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The Best Smoked Ribs Recipe

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You don’t have to drive to the Carolinas or Memphis to enjoy the best Smoked Ribs. This recipe will allow you to make them wherever you are. The rib rub has some serious sweet heat – so be sure to have your favorite beverage nearby when you eat them.

Slabs of ribs on a charcoal smoker.

Rain or Shine it’s time for ribs. Not just any ribs. My husband’s Smoked Ribs. You’re in luck because I am sharing his special recipe with you. Cooked right, they will more than likely be the best smoked ribs you have ever eaten.

Why You Should Make Your Own Rib Rub

The advantage of making your own rub for Smoked Ribs is that you control the quantity of the individual ingredients that go into the mix. If you or someone you love has hypertension, you can always cut back on the salt. My husband’s rub has only one tablespoon of salt = 7200 mg of sodium.

According to the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Tolerable Upper Intake Levels chart, for most people the maximum amount of sodium we should consume each day is 2300 mg. (The American Heart Association has a good article about sodium if you would like to learn more.)

Now with the above information, you may think that there is too much sodium in the rub, but keep in mind that this rub will cover at least two slabs of ribs. Though they are fantastic, you really should not eat two slabs of ribs by yourself.

A quick look at other rubs, our recipe has at least half the sodium. Bobby Flay’s recipe calls for 2 tablespoons. A copycat recipe of Famous Dave’s Rib Rub calls for ¼ cup of salt – that is 4 tablespoons. Are you surprised at how much sodium they have?

Dry rub for ribs.

Ingredients

To make the best ribs at home, you need the following:

  • 4 slabs of pork ribs
  • Mountain Dew
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s Original BBQ Sauce
  • Wood chips
  • Charcoal

Instructions

To make these smoked pork ribs, you actually get started the day/night before.

The night before you plan on smoking, the first step that you need to do is to remove the thin membrane (it looks like silver skin) from the underside of the ribs. Soak the ribs in Mountain Dew overnight in the refrigerator in a large container. (I buy JUMBO ZipLock bags to do this.) Soak wood chips in water.

Though you can make the dry rub the day that you smoke the ribs, I recommend that you go ahead and prepare it the night before. It’s one more way to help ensure that you have all of your ingredients.

The Day of Cooking: Drain the Mountain Dew from the ribs. Combine the spices and rub over the ribs and let them sit in the refrigerator for a few hours.

Heat coals in the smoker. Once it is at the ideal range, place the ribs in the smoker on the top rack. (We place chicken drumettes on the bottom rack to get the most use out of the charcoal.)

Putting bbq sauce on rack of ribs.

Smoke the ribs for approximately 4 hours. During the last half hour, generously apply Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce. Check to ensure that the internal temperature reaches 165° Fahrenheit.

Basting bbq sauce on ribs.

When the ribs have finished cooking, remove them and let them cool for about 10 minutes before cutting. We like to place the ribs on a rimmed baking sheet to make transporting them from the smoker to the kitchen easier. It also helps contain the barbecue sauce and minimize the mess.

Ribs on a sheet pan.

Here are some dessert recipes that pair well with these sweet ribs:

bbq ribs on a smoker

The Best Smoked Rib Recipe

Forget Memphis and St. Louis. You can enjoy the best ribs AT HOME with this recipe.  The rib rub has some serious sweet heat – so be sure to have your favorite beverage nearby when you eat them.
4.71 from 27 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 4 slabs
Calories: 826kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 slabs pork ribs
  • Mountain Dew
  • ¾ cups brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Paprika
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper + 1 ½ tsp
  • 1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray’s Original BBQ Sauce
  • Wood chips
  • Charcoal

Instructions

  • Night Before: Remove membrane from underside of ribs. Soak ribs in Mountain Dew overnight in refrigerator. Soak wood chips in water.
  • Day of Cooking: Drain the Mountain Dew from the ribs. Combine spices and rub over ribs and let sit in refrigerator for a few hours.
  • Heat coals in smoker. Once at ideal range, place ribs in smoker on top rack. (We placed chicken drumettes on bottom rack to get the most use out of the charcoal.)
  • Smoke for approximately 4 hours. During the last half hour, generously apply Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce. Check to ensure that the internal temperature of ribs is 165° Fahrenheit before removing from the smoker.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/2 slab | Calories: 826kcal
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Ribs on a smoker.

Be sure to come back and tell us how your ribs turned out!

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38 Comments

  1. I have a recipe with any Clear soda(lemon-lime). I will try the brown-suger & sauce Thanks!!!It’s already a 7Up Recipe Out there!

  2. 5 stars
    What a uniques idea that is to soak the ribs in something citrusy overnight! I LOVE IT! I’m definitely going to try this the next time I smoke ribs

  3. 5 stars
    Never smoked a thing before and son wanted ribs for rehearsal dinner at his wedding. So I found this recipe. Made just as directed except put in aluminum foil last hour with BBQ sauce, we had people asking if we were professional caterers said we’d win any rib contest around several people said. They were the best I’ve ever eaten. Given a choice this would be my 1st choice every time.

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by to comment. This recipe is our go-to recipe for ribs and we love them, too. I am so glad that your guests were impressed and that they turned out great for your son’s rehearsal dinner. 🙂

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