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How To Make Delicious Smoked Ribs

Inside: Learn how to make delicious, fall-off-the-bone smoked ribs using your Traeger wood pellet grill. Prefer a time-based method? Check out this recipe from Slowpoke Smoking

Smoked Ribs on a Traeger ready to eat

One of our favorite things to cook in the Summer is smoked ribs. Although we love smoking all types of meat, this is always at the top of the list! 

For other ideas, check out the recipes below:

We bought our first Traeger wood pellet grill about a year ago, and we loved it! A couple of months ago, we decided to make a switch to the new Pro 575 grill. The reason is that it has a lot of upgraded features, such as the Traeger WiFire technology, so that you can control the grill from your phone! It also has an upgraded motor and digital controller. 

Overall, we have loved the Pro 575 and recommend it to anyone that is looking for a wood pellet smoker from Traeger. Check it out and buy one here

We had made these ribs on our first smoker, so of course we wanted to try them out right away on the new one. Let me tell you – they did not disappoint! 

How To Make Smoked Ribs Using the 3-2-1 Method

There are a few different ways to make smoked ribs, but our favorite has always been the 3-2-1 method. The “3-2-1” refers to specific cooking times for different stages of the cook. We use this method whether we are using St. Louis spare ribs or baby back ribs. 

The first step is to fire up your wood pellet smoker and set the temperature between 180 and 200. While it is preheating, you can prepare the ribs. You will want to make sure to remove the thin membrane from the bone side if that hasn’t already been done for you. In this case, we bought the ribs pre-trimmed and with the membrane removed.

To season the ribs, we always start by brushing both sides with a thin layer of mustard, and then adding a generous amount of rub to both sides. For this version, we used the Traeger Rub, which gave it an amazing flavor. You can buy some here. Once you have done that, you can let them rest for awhile until the grill has preheated.

Three Hour Period

Smoked Ribs for three hours

For the first three-hour period, you will smoke the ribs meat side up for three hours. While there is no set temperature the ribs have to reach during this period, when we finished the first three hours the internal temperature was about at 130 degrees. 

At that point, you are ready to move on to the next stage.

Two Hour Period

After the initial three hour period, pull the ribs off the smoker and increase the temperature to 225. Then put each rack on a double layer of aluminum foil. Next, you will add about 1/8 of a cup of maple syrup (you can use honey too) to each rib, spreading it out along the top. Following the maple syrup, you will spread brown sugar over the length of each rack. 

Ribs with brown sugar, maple and apple juice

At this point, you should fold up the edges of the aluminum foil so that you can prevent any juices from escaping and so that you can add the apple juice. Once folded up, add the apple juice and top with another piece of aluminum foil, completely enclosing each rack. 

Ribs wrapped and ready

You will then return the wrapped ribs to the smoker and cook for another two hours. After two hours, our ribs were at approximately 165 degrees. 

One Hour Period

After the 2 hour period, you will carefully remove each rack from the aluminum foil. I like to do one at a time and place them on a deep baking pan to prevent messes. This is made so much easier if your smoker has a folding front shelf, because you don’t have to move the ribs very far. You can buy one here for your Pro 575. 

After you dispose of the aluminum foil and liquid, it is time to brush each rack of ribs with barbecue sauce. Traeger has a lot of varieties to choose from, but for this recipe I used the Traeger-Que sauce. It is slightly sweet and tangy, and is delicious! You can buy it here

Adding BBQ sauce to the smoked ribs

After brushing each rack with the barbecue sauce, you will return them to the smoker and continue to cook for 1 additional hour. If you feel that the internal temperature is not increasing enough, you can increase the temperature to 250. At the end of the final hour, you will want your ribs to be somewhere between 180 and 200 degrees.

Keep in mind that it can be hard to get an accurate temperature from ribs because some parts are thicker than others. At this point, the ribs should be tender and you should be able to easily pull the bones from the meat if desired. 

Rest Period

We always let our ribs rest for about 15-20 minutes before serving them. This gives it time to finish cooking and it gives me time to finish getting everything else ready! 

What To Serve With Ribs

These smoked ribs are so good that you can eat them alone, but they also go great with a variety of sides. Here are a few options to choose from:

Whatever you serve it with, I guarantee you that these ribs will be a hit. Don’t forget to let me know in the comments below how it turns out!

Smoked Ribs on a Traeger ready to eat
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4.59 from 39 votes

Fall Off The Bones Smoked Ribs

These smoked ribs use the 3-2-1 method for cooking and are absolutely delicious.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time6 hours
Resting Time15 minutes
Total Time6 hours 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Ribs, Smoked Ribs
Servings: 10 4 oz sections
Calories: 369kcal


  • 2 Racks Pork Loin Back Ribs
  • 1/2 cup Yellow Mustard
  • 1/2 cup Traeger Rub
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1 cup Apple Juice
  • 3/4 cup Traeger-Que Sauce


  • Preheat your smoker to 180-200 degrees.
  • Prepare ribs by brushing mustard on the top and bottom and then coating generously with the rub on both sides as well.
  • Cook ribs meat side up on the smoker for 3 hours and remove from the grill.
  • Increase temperature to 225 degrees.
  • Put each rack of ribs on a double layer of aluminum foil. Add the maple syrup and brown sugar and spread along the length of each rack of ribs.
  • Fold up the edges of the aluminum foil and add the apple juice. Top with an additional piece of aluminum foil and close tightly. Return each rack of ribs to the smoker and cook for two hours.
  • After two hours, remove the ribs carefully from the aluminum foil and dispose of the liquid and the aluminum foil.
  • Brush each rack of ribs with Traeger-Que sauce and continue cooking for 1 additional hour. You can increase the temperature to 250 if needed to ensure that the final internal temperature reaches 180 - 200 degrees.
  • Remove from the smoker and let rest for approximately 15 minutes and serve!


Serving: 14 oz section | Calories: 369kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 465mg | Potassium: 471mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 395IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 178mg | Iron: 5.4mg
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Learn how to make delicious, fall-off-the-bone smoked ribs using your Traeger wood pellet grill.

4.59 from 39 votes (37 ratings without comment)
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Saturday 16th of April 2022

Is it in Fahrenheit or Celsius?

Charbel Barker

Monday 18th of April 2022

It is in fahrenheit.


Monday 29th of November 2021

Can you follow the same process in the oven?

Monday 25th of May 2020

Great ribs

Herman K Klein

Monday 13th of April 2020

Delicious and fall off the bone goodness


Saturday 13th of July 2019

Great instruction to make smoked ribs. Thank you for share these helpful tips. I love Smoked ribs.

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