How Long To Smoke Ribs (And Why)?

How Long To Smoke Ribs (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Approx. 6 Hours.

Tender, juicy, easy, and finger-licking deliciously good smoked ribs are one of the best meals one can make for a summer picnic day or a grand party as they are everyone’s favorite feast that is surprisingly quite simple to make with the right tips and tricks.

However, to make the restaurant-style smoked ribs at home, the proper technique of smoking ribs must be known. Mastering smoked ribs is not a herculean task if one is aware of how long the ribs are to be smoked to get that perfect smoky flavor that tastes heavenly. When cooked properly, the meat from these ribs will just fall off the bone as they are tender, versatile, and without a doubt, extremely tasty.

How Long To Smoke Ribs

How Long To Smoke Ribs?

Smoking ribs at a certain temperature3 Hours
Wrapping the ribs in foil with liquid2 Hours
Saucing the ribs1 Hour

There are several different ways to cook ribs to tender perfection but the most common one is the 3-2-1 method of smoking ribs. This method is a foolproof way that ensures the meat falls off the tender ribs.

This method has gained immense popularity for smoking ribs at home as it results in flawless taste and churns out the super tender ribs that fall off the bone every time. With this method, it takes 6 hours to get that perfect smoked ribs which are extremely mouth-watering.


6 hours of preparation of smoked ribs are essentially divided as – 3 hours of smoking ribs directly on the pellet grill, 2 hours wrapping the ribs in a foil with liquid to ensure they are soft, tender, and moist but still cooking on the grill. 1 hour of cooking ribs, unwrapped and slathered in barbecue sauce.

3-2-1 ribs don’t burn or overcook, making the ribs smoked to perfection. It creates ribs that are so tender and juicy that one can easily pull the meat off the bone with even just fingers. With this method, one can prepare the best-smoked ribs that melt in one’s mouth, all that in just more or less 6 hours.

Why Does It Take So Long To Smoke Ribs?

3-2-1 refers to the amount of time the ribs will cook using three different techniques. During the first three hours, the ribs will smoke at 150-180 degrees. After that, the ribs are to be wrapped with tin foil during the fourth and fifth hours of cooking and increasing the temperature of the smoker to 225 degrees. During the last hour of cooking, the ribs are to be unwrapped while increasing the temperature of the smoker to 250 degrees.

Firstly, before smoking the ribs, it is essential to prepare the ribs to get smoked. The ribs which are required to be smoked must be removed from the fridge, properly rinsed, and then let dry. The ribs are prepared by removing the membrane, coating it with yellow mustard, and applying the homemade rib rub. The smoker should be kept ready at around 150-225 degrees during the first three hours of cooking.

Step 1: Smoke for 3 hours – Preheat smoker to 225 degrees and place the prepared ribs bone-side down on smoker for 3 hours. Additionally, the ribs can be spritzed with an apple juice mixture every half an hour.

Step 2: Wrap for 2 hours – After the initial three hours, remove the ribs from the smoker and wrap them tightly in aluminum foil to form an airtight seal. Seal the foil in such a way that nothing leaks out. Return the wrapped ribs to the smoker bone-side up and then smoke for two hours.


Step 3: Sauce and smoke for 1 hour – Remove the ribs from the smoker as they are now required to be brushed with BBQ sauce mixture. Unwrap the ribs and return to the smoker bone-side down for one more hour. Apply a sufficient amount of barbeque sauce on the ribs during the last 20-30 minutes of the cooking time. Ensure that the cooking temperature is below 130 degrees to prevent burning. Apply the sauce in several thin layers for better taste.

Lastly, remove the tender ribs from the smoker and brush them again with the sauce and serve.


To make perfectly cooked smoked ribs, it is extremely essential to smoke them for the appropriate time to ensure they look and smell insanely delicious. The 3-2-1 method of smoking ribs makes the process of cooking ribs relatively simpler and easier.

It takes 6 hours to prepare smoking, tender, mouth-watering, tasty ribs using this technique. It involves three steps spread across the 6 hours of cooking time. Starting with 3 Hours for smoking, 2 hours for wrapping and letting them cook and the final 1 hour to be utilized to season the ribs and put the BBQ sauce on it.

Allow the sauce to set up properly and nicely and the finger-licking delicious smoked ribs are all ready to be served and enjoyed.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.


  1. The informative content here provides a thorough guide to smoking ribs. The 3-2-1 method appears to be very effective, and I’m excited to give it a try.

  2. This method is very informative, clearly outlining the steps and time needed for smoking the ribs to perfection. Can’t wait to impress my friends with these amazing ribs!

  3. Honestly, this sounds a bit over the top with the precise timings and instructions for smoking ribs. Can’t I just throw them on the grill and have them turn out fine?

  4. I can’t believe the calculated precision required for making smoked ribs! Definitely makes for an interesting argument about the best way to prepare them.

  5. I find it comical that it takes this much time and effort to make ribs. But I’m sure the end result is worth it, I just prefer quicker recipes!

  6. I think this method will be argued by those who prefer cooking ribs using different techniques. It’s definitely worth experimenting with to find the perfect approach for one’s taste.

  7. Sarcastically speaking, I’m thrilled that the smoking process only takes 6 hours. Can’t wait to try this and spend my whole day cooking ribs!

  8. It’s quite ironic that the simplicity of ribs is being overshadowed by such precise methods for smoking them. Nonetheless, the detailed instructions are greatly appreciated.

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