Delicious Smoky St. Louis Ribs: A Finger-Licking Grilling Adventure

Nov 10, 2023 | Main Courses


Prep Time

Cooking Time

30 minutes
4 hours 30 minutes to 5 hours


There’s something about ribs that brings people together. Whether it’s a backyard cookout, a family reunion, or a championship football game, ribs have the power to make any occasion a memorable one. Today, I want to share with you my take on the classic Smoky St. Louis Ribs. Originating from the heartland of America, these juicy ribs with their bold flavors hold a special place in my heart. So, let’s fire up the grill, and get ready for some finger-licking goodness!

Smoky St. Louis Ribs


– 2 racks of St. Louis-style pork ribs
– 1/4 cup of brown sugar
– 2 tablespoons of paprika
– 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
– 1 tablespoon of onion powder
– 1 tablespoon of chili powder
– 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
– 1 tablespoon of black pepper
– 1 tablespoon of kosher salt
– 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (adjust according to your heat preference)
– 1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce (plus extra for serving)



1. Preparing the Ribs:
– Start by removing the silverskin on the back of the rib racks. Use a butter knife to lift the edge of the membrane and then grab it with a paper towel to pull it off completely. This will ensure that the smoke and flavors penetrate the meat evenly.
– Rinse the ribs under cold water and pat them dry using paper towels. Place them on a baking sheet and let them rest at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes.

2. Creating the Barbecue Rub:
– In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, ground cumin, black pepper, kosher salt, and cayenne pepper. Mix well to create a fragrant and balanced rub.

3. Applying the Rub:
– Generously sprinkle the rub over both sides of the ribs, pressing it gently to help it adhere to the meat. Make sure you cover every nook and cranny, ensuring a flavorful bite in every mouthwatering rib.

4. Preparing the Grill:
– Set up your grill for indirect cooking with a temperature of 225°F to 250°F (107°C to 121°C). If using charcoal, place a drip pan filled with water in the center and arrange the charcoal on both sides. If using a gas grill, light only one side and place the ribs on the unlit side.

5. Smoking the Ribs:
– Once the grill has reached the desired temperature, place the seasoned ribs on the grate, bone side down, away from direct heat. Close the lid and let the magic happen!
– Maintain a consistent temperature throughout the cooking process. Add wood chips or chunks, such as hickory or applewood, soaked in water for 30 minutes before use, for that tantalizing smoky flavor. Replenish them every hour for the first 3 hours.

6. The Wait:
– Allow the ribs to smoke undisturbed for 3 to 4 hours. During this time, resist the temptation to peek too often. The low and slow approach will reward you with incredible tenderness.

7. Glazing with Barbecue Sauce:
– After the initial smoke, it’s time to brush on the barbecue sauce. Using a basting brush, lightly coat both sides of the ribs with your favorite sauce, ensuring an even layer.
– Close the grill and let the ribs cook for an additional 30 minutes to an hour, allowing the sauce to caramelize and form a luscious glaze. The ribs will be done when they reach an internal temperature of 195°F to 203°F (90°C to 95°C) and the meat has pulled back from the bone.

8. Resting and Serving:
– Remove the ribs from the grill and let them rest for about 10 minutes, allowing the juices to redistribute and the flavors to meld.
– Slice the ribs between each bone and serve them up on a platter. Drizzle some extra barbecue sauce if desired, because more is never a bad thing!

Cooking Instructions


– Experiment with different wood chips or chunks to add your own unique twist to the smoky flavor. Try mesquite for a bolder taste or cherrywood for a slightly sweet profile.
– For a spicier kick, increase the amount of cayenne pepper in the rub or add a pinch of red pepper flakes.
– If you want to save time, you can apply the rub on the ribs a day in advance and let them rest in the refrigerator overnight. This will further enhance the flavors and tenderize the meat.

Smoky St. Louis Ribs


Smoky St. Louis Ribs are more than just a dish – they’re an experience. The hickory-infused smoke, the succulent tenderness, and the perfect balance of sweet and smoky flavors will transport you to barbecue heaven. So, gather your loved ones, fire up the grill, and indulge in a feast that will leave you forever craving more. Enjoy the joyous celebration of food, friends, and the undeniable pleasure of St. Louis-style ribs!

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