How to Smoke Ribs in an Electric Smoker

Easily smoke ribs in an electric smoker. Simply set the smoker to 225°F, and use the 3-2-1 method. After about 6 hours of smoking, you’ll have tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs.



Preheat your smoker.


Fill up the water pan with water and the smoker box with wood chips. Hickory and mesquite are both very popular woods chips for smoking ribs, but don't limit yourself. Try new wood as well as combinations. You can combine mesquite with hickory or a fruit wood to reduce the bitterness and for extra flavor.  Read more about different smoking wood flavors.

  • Hickory has a sweet to strong taste that is almost bacon-y.
  • Mesquite is a strong flavored wood, but it can create a bitter taste if used on its own.
  • Cherry, apple, maple and pecan woods are all lighter woods that have a mild sweet flavor.

While the smoker preheats, prepare the ribs. Remove membrane from the inside of the ribs so that your spices and seasonings can really flavor the meat. Once you’ve rubbed the ribs, they are ready for the smoker and the 3-2-1 Method below



Smoke your ribs directly on the racks for 3 hours at 225°F.


Remove the ribs from the racks and tightly wrap them in aluminum foil. Before closing the aluminum foil pocket, pour a little apple juice, wine, beer, or any other favorite flavor (about 1/8 of a cup) into the packet to enhance the steam process. This will help tenderize the ribs. Place them back in the smoker for 2 hours.


Remove the ribs and liberally coat both sides of the ribs with BBQ sauce. Put the ribs directly on the racks for 1 hour.

The 3-2-1 method works well for 2 to 3 racks of ribs. If you are smoking only 1 rack, you may find the ribs to be done before the 6 hour mark. For 1 or 2 smaller racks, a 2-2-1 method might work better.

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