Smoking Pork Ribs on a Traeger Pellet Smoker
If you’re a fan of delicious and mouth-watering pork ribs, then you’re probably interested in learning how to smoke them to perfection. Smoking pork ribs might sound like a daunting task, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through how to smoke pork ribs using a Traeger pellet smoker, one of the most popular smokers on the market.
Before we dive into the smoking process itself, there are a few things you need to know about pork ribs. There are two main types of pork ribs: baby back ribs and spare ribs. Baby back ribs are smaller and leaner, while spare ribs are larger and meatier. Both types of ribs can be smoked on a Traeger, but the cooking time and technique may vary slightly depending on the type of rib you’re using.
The first step to smoking pork ribs on a Traeger pellet smoker is to prepare the ribs. We recommend trimming any excess fat and removing the membrane from the back of the ribs. This will help the rub and smoke penetrate the meat more effectively, resulting in a more flavorful and tender rib.
Once you’ve prepped the ribs, it’s time to apply the rub. There are countless rubs available on the market, or you can make your own using your preferred blend of spices. For pork ribs, we recommend a sweet and savory rub that includes brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Rub the mixture generously on both sides of the ribs, making sure to cover every inch of meat.
Now that the ribs are properly seasoned, it’s time to fire up the Traeger. Make sure you fill the hopper with wood pellets, and choose a hardwood flavor that complements pork, such as hickory, apple or cherry. Preheat the Traeger to 225°F, which is the optimal temperature for smoking ribs.
Once the Traeger is preheated, place the ribs on the grill grates, bone-side down. Close the lid and let the smoker do its job. One of the benefits of using a Traeger pellet smoker is that it uses an electric auger to feed wood pellets into the fire pot, which creates a consistent smoke and temperature. This means you can sit back and relax while the Traeger smokes the ribs to perfection.
The cooking time for pork ribs can vary depending on a few factors, such as the thickness of the meat and the type of rib you’re using. As a general rule of thumb, baby back ribs will take around 4-6 hours to smoke, while spare ribs may take 5-8 hours. However, it’s important to remember that cooking times are not set in stone, and you should always use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the ribs. The ideal temperature for pork ribs is 190°F-205°F.
After the ribs have been smoking for a few hours, it’s time to start spritzing them with apple juice or another liquid of your choice. This will help keep the ribs moist while also adding flavor. Repeat this step every 30 minutes or so, making sure to keep the lid closed as much as possible to maintain a consistent temperature.
During the last hour of the smoking process, it’s time to wrap the ribs in foil. This is known as the “Texas crutch” and will help tenderize the ribs while also infusing them with additional flavor. Place each rack of ribs on a large piece of foil, and add a few tablespoons of apple juice or beer to the foil pouch. Wrap the foil tightly around the ribs, making sure there are no openings for the juice to escape. Place the wrapped ribs back on the smoker, bone-side down, and let them cook for another hour or so.
Once the cooking time is complete, remove the ribs from the Traeger and let them rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender and flavorful rib. Cut the ribs apart using a sharp knife, and serve them with your favorite BBQ sauce or glaze.
In conclusion, smoking pork ribs on a Traeger pellet smoker is a delicious and rewarding experience that any BBQ enthusiast can enjoy. With the right tools and techniques, you can create mouth-watering ribs that will leave your guests begging for more. Remember to choose the right type of rib, season them generously, and use a meat thermometer to ensure they are cooked to perfection. Happy smoking!