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Traeger Smoked Ribs

53 Reviews

These Traeger ribs are coated in a bold dry rub and smoked to mouth-watering perfection! They fall right off the bone and are perfect for picnics and BBQs!

A photo of a rack of smoked Traeger ribs coated in a delicious dry rub.

The Best Traeger Ribs Recipe

When I went out to South Carolina to meet Cade’s family, he took me to a traditional southern restaurant to try real southern BBQ for the first time. It was delicious!

I couldn’t believe that a dry rub was all that they needed as I’d only had ribs slathered in sauce, but more important than that, they were falling off of the bone. I was sold! Since then we’ve tested and tested rib recipes and this one is one of the best smoked rib recipes ever.

We have several rib recipes on the blog that we love, like our slow cooker Asian sticky ribs or our smoky BBQ Instant Pot ribs. They are all different in cooking techniques and flavors, but this is our first smoked ribs recipe — you’re going to love it!

Make a batch of homemade BBQ sauce, and get ready for your mouth to water, your fingers to get messy, and for these Traeger smoked ribs to become a regular on your menu! They are the best ribs I’ve ever had!

A photo of smoked ribs hot off the smoker still wrapped in foil with the foil just opened on the top.

Traeger Smoked Ribs Ingredients 

These Traeger pork ribs are flavored both with a dry rub and additional flavorings that are added halfway through the smoking time. A dry rub is simply a blend of dry ingredients that gets rubbed on meat before smoking or grilling. 

Here’s what you’ll need to make the best smoked ribs: 

  • Pork Ribs 
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Dark Brown Sugar
  • Black Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cumin
  • Kosher Salt
  • Cayenne
  • Honey
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Apple Cider 

What Are the Best Ribs for Smoking?

We prefer St. Louis style ribs for smoking, but baby back ribs would also work great. St. Louis style ribs cook fast and have great flavor. Baby back ribs are meatier and may take a little longer to cook to a safe temperature.

A photo of a rack of smoked ribs with a cup of BBQ sauce next to it.

How to Smoke Ribs

We’ve given detailed instructions on how to make smoked pork ribs in the recipe card below. Here are the basics to mastering this Traeger ribs recipe: 

  1. Combine the smoked ribs rub ingredients in a small bowl and set it aside.
  2. Mix together the mustard and apple cider and brush it all over both sides of the ribs (be sure to remove the silver skin first!).
  3. Then, generously apply the dry rub on both sides of the ribs.
  4. Set your smoker to 180℉ and preheat it with a closed lid for 15 minutes.
  5. Once the smoker is preheated, place the ribs directly into the smoker with the meat side up for 3 hours.
  6. Move the ribs to a baking sheet and increase the temperature of the smoker to 225℉.
  7. Tear off 4 large pieces of peach butcher paper and place one rack of ribs on each piece of paper. Pull up the sides of the paper because it is time to juice up the ribs and you don’t want the liquid to leak out.
  8. Sprinkle each rack of ribs with brown sugar, then top with honey and apple juice. Place another piece of peach butcher paper on top and crimp up the edges so the liquid doesn’t leak out.
  9. Repeat these same steps with all the racks of ribs.
  10. Put the ribs back into the smoker for 2 more hours.
  11. Unwrap the ribs and place them directly back onto the grate and grill them for 30-60 minutes.

How Long to Smoke Ribs?

This recipe loosely follows the 3-2-1 method for smoking ribs. You have 3 hours of smoking, then 2 hours of smoking with liquid, and up to one last hour of grilling. That totals 6 hours for these smoked ribs! We tend to go a little further as thicker ribs need more time, so instead of 3-2-1 I’ve been doing 3-3-1 and sometimes even 3-4-1.

A photo of someone pulling a piece of meat off of smoked ribs.

How Does A Traeger Work?

A Traeger is a wood pellet grill that uses an auger to move wood pellets from a hopper on the side of the grill into the fire pot inside the grill. You get to set the temperature that you want to grill operate at, so the higher the temperature, the more pellets that are moved into the fire pot.

When the fire is burning, a fan stokes the flames that create convection heat to cook the food evenly. You also get the great smoky flavor that comes from cooking food over a wood fire.

Traegers are pretty much sent straight from heaven! They are so easy to use and reliable!

read more: Looking for Traeger recipes? Try our Smoked Chicken Breast Recipe or our Smoked Whole Chicken Recipe next!

A photo of 3 racks of smoked ribs, two of them sliced into servings and one whole with a sauce brush and BBQ sauce on the side.

Can You Smoke Meat on a Regular Grill?

Yes, but it is difficult to control the temperature consistently like you can on a pellet smoker. To smoke meat on a gas or charcoal grill, you need to apply heat to a wood source (like a smoker box) and place the meat on the unlit side of the grill. Smoking is all about cooking meat on indirect heat.

Is Smoked Meat Cooked?

Yes, smoked meat is cooked just like grilled meat or braised meat. Meat that is smoked still needs to reach safe temperatures before being consumed.

Is Smoked Meat Safe?

Yes, if smoked to a safe temperature, smoked meat is perfectly safe to eat and DELICIOUS!

What Can You Substitute for Kosher Salt?

A course sea salt would work fine, but definitely do not sure table salt! Kosher salt and table salt are not the same!

Should You Flip Ribs in a Smoker?

Because a smoker cooks like a convection oven, there is no need to flip ribs because they are being cooked evenly on all sides. Cook away babies!

