides to find the best recipes and approaches to smoking the perfect rack of ribs. Including me! But I found its impossible to find a great thorough guide in one spot!

But I smoke ribs often.

Like, really often.

Some recipes I have tried come out great. While others were more than just a little bit disappointing. Which is the reason why I decided to list some of the best recipes, and approaches to smoking the perfect ribs in one place.

So, without further ado – here is what I typically do when cooking a nice juicy rack of ribs or baby back ribs.

The Basics: How To Use An Electric Smoker Without Smoking Your House Down

Here is an in-depth guide on how to use your electric smoker. If you haven’t used your smoker yet, this is the place to start.

If you know the basics, skip this section and we can get a start on smoking the perfect great ribs.

First – What Recipe Do You Plan On Using

I have tried and tested tons of smoked rib recipes. From different types of rib, right down to different basting and seasoning.

Throughout all of my trial and error runs, where my taste buds were my line of defense, I found a killer recipe which my family and friends loved every time.

Here are the steps that I go through for my favorite recipe. But that does not mean that you are restricted to only this recipe. In fact, the entire cooking process is pretty much the same besides the ingredients for the rub and the basting (which we will get into)
At the end of my step-by-step guide, I will even throw in a few different recipes that you may enjoy trying.

My Favourite Recipe: How To Smoke Mouth Watering Baby Back Ribs

How Long To Smoke Ribs In Electric Smoker

  • 6 Hours Cook Time (3 – 2 -1 smoking method)
  • 2 Hours Preperation (Ribs sit in the fridge with Rub to soak flavor)
  • 1 Hour To Soak Wood Chips (This can be done during prep time)
  • 30 Minutes – Set ribs to room temperture (before cooking)
  • 30 Minutes – Leave ribs to rest in aluminum (after cooking)

The whole process will take about 9 hours from start to finish. If usually prepare the ribs the night before, so it takes about 7 hours from start to finish.

Ingredients Needed

  • 2 racks of baby back (normal) ribs (about 3-pounds each works best in my opinion)
  • A quarter-cup of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup apple juice or cider
  • 2 tablespoons Worcester sauce
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Vegetable oil to brush the grills (removes stickiness)

Best Woodchips To Use

8 – 10 cups of Mesquite wood chips

Here are alternative wood chip options:

Prepare Your Meat To Maximize The Juicy Flavour

I generally prepare my meat before doing anything else.
Next, take the “not-so-nice” parts of the meat, chop it off and junk it. You only want the tasty parts of the ribs in your smoker. That means removing any fat that may be on the ribs. Making sure you only have prime ribs in the smoker.

Another part of the rib you want to remove is the membrane. You know that rubber feeling bottom layer of the ribs; that’s the part you really don’t want when you smoke them. You can scrap this part of the rib off with the use of a blunt knife.

The only fat I don’t remove is that between the bones. As this is where all the juice and flavor is going to come from.

Get The Rub On The Meat

This is the final step before you toss those juicy marinated delights into the smoker.

You want to take the cumin, brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, mustard powder and 2 tablespoons of salt and place them into a shallow bowl. Make sure you thoroughly stir up these spices into a fine-dine solution.

Once that is done you want to rub this spice all over the ribs. Make sure to get between the bones, and into the hard to reach places. This spice combination (rub) is what is going to give your smoked ribs the edge that leaves your taste buds in heaven.

This part is important, place the ribs into a large roasting pan (cover) and refrigerate. You can leave it in the refrigerator for either two hours or overnight.

Soak Your Wood Chips

You can generally do this particular step later if you like soaking your ribs. Generally, I prefer to do it before I start placing the rub on the meat, purely because it works out better time-wise for me.

Soaking your woodchips is completely optional. Personally, I don’t do it all the time. But when I do, I ensure that the woodchips get to soak in water for at least an hour before I put them to use. Generally, you want to soak roughly 10 cups of wood chips (which should be enough for the entire cookout.)

Set Ribs To Room Temperture

Roughly half an hour before you start smoking your meat, take the now marinated, rubbed, baby back ribs out of the refrigerator. Let them rest at room temperature (30 minutes out of the fridge at least), while you get the final preparations ready.

Prepare Your Basting

We suggest use mix the basting in a small spray bottle.

Now, you want to take the Worcester sauce, apple juice, as well as apple cider vinegar and mix them all up – shaken not stirred!

This will be your basting for while you cook your ribs.

Preheat Your Electric Smoker

Your ribs are ready. They have been spiced, diced, and juiced up. All that’s left to do is preheat your electric smoker.

I generally heat the smoker up to roughly 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Personally, nothing sucks more than tantalizing good meat being wasted thanks to a sticky grill. Not to mention how painful it can be to clean sticky grills. Which is why once the smoker has reached the desired temperature, the first thing I do is spray vegetable oil onto the grill.
This helps reduce the chance of meat clinging to its last hope of not being eaten.

Once this is done, you can finally place your ribs into the electric smoker.

The 3 – 2 – 1 Formula To Amazing Ribs!

The 3 – 2 – 1 process will stand for

  • 3 hours smoking
  • 2 hours, add basting and place in aluminum and place back
  • 1 hour with new wood chips

3 Hours To Go

Make sure you are at 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place your ribs directly on the racks for 3 hours.

Now comes the smoking process.

Side note: Many people smoke ribs at 275, so you may be wondering:
“How long to cook ribs at 275 in electric smoker…”
As this is generally the range that most grillers take to. However, I suggest staying away from that temperature for a nice thorough cooking.

2 Hours To Go


After this period of time, your stomach is probably begging you for mercy. Just remember you are halfway there. Generally, this is the time where I take the ribs out of the smoker, spray my homemade basting sauce onto the ribs. Make sure to coat the ribs thoroughly (don’t be shy about it).

If you want to maximize the flavor of the ribs, wrap them in heavy-duty aluminum foil before slotting them back into your electric smoker.

1 Hour To Go


Finally, in the last hour, your stomach is ready to collapse. But your taste buds are screaming in delight at the aroma coming out of your smoker. It’s almost time to eat.

You want to check up on your ribs to make sure everything is going as it should. Be sure to add more wood chips if necessary. If you have a meat thermostat, you can remove the ribs once the interior of the meat has reached 160-degrees.

Otherwise, once the final hour is up – it’s time to remove those succulent treats from the smoker.

Let It Rest While You Set Everything Up

This one tip changed my life forever when it came to the quality of my ribs. Letting the ribs rest.

This ensures the meat absorbs all the juices from the cooking process, making it that much more tender and juicy. I recommend letting it rest for roughly 30 minutes by covering it in thin aluminum foil.

Now, all that’s left to do is enjoy the dish!

Now, I’m sure you want to try new recipes in the future.

Here is a round-up of tasty smoked baby back rib recipes

Here is a round-up of tasty smoked spare rib recipes

Please send pictures of the smoked ribs you made!

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