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To be the resident Pit Master, you need to know how to smoke ribs right

Chad Ward, legendary BBQ competitor, 7 time grand champion, and owner of Whiskey Bent BBQ is a self-taught BBQ Pro. Throughout the year he competes across the country, runs his BBQ shop in Florida, and teaches Traeger BBQ Shop Class where he expels his wisdom of the BBQ fundamentals.

To be the resident Pit Master, you need to know how to grill pork ribs evenly. Here are a few tips from Traeger BBQ expert, Chad Ward.


Grocery store pork ribs are often large and uneven. A rack of ribs trimmed down to a uniform size will cook evenly. The best size pork rib rack for grilling consists of 9 ribs. Each rib will be tender, cooked to the same doneness, and taste delicious.

Trimming Pork Ribs 

Pick up a rack of St. Louis style ribs and square off the sides by removing two end bones from each side. Then remove excess meat from the top so that you have a tight, uniform rack of 9 ribs. Toss the extra ribs you’ve cut from the rack on the back and sides of grill to cook individually for a tasty snack.

Trimming Ribs

Seasoning Ribs

Dry Rub: Apply a rib rub directly to the slab by seasoning the meat on both sides. Let it meld into the rack for at least 10 minutes, then cook them on your wood-fired grill.

Wet Rub: Apply a sticky substance such as mustard or bacon grease to the rack of ribs. Then coat each side with rib seasoning and cook them over a flavorful fire.

Season your ribs with Traeger Rubs and Shakes.

Smoking Ribs

Searching for the key to perfectly grilled pork ribs? Search no more. We’ve given you the basics, now we’ll take care of the smoke. If you’re planning on loading up your grill with some gorgeous racks, smoke them like they deserve to be smoked.  We recommend pecan hardwood. The slight nuttiness paired with its rustic richness makes it a full-bodied smoke that we love wrapping our ribs with. Simply set the grill to 275F and let your ribs bask in all the smoke for about two hours.  

When in doubt, use our tried and true 3-2-1 ribs method. This method brings you beautiful color and ridiculous flavor. After you finish slapping on that smoke (when the internal temp hits 165F), wrap them in foil and add some apple juice. 203F is the magic number. Once you’re there take out your rack, slather them in sauce, and throw them on for an additional 10-15 minutes for that rich mahogany color you’ve only seen in your BBQ dreams. Slice, serve, and devour.  


Grilling Ribs

Just because ribs look cooked on the outside, it doesn’t mean the meat is cooked on the inside. For proper doneness, the internal temperature of pork ribs should reach 195 to 200 degrees F.

Saucing Ribs

Only slather ribs with BBQ sauce or honey in the last 10-20 minutes before they’re done cooking. The sugar in BBQ sauce caramelizes and can burn the ribs if it’s heated for too long.

Sauce ribs with Traeger’s flavorful BBQ sauces.

See Chad's last tip on how to grill the perfect pork loin and let us know what you want to see next.

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