More Ribs Recipes You Should Try:

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A photo of a rack of smoked ribs coated in a delicious dry rub.

Traeger Smoked Ribs

3.95 from 53 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 7 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6
These Traeger ribs are coated in a bold dry rub and smoked to mouth-watering perfection! They fall right off the bone and are perfect for picnics and BBQs!


  • 2 racks Pork Ribs , St Louis style or baby back pork ribs

Dry Rub:

  • 1/4 Cup Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Black Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 2 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne

For Cooking:

  • 1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Honey
  • 1/2 Cup Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 Cup Apple Cider


For the Rub:

  • Mix all ingredients together and set aside.
  • Check the underside of the ribs. If there is a thin layer of silver skin, remove it from the bone-side of the ribs by working the tip of a butter knife underneath the membrane (choose to pierce it over a middle bone.) Use paper towels to get a firm grip, then tear the membrane off.
  • In a small bowl, combine the mustard, 1/4 cup of apple cider (reserve the rest). Spread the mixture thinly on both sides of the ribs and season with the rub.

To Cook:

  • Set the Smoker temperature to 180℉ and preheat with the lid closed for 15 minutes.
  • Smoke the ribs, meat-side up for 3 hours. Transfer the ribs to a rimmed baking sheet and increase the grill temperature to 225℉.
  • Tear off 4 long sheets of Peach Butcher Paper or tin foil. Place the butcher paper (or foil) down with a rack of ribs on top and pull up the sides of the paper to keep the liquid enclosed.
  • Sprinkle half the brown sugar on the rack, then top with half the honey and 3/4 of the remaining apple juice. Lay another piece of paper (or foil) on top and tightly crimp the edges so there is no leakage. Repeat with the remaining rack of ribs.
  • Return the ribs to the grill and cook for an additional 3-4 hours.
  • Arrange the ribs directly on the grill grate and continue to grill 60 minutes more.


left over ribs will keep for 4 days in the refrigerator.
Nutrition Facts
Traeger Smoked Ribs
Amount Per Serving (4 ribs)
Calories 243 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat 2g3%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 1415mg62%
Potassium 257mg7%
Carbohydrates 59g20%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 54g60%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 2378IU48%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 63mg6%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

A photo of a rack of smoked ribs coated in a delicious dry rub.


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Healthy Habits That Help Me!

About the authors

carrian feik cheney oh sweet basil

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

Leave a comment

Recipe Rating


  • Love this recipe

    • Reply
    • Thank you so much!

      • Reply
  • In Step 4 you say to use half the brown sugar and honey but never say what you do with the other half.

    • Reply
    • Hi Dwayne! I’m sorry for the confusion. Half of the brown sugar and honey is used on one of the racks of ribs and the other half used on the second rack.

      • Reply
  • Hi
    What pellets would you suggest using?

    • Reply
    • Hi Paula! We love mesquite or hickory! There’s also a gourmet blend that Traeger does that gives delicious flavor.

      • Reply
  • The total time is incorrect.
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook time:
    3 hours at 180°
    3-4 hours at 225°
    1 hour directly on the grill grate at 225°?
    Equals a cook time of 6 to 7 hours
    Cook Time: 5 hours 30 minutes
    Total Time: 5 hours 45 minutes

    • Reply
    • Hello! You are absolutely right! Thank you so much for bringing that to my attention. The recipe card has been updated.

      • Reply
  • Great recipe. Pretty sure serving size is NOT “1 g”.

    • Reply
    • Hi Bruce! Yes, definitely not 1 g! For some reason all our recipe cards have defaulted to 1 g. We are slowly going through and correcting them. So glad you enjoyed this recipe!

      • Reply
  • To Cook, Step 3 is confusing. Do you use the butcher paper and foil together? None of the directions specifically say what to do with the foil. It sounds like steps 3and 4 aresaying to use the paper, even though Step 3 says to tear off sheets of paper and foil.

    • Reply
    • The foil is the outside layer and the paper is closest to the ribs.

      • Reply
  • I followed the technique not the recipe due to quarantine. I used apple juice instead of cider, bbq sauce, and a rub I had.

    They were amazing! Fall off the bone just like they said it would! Best ribs Ive ever made!

    • Reply
    • Thank you so much for the feedback Sarah! And way to improvise with what you had! That’s what cooking is all about! So glad you enjoyed it!

      • Reply
  • I am curious abt what to do with tin foil ?

    • Reply
    • You use it to wrap the ribs while they are smoking. One of the pictures in the post shows the foil wrap.

      • Reply
  • I have been using this 3-2-1 method for spare ribs and St Louis style ribs for a few years now, although I use a different rub as we are on a low carb diet. It works great. Baby Backs go the 2-2-1 method with a heat of 225 degrees thru out the smoking cycle. We prefer the BB’s as they are leaner and do not require the extra hour of the other two types of cuts. It is what works for us. We don’t have the Traeger, maybe one day we will. I have had the Smokin-it 1 for almost 7 years now and it always turns out great Q. It is electric and tight as a tick!

    • Reply
    • Thank you so much for the feedback! Happy grilling and smoking!

      • Reply
      • Big crowd on Sunday so thanks for the encouragement. Ribs, clam dip and jalapeno poppers are the fare. Do you have a favorite clam dip I might look at? Mine is ok but always looking to improve. We love your site and visit it often.

      • I hope it goes perfectly! We don’t have a clam dip recipe. I’m so sorry! I don’t even know of one to suggest to you. Have a great party!

Healthy Habits That Help Me!