Mississippi Pecan Wood Smoked Ribs are rubbed with sweet and spicy seasonings then smoked low and slow. These baby back ribs are delicious, juicy, and tender.
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MISSISSIPPI PECAN WOOD SMOKED RIBS
There are two basic pork ribs you can buy for smoking
- Baby Back – They come from where the rib meets the spine The ribs are less meaty than spare ribs and don’t require as much time to cook.
- Spare Ribs – Spare ribs continue from the back ribs and run along the side of the pig. They are meaty and take longer to cook than baby back ribs.
If you’re interested in learning how to smoke chicken, check out this post and recipe for Smoked Whole Chicken.
HOW TO BUY RIBS
When buying baby back ribs, fresh ribs should be pink in color and have marbling throughout. As well, make sure they have an even layer of meat across the rack. You do not want one end to be thick with meat and no meat on the other. Also look for no bone showing through, when cooked they’ll fall apart. The bones should be covered with meat.
HOW TO PREP MISSISSIPPI PECAN WOOD SMOKED RIBS
- After opening the package of ribs, dry them with paper towels.
- With the meat side up, trim any dangling meat and excessive fat.
- Turn the ribs over and remove the tough membrane, called silver skin, connecting the ribs. You can run the tip of your knife under the membrane then pull it off holding it with a paper towel. Discard the membrane.
- Finally, inspect the ribs for any bone fragments and remove them.
Now you’re ready to season the ribs. Season both sides, ends, and edges.
WHAT WOOD DO I USE FOR SMOKING RIBS
- Fruit woods like apple and cherry are good.
- Oak is another alternative and will have a slightly meatier flavor.
- Pecan wood is what I used. It gives a mild flavor without being like a campfire.
HOW LONG TO COOK MISSISSIPPI PECAN WOOD SMOKED RIBS
This is a general guideline. However, when smoking you want to cook with a thermometer, not the clock.
- At 225 degrees F plan on 5 hours of cook time.
- At 250 degrees F plan on 4 hours of cook time.
This is my “traditional fire” smoker on a trailer. It has a punched steel cooking grate with an access door to the firebox.
I start with about 5 lbs of traditional charcoal briquettes set right in the middle of the smoker. I let them come up to temp and turn completely white before putting the meat on.
While the smoker is coming up to temp, I prepare the meat. Here I have three slabs of baby back pork ribs, that have had the membrane removed from the back of the slabs.
I rub the slabs with this Homemade Barbecue Seasoning Rub.
DO I FLIP THE RIBS?
Smoking low and slow is an indirect cooking method. This means the heat source is not a direct flame. Flipping the ribs means you’re opening up your grill or smoker and that is not advised.
For this reason, I use a standing rib rack. I recommended this Rib Rack.
I place the ribs on the smoker with as much space between them as possible to allow the smoke to circulate freely. Because we had so much to cook on this day, I used a roasting rack placed upside down and placed the racks in like playing cards.
Here, I use a bucket of water to soak pecan wood “chunks” in water. This ensures the wood smolders when you add it to the briquettes vs. burning too fast if they are completely dry.
I add the wood chunks as soon as I have the meat on the grate and the temperature up to 225 degrees.
It’s best to maintain a temp between 225 and 250 at all times.
You can maintain the temperature by adding charcoal briquettes as needed to keep the temperature up for the 6-8 hour cooking time. I add the wood chips for the first 4 hours of cooking while the meat is raw.
The meat is about halfway through the cooking process at this point. You can see here, we also cooked some pork shoulders as well as the baby back ribs.
Another tasty recipe for you to try is Smoked Rack of Pork.
So how do you tell when ribs are done?
Properly cooked ribs will pull off the bones when bitten! Like a properly cooked steak, they will have some chew, however, properly cooked ribs will not be tough.
Properly smoked ribs will have an internal temperature of 180 to 190 degrees. They will take 7 to 8 hours of consistent 225-degree heat. Testing for doneness takes experience. You can cut into them or taste test a rib on the end. The best way to test doneness is by temperature. It really takes practice to accurately determine doneness, but well worth it.
Homemade Barbecue Recipes
- Wireless remote digital thermometer
- Infrared non-contact thermometer
- Oven/Grill/Smoker Monitoring Thermometer
- Instant read waterproof thermometer
Gather your friends and start practicing!
I updated this post from an earlier version dated August 21, 2012. I made new photos and simplified the recipe instructions.
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MISSISSIPPI PECAN WOOD SMOKED RIBS
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- Preheat smoker to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare wood chips by soaking them in water.
- Pat ribes dry with a paper towel. Remove the silver skin from the bone side of the ribs. Trim off any excess fat, etc.
- Coat the ribs generously with seasoning.
- Place ribs on the smoker for two hours. After two hours the bones should be poking out about a 1/4 of an inch. This is just a reference, remember the more you open the lid and check on the longre they will take because you're letting the heat out.
- If they're done, brush sauce onto the top of the ribs and smoke for an additional 30 minutes. Or, allow to cook longer before adding sauce if they are not at temperature.
- The sauce will get thick and 'tacky' as it heats. After 30 minutes with the sauce on the ribs, remove from the smoker and then let rest 15 minutes. Slice and serve.