Whole Smoked Spare Ribs

Smoked Spare Ribs

Eating spare ribs on the July 4th should be a Federal Law! I’ll never forget 4th of July barbecues and eating those wonderful, fall-off-the-bone ribs from my younger days.

Back then, folks didn’t wrap ribs in foil or cover them in brown sugar and honey. Ribs were cooked in good hickory smoke, low & slow, until they were done. Whole Spare Ribs were the cut of choice and I want to share with you my way of preparing them.

Whole Spare ribs or “Belly Ribs” are the lower portion of a hog’s rib cage. They’re typically 12-13 bones long and still have the breast plate attached (once removed, you have St. Louis cut ribs).

For this recipe I’m using spare ribs – and you can find Whole Spares at just about any grocery store.

Spare Ribs

Once you get them home, remove the membrane from the bone side of the ribs. Sometimes whole spares will have the inner skirt or flap meat still attached. It turns into pretty good bark on the under-side of the ribs once cooked, but you can trim it off if you desire.

The seasoning is kept to a minimum on these ribs. You need Kosher Salt and a little Killer Hogs The BBQ Rub for color and that’s it. The pit and the wood do all of the magic, and Pork flavor is the star of the show.

Spare Ribs

Now it’s time to fire up the smoker. I’m using my Ole Hickory Ace MM for this cook but you can use any bbq pit. The temp needs to be in the 250⁰ range and add a few chunks of dry GrilleWood.com Hickory wood to the fire for smoke.

Place each slab on the smoker and let the temp creep up to 250⁰. At this point all you have to do is hold it steady.

It’ll take in the neighborhood of 4-5 hours for these ribs to get there. Check on them at the half way mark (2.5 hrs) but don’t leave the door open too long.

Spare Ribs

These ribs are done when a good bark has formed on the outside and the meat pulls back from the bones. I use the bend test. Lift up on the outer edge as if you were folding the rib. It should flex and start to break on top; this is a sure fire way to know that they’re tender.

Spare Ribs

Remove the ribs from the smoker and give them a few minutes to cool down before serving. A good knife will slice through the entire slab and you can serve them in individual bone pieces.

Spare Ribs

I do like to add a little extra dry rub to the top and keep the sauce on the side for dipping.

I hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July!

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Whole Smoked Spare Ribs
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Whole Smoked Spare Ribs



  1. Prepare Charcoal Smoker or other grill for indirect cooking at 250⁰ add Hickory Wood chunks to hot coals for smoke flavor.
  2. Remove sinew membrane from bone side of each slab of pork ribs.
  3. Season each slab with Kosher Salt and bbq rub.
  4. Place ribs on smoker and cook for 4.5 hours or until tender.
  5. Cut each slab into individual bone pieces and serve with bbq sauce on the side.

Malcom Reed
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Smoked Spare Ribs

Comments 8

  1. I just purchased the ACE MM after watching every video you have available smoking with it. I have a few questions. Once you light your lump charcoal in it do you ever have to put more charcoal in it when you’re doing a long cook or do you just add more chunks of wood? Next question, do you ever use smaller size logs instead of chunks in the MM? Last question, after you light the coals in the basket do you leave it sitting out in the air for a while or push the basket in? I’m sorry its a long post.

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      Yeah, as the charcoal burns down I add more – I usually get about 4 hours on a burn. I usually use briquettes in mine instead of lump. I use the wood for flavor and the charcoal for the heat source. I usually just add a few chunks of wood to the fire during the cook. But the charcoal is what is going to keep your heat and keep it steady. I’ve never used the logs – but Ole Hickory has just started making logs that are for that exact purpose. I usually fill the basket about 3/4 full and light a separate chimney and let those coals get hot. Then I pour the chimney of hot coals on top of my basket of unlit coals – add a few chunks of wood on top – then push the basket in and let it roll.

      1. Thank you very much for replying. I really appreciate it. You have any BBQ classes you recommend? I looked at yours but it was full. I live in Texas.

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  2. I am looking forward to making these this coming weekend. The misses thinks that anything other than baby back’s are a waste of time and I am hoping to change her mind about that with these sweethearts.

    While ive got 5 pounds of the AP, I think im all out of your BBQ rub so ill have to mix up a batch of my own for now.

    The only thing I haven’t decided is if I should do them in the Weber Kettle or my pellet smoker. Im leaning towards the pellet smoker right now so I don’t have to play around with adding charcoal along the way.

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  3. Dude, I love your site. Never have had a bad recipe from your selection. Making these very ribs in an electric smoker today!

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