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posted May 01, 2023

Smoked St. Louis Ribs

Smoked St. Louis ribs give you a classic smoked rib taste with a perfect bite-through texture. These ribs are sprinkled with a classic brown sugar-based seasoning before getting a nice long smoke and a BBQ sauce slather. This recipe is the epitome of “simple is best.”

Smoked St. Louis ribs on a cutting board with text overlay - Smoked St. Louis Ribs.

What Are St. Louis Ribs?

St. Louis ribs are the most common ribs used in competition BBQ as they produce a nice, beefy bite that doesn’t just “fall off the bone.” St. Louis ribs are spareribs that have had the sternum bone, top cartilage, and rib tips cut away, making this rack more rectangular in shape. These ribs are more flat and straight and contain 10-13 bones. St. Louis ribs are approximately 5-6 inches in length. They can also feed 2-3 adults due to their larger size.

Personally, I prefer to cook with St. Louis ribs whenever possible. But take note! These ribs take a little longer to cook than the popular 3-2-1 style of cooking baby back ribs. They also contain small pieces of cartilage in addition to the larger bones. When I’m cooking with St. Louis pork ribs, I try to plan an extra 45 minutes to an hour of cook time.

This recipe for smoked St. Louis ribs is a no-frills recipe for delicious ribs. This recipe uses very simple ingredients and classic techniques to get you perfect St. Louis ribs.

St. Louis ribs being seasoned with Sweet Rub.

Ingredients for Smoked St. Louis Ribs

As mentioned, the ingredients list for these ribs is nice and short, with everything helping to enhance the flavor of the meat and bring good, classic BBQ flavors to the table. Here’s what you need to make these ribs.

  • 1 rack St. Louis ribs
  • 2 Tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons Hey Grill Hey Sweet Rub
  • 1 cup apple juice or apple cider
  • 1 cup Everything BBQ sauce

Both the Hey Grill Hey Sweet Rub and Everything BBQ Sauce can be purchased from the Hey Grill Hey Store. These are some of our most popular products, and they’re well worth the purchase. 

If you don’t have any Sweet Rub or Everything BBQ Sauce on hand, you can make similar items using my recipes for Best Sweet Rub and Kansas City BBQ Sauce. You can also use your favorite BBQ Sauce in place of the ones listed in this recipe.

BBQ sauce being brushed on a rack of St. Louis ribs.

How to Smoke St. Louis Ribs

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Preheat the smoker. Fire up the smoker to 275 degrees F. Apple, cherry, and peach work great with this recipe. If you’re looking for something less fruity, try oak or hickory.
  2. Trim and season. Peel away the membrane on the back of the ribs. I recommend using a paper towel to grip the corner of the membrane and slowly pull it off. Next, trim any extra fat from the ribs. Once the ribs are looking trimmed and gorgeous, slather with yellow mustard and season well on all sides with Sweet Rub.
  3. Smoke. Place the seasoned ribs on the smoker, close the lid, and smoke for 1 hour. Absolutely NO PEEKING during this time. You want the smoke to really penetrate that rib meat.
  4. Spritz the ribs. After that first hour, begin spritzing the ribs every 45-60 minutes throughout the remainder of the smoke time.
  5. Baste with sauce and finish smoking. The final temperature for these ribs is 195-200 degrees F. As your ribs reach this final temperature, brush them lightly with BBQ sauce and remove them when they reach your target temperature and the ribs bend easily when they are lifted by your tongs. For more information on ribs, check out my post on How to Know When Pork Ribs are Done.
  6. Rest, slice, and enjoy. Remove the ribs from the smoker to a serving platter or large cutting board. Rest for around 15 minutes, then slice in individual ribs, and serve with extra sauce on the side, if desired.

How Long to Smoke St. Louis Ribs

St. Louis ribs take 4 1/2 to 5 hours total to smoke.

The initial smoke takes 1 hour, followed by another 3 to 4 hours to get the ribs to a final temperature of around 195-200 degrees F. This will produce classic “bite-through tender” ribs. You can continue to smoke your ribs to 200-203 degrees F if you would like the meat even more tender and more of that “fall-off-the-bone” finish.

Susie holding a rib covered in sauce.

More Smoked Ribs Recipes

Ribs are by-far one of my favorite BBQ dishes. There are so many different ways to make them, and they always feed a hungry crowd. Check out some of our most popular smoked ribs recipes from the Hey Grill Hey site below.

Smoked St Louis Ribs Recipe

Drop us a line! Let us know what you thought of this recipe in the comments section below! We love creating a community of backyard BBQ heroes who are ready to tackle anything on the grill or smoker.

Hey grillers! This recipe was made for those of you out there looking to make better BBQ so you can feed the people you love and become a backyard BBQ hero.

Smoked St. Louis ribs on a cutting board.

Smoked St. Louis Ribs

Susie Bulloch
Smoked St. Louis spare ribs give you a classic smoked rib taste with a perfect bite-through texture. These ribs are sprinkled with a classic brown sugar-based seasoning before getting a nice long smoke and a BBQ sauce slather. This recipe is the epitome of "simple is best."
4.75 from 4 votes
Prep Time : 20 mins
Cook Time : 5 hrs
Resting Time : 15 mins
Total Time : 5 hrs 35 mins
Servings : 3 people
Calories : 1439kcal


  • 1 rack St. Louis pork ribs
  • 2 Tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons Hey Grill Hey Sweet Rub (recipe in notes section)
  • 1 cup apple juice or apple cider
  • 1 cup Everything BBQ Sauce (or your favorite BBQ sauce)


  • Preheat. Preheat your grill for indirect grilling. The target temperature on your grill is 275 degrees F. I recommend using fruit woods like apple, peach, cherry, or hardwoods like hickory or oak.
  • Trim the ribs. Pat the ribs dry with a paper towel. Trim down any excess fat and remove the thin membrane on the back of the ribs using a paper towel for grip.
  • Season. Slather the ribs with the yellow mustard, then season all sides of the pork ribs liberally with Hey Grill Hey Sweet Rub.
  • Smoke the ribs. Place the seasoned ribs directly on the grill grates. Close the lid, and cook for an hour without opening the lid.
  • Spritz. After that first hour, crack open your smoker and spritz your ribs with the apple juice. Continue spritzing every 45-60 minutes throughout the cook. Your ribs will cook for about 4 ½ -5 hours total.
  • Baste and finish smoking. As your ribs near the home stretch, you can baste them with a thin layer of BBQ sauce. You’ll want your ribs to bend easily when lifted by your tongs and read around 195-200 degrees F for bite-through tender or 200-203 degrees F for fall-off-the-bone ribs.
  • Rest, slice, and serve. Remove the ribs from the grill. Allow them to rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.


Sweet Rub

Everything BBQ Sauce


Calories: 1439kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 69g | Fat: 103g | Saturated Fat: 33g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 18g | Monounsaturated Fat: 37g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 347mg | Sodium: 1449mg | Potassium: 1436mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 481IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 208mg | Iron: 8mg
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