Smoke Ribs in an Electric Smoker? – Complete Recipe

What’s the most exciting thing to do in the summer? Yes, it’s the pool party. But what’s that other fun activity? Yes, it’s that backyard party when you cater to smoke some meat. Speaking of smoking meat, you cannot end the smoke party without smoking that rack of ribs.


Nothing more exciting than meat falling off the bones. Today, with electric smokers getting that tender and juicy meat is as simple as 1-2-3. Say you are a novice wondering how to smoke ribs in an electric smoker, don’t worry and read till the end as here you will get all the ins and outs of smoking perfect ribs.

✪ Editor’s Choice
Masterbuilt 20070910 Electric Smoker

Things You Need For Smoking Ribs

Before moving on to smoking ribs, you must gather up the following ingredients and tools:

  • Two racks of ribs
  • A cup of your favorite rub
  • Half cup of apple juice for basting
  • One and a half cup of barbeque sauce

Some of the tools that will help you a lot while smoking ribs are:

  • Tongs
  • Microwave gloves
  • Hickory or Applewood chips
  • Aluminum water pan
  • Aluminum foil

Get The Ribs Ready For Slow And Low Cook

Smoking ribs is easy but a time-consuming task, and you need to plan appropriately for that. So to make them ready for slow and low cook follow the below-given instructions:

  • Defrost the ribs a night before cooking
  • Once defrosted or have refrigerated ribs rinse them with cool water and pat dry with some paper towels.
  • Then remove the membrane stuck on the underside (to bones) of the ribs. To properly remove the membrane, look at the following video:
  • When the ribs are nicely cleaned, thoroughly apply the dry rub over the ribs. Make sure to cover every portion of the rack
  • After marinating, put the ribs on a baking sheet or in an aluminum sheet and place it in the fridge overnight, preferably. If you are short on time, 4 hours will work.
  • Now, your ribs are ready to smoke, but before smoking, keep them on the kitchen counter for half an hour to get to the normal temperature.

Looking for ideas for bavette steak? Let’s find out here 

Get The Smoker Ready

When you place the ribs to rest for 30 minutes, you should get ready for your electric smoker.

  • If your smoker is new, then season it first. To season, wipe it with a damp cloth and leave it to air dry. After that, thoroughly spray the vegetable oil.
  • As the ribs are all set to smoke, now put the wood chips into the smoker.
  • You can go for hickory or fruitwood chips; soaked or not, it’s entirely up to you. You can experiment with both.
  • Now, pre-heat your electric smoker at 250F for 15 to 25 minutes.

3-2-1 Smoked Ribs

Yes, smoking ribs in an electric smoker is as easy as 3-2-1. Well, 3-2-1 is not mentioned in a contextual sense; it’s a method. Indeed, it is the best way to smoke ribs in an electric smoker. Let me explain it step by step.

3-Hours (Initial Smoke):

When the smoker is pre-heated nicely, then place the ribs directly in the smoker. To smoke ribs at 225 in an electric smoker, you will need three hours.

Moreover, if you are up to smoke riblets or baby back ribs in an electric smoker, the process will go like 2-2-1. It means that you have to smoke for 2 hours in the initial phase.

Three hours later…

2-Hours (Wrap And Smoke)

Remove the ribs carefully with tongs and wrap them in aluminum foil. As you smoke two racks of ribs, pour 3/4 cup of apple juice or pop on each of them and wrap it in foil paper. Ensure that you leave no way for the steam to escape; otherwise, it will ruin the whole purpose of wrapping, retaining the juicy tenderness. Place it again in the smoker and leave for the next two hours.

Two hours later…

1-Hour (Pour Sauce And Smoke):

Open the smoker and remove the ribs from the foil paper and generously coat your favorite barbeque sauce over. Now place the ribs directly on the racks and leave for the next one hour. After an hour, the ribs temperature must be 145F-160F. Here you are good to serve them with your favorite sides like baked beans and corns on cob.

Below given video link will further show you how to smoke ribs in a masterbuilt electric smoker:

Related: How to Smoke Brisket on a Pellet Grill

How Long to Smoke Different Size Ribs in an Electric Smoker?

The 3-2-1 method works perfectly to smoke prime ribs in an electric smoker while keeping the smoker temperature at 225F.

If you want to smoke short ribs or beef ribs in the electric smoker at 225F, go with the same 3-2-1 procedure.

Although to haste the process, you can smoke ribs at 275 in the electric smoker for 2-2-1. But that may not give you the best results.

Besides, if you smoke deer ribs in an electric smoker, smoke it for 2 hours in the initial phase at 225F. After that perfect bark appears, wrap it in butcher paper, and smoke until it reaches 205F.

So you see, it all hinges on the temperature and size of the ribs. In a nutshell, for larger cuts, you can go with 3-2-1 at 225F, and for smaller cuts, you can go like 2-2-1 at 225F. Moreover, if you increase or decrease the smoker’s temperature, the cooking time will vary accordingly.

✪ Editor’s Choice
Masterbuilt 20070910 Electric Smoker

Tips for Selecting a Perfect Rack of Ribs

While many of us might not put too much attention to selecting ribs, but it can make or ruin the perfect results out of the smoker. Below are some points to consider before buying one:

  • Don’t buy packed, particularly vacuum-sealed rack of ribs as it will not properly show how much meat is on the bones.
  • If you still go for a packaged one, avoid one that has excessive liquid in it.
  • When buying ribs, no matter baby ribs or spare ribs, look for the meatiest one.
  • If you can see the bones out of the rack, don’t buy.
  • If the ribs have fat marbling, go for it to make for juicy and tender outcomes.

Having difficulties using an electric smoker? Here is complete guide: Learn more


One of the perks of the electric smoker is that it does not ask to babysit your food. It keeps you from opening and closing vents to maintain the does the hard work itself. So it is a lot easier to smoke falling-off-bones ribs on electric smokers.

Using the 3-2-1 method, you can smoke perfect ribs in an electric smoker and surprise your guests. I hope this guide on how to smoke ribs in an electric smoker helps elevate your summer fun. Stay foodie, stay blessed!

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