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The Best Smoked Ribs Recipe

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. 

How to smoke 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.

Not too long ago, someone gave my husband a rub that they thought was really good.  We tried it and were taken back by how salty it was.  It was so salty that we were not able to eat all of the ribs that we used it on.

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.  (Cooking Light 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 that much.

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 1/4 cup of salt – that is 4 tablespoons.  Are you surprised at how much sodium they have?

Homemade Dry Rub for Smoked Ribs recipe
How To Smoke Ribs

To make these Smoked Ribs, be sure to let them soak in a citrus-y soda beforehand.  We used Mountain Dew, but I imagine that any will work. Follow the recipe below for the rub and smoking directions.

4.71 from 17 votes

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.
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine American
Keyword ribs, smoked, smoker
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings 4 slabs
Calories 826 kcal
Author Lynda


  • 4 slabs pork ribs
  • Mountain Dew
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp.+ 1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s Original BBQ Sauce
  • Wood chips
  • Charcoal


  1. Night Before: Remove membrane from underside of ribs. Soak ribs in Mountain Dew overnight in refrigerator. Soak wood chips in water.
  2. Day of Cooking: Combine spices and rub over ribs and let sit in refrigerator for a few hours.
  3. 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.)
  4. Smoke for approximately 4 hours. About three hours into smoking, generously apply Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce. Check to ensure that internal temperature of ribs is 165°.

Nutrition Facts
The Best Smoked Rib Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 /2 slab)
Calories 826
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

How to smoke ribs on a charcoal grill
What do you like to eat with ribs?

Here are some dessert recipes that pair well with smoked ribs:

Easy Carne Asada in the Instant Pot
Classic Southern Pound Cake with Strawberries
Recipe Rating


Monday 18th of June 2018

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


Saturday 18th of November 2017

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.


Sunday 19th of November 2017

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. :)


Tuesday 9th of July 2013

Love ribs! Those look so good!


Tuesday 9th of July 2013

They were. Had a little bit of a kick to them, too!


Monday 8th of July 2013

Mt. Dew? No way! Gotta try this.

Crystal @ Simply Being

Monday 8th of July 2013

Yum! I love me some ribs, but my hubby, he's silly. He won't eat meat off a bone!