Making St Louis Style Ribs in a Smoker (3-2-1 Method)

When you want to do pork spareribs in a smoker, you have a choice to make. You can use foil for part of the cook and the meat will fall off the bone as you eat it. Alternately, you can not use file and get ribs where the meat is bite off the bone. That means the meat doesn't stick to the bone but when you take a bite it doesn't fall off, it leaves a nice bite shape and the rest of the meat stays on the bone. In this article I will be outlining the foiled method that makes a fall of the bone rib. I will do another article on making bite off the bone ribs without foil.
St Louis ribs are spareribs that have been trimmed. The cartilage at the end of the bones and the thin flap at the end are removed to make a nice rack of ribs. You can have your butcher do this or you can cut them off yourself. To remove the cartilage end, just feel down the rib and you will feel where the meat connects to the bone. Take a heavy knife and cut through this connection. Don't throw the trim out, it makes great rib ends.

Once the ribs are trimmed, you want to remove the silver skin from the back of the ribs. Work a sharp knife under a corner of the skin and grasp it with a paper towel. Pull back and the skin will pull off.

Now you will want to give the ribs a generous rub of barbecue rub. There are many commercial rubs available or you could use my Basic Barbecue Rub from my blog. The link is
I like to let the ribs rest for a couple of hours then I fire my smoker up to 230 F. You can use anything from mild apple, to strong hickory smoke depending on your tastes. Put the ribs in the smoker for 3 hours. You can spray with apple juice a couple of times in this period. It is optional but I like it.
Wrap the ribs with heavy duty foil and add 1/2 cup of apple juice before sealing the foil. Put the ribs back in the smoker for 2 hours in the foil.
Unwrap the ribs and brush them with your favourite barbecue sauce. If you want to try your own, here are the links to a couple of sauces from my blog:
Put the ribs back on the smoker for 1 hour, brushing the ribs with sauce at 20 and 40 minutes.
These are a nice rib and are quite easy to make.
If you would like to see more of my rib cooks, check out my blog,
The Old Fat Guy


Let’s get the conversation started!

Be the first to comment.