How to smoke st Louis style ribs in an electric smoker

How to smoke st Louis style ribs in electric smoker

I recently purchased a new Electric Smoker to replace my old Brinkmann. I mainly purchased the smoker for smoking St Louis Style Pork Ribs and Bacon.

I have also a dedicated post on the electric smoker reviews list which is best for the money and value.

After extensive research, I decided on a Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker that has multiple separate cooking chambers.

This is great because the bottom chamber I use to smoke the ribs and the top chamber is used for smoking bacon.

In this post, I will be using a 3 rack of St Louis Style Pork Ribs smoked at 225 degrees, wrapped in aluminum foil with apple juice, butter, and brown sugar for about 1.5 hours until tender.

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 racks of St Louis Style Pork Ribs
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • Half a stick of unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

How To Smoke St. Louis Style Ribs In An Electric Smoker

1. Prepare your smoker for 225 degrees and preheat the water pan to the smoking temperature. I use a Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker but other smokers should work just as well.

2. Remove the first two racks of ribs from their packaging and trim off any excess fat from both sides 1 inch below the top of the ribs (this prevents the ribs from burning while cooking).

3. Place apple juice, butter, and brown sugar in a bowl and melt together in the microwave for 30 seconds. I use my rub on these but if you like Sweet Baby Ray’s then that will work just fine.

4. Remove all meat from the third rack (leave one thin slice of meat on each bone) and place them directly over the pan of water so they don’t burn during smoking.

The rest of the excess fat can be cut off with scissors or a knife before placing it back into its original packaging to cook later at 375 degrees for about an hour or until tender.

You might want to remove some of the excess marbling between the bones before cooking this way.

5. Place the un-trimmed 3rd rack over the apple juice garlic butter mixture in your smoker and cook for 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours until tender (I usually only cook mine about 1.5 hours).

6. While cooking, check on the ribs every 30 minutes or so to prevent burning and add additional apple juice, butter, and brown sugar if necessary (my smoker takes very little of these ingredients because it is so moist inside already).

The amount you use depends on how much water is in your pan when you start to cook so just keep adding small amounts until you feel it’s right. You can also spray or rub some apple juice on top of them after an hour but this isn’t necessary either.

7. After about 1.5 hours, remove the ribs from their cooking chamber and wrap tightly in aluminum foil with some apple juice and return to smoking for another 45 minutes to an hour until they can be easily pulled apart.

8. Remove the wrapped ribs from the smoker and let cool for 10 minutes before serving (Ribs will continue cooking while cooling so don’t worry if they seem under-cooked).

How Long Do St. Louis Style Ribs Take

If you start to cook your ribs at around 4:30 PM, they should be done by 8:00 PM which is a 3-hour time frame.

I would check them after about 2 hours and 45 minutes to make sure they don’t burn.

If you’ve never cooked ribs before, this method takes a little practice but once you get it down then it will become second nature and extremely simple.

The 3-2-1 Method

The 3-2-1 method means after the first 3 hours of smoking, you wrap your ribs in aluminum foil with 1/2 cup apple juice, 2 tbsp brown sugar and a tablespoon of butter for 2 hours then unwrap them and continue cooking for another hour until tender.

Some people prefer to just cook them straight through without any foil but I have found that wrapping them helps retain moisture preventing it from being cooked out. This method has proven to be a winner every time.

If you’ve never tried St Louis Style Pork Ribs before, this is a great recipe because it’s so simple yet produces some amazing results if done right.

Checkout this video :

What Temperature Are They Done At

I like to take them off at about 175 degrees because it takes about 15 minutes for the temp to rise once you remove them from the smoker but that’s just me.

They are done when they can be easily pulled apart with your fingers. They will continue to cook while they’re cooling so don’t worry if they seem under-cooked.

What Are the Best Ribs For Smoking

I think St. Louis ribs are the best for smoking because they’re meatier and cost less than spare ribs but still have that awesome pork flavor that I love. Spareribs are more expensive but they taste good too so it’s a personal preference.

Louis Style Vs Baby Back Ribs

I’ve never smoked baby back ribs but I know they can be harder to find sometimes so St. Louis style is a great option if you like the taste of pork ribs. They’re meatier than baby backs and cheaper too so go for them instead!

Best Wood For Smoking

I use a combination of hickory and pecan wood for smoking pork ribs but you can also try using apple, cherry, or even maple.

There are so many options out there that everyone has their preference depending on what they like. Just make sure your wood is chopped into small pieces before placing them in the smoker.

You can check out my post on how many wood chips for electric smokers are enough, where I have discussed in detail the different types of wood pellets used for electric smokers.

Recipe Chef Notes + Tips

1. Pork ribs come in several different cuts: St Louis, baby back, and spareribs.

The best ones to use for smoking are St Louis because they’re meatier than the other two and very cheap compared to spareribs so it’s a great option if you want something that tastes amazing but is also very affordable.

If you can’t find St Louis style then just use whatever cut you can find that looks good because they all taste delicious.

2. Make sure to keep your coals at low heat if possible to avoid burning your ribs and keeping them on for too long.

If they burn, the meat will have an acrid flavor so be careful!

I always set my digital thermometer on about 220 degrees because it’s easier to gauge the temperature on one setting but the actual cooking temp is around 200-250 depending on what type of smoker you have.

3. St Louis Style Pork Ribs are great for smoking but also work well in an oven if you don’t have a smoker or are having issues with yours like it’s not holding steady at low heat.

Just cook them in a 225-degree oven for about 45 minutes and they should come out great!

4. If you find your ribs still aren’t tender after cooking, wrap them in aluminum foil with 1/2 cup apple juice, 2 tbsp brown sugar and a tablespoon of butter then cook them at 275 degrees for an hour or until they’re nice and tender then unwrap them and continue cooking for another 15-30 minutes to get the skin nice and crispy.

5. I use a mixture of hickory and pecan wood chips on my St Louis Style Pork Ribs but you can also try cherry wood, oak, or even maple if that’s what you like best. The choice is up to you!

6. These ribs are done when they can be pulled apart easily with your fingers. They’ll continue to cook as they cool so don’t worry if the meat seems a little under-cooked.

I like to take them off at about 175 degrees but some people prefer them lower and others higher so go by what tastes good to you personally.

7. You should always clean your smoker after use and make sure you replace any wood chips for the next time you smoke something because it keeps the flavor nice and strong which is what you want!

It’s a great way of adding more flavor if you’re using a cheaper cut of meat too because it makes it taste amazing!

8. Always let ribs rest for 5 minutes before serving then slice into individual ribs or slabs and serve with your favorite sauce on the side for dipping.

I hope you enjoyed this post and learned how to smoke the ribs using an electric smoker in St. Louis style.

Do check out my electric smoker reviews list which is best for the money and value if you are looking to buy a good electric smoker for your home or restaurant.

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