How To Smoke Ribs on Charcoal Smoker?[5 Steps]

If you thought you needed a big, sophisticated smoker to get the soft, delicious meat that only comes from low and slow smoking, think again. Stop right there and take it all in.

If you are finding the answer to the question, “can I smoke meat in my charcoal grill?” “Sure, you can,” But it has to be really difficult and inconvenient.” That’s what we thought when we heard you could smoke in a grill. But, with the impossibility of purchasing a smoker in the near future, we decided to give it a shot with what we had.

Do you already have a smoker? Great! If you don’t have one, don’t worry: I have many new ideas for you! Now I will show you how to smoke ribs on charcoal smoker. Or without a smoker?

Best Way to Smoke Ribs on A Charcoal Smoker

Best Way to Smoke Ribs on A Charcoal Smoker

Do you love smoked ribs? I sure do. Smoked ribs are a Texas comfort meal, and our family has been grilling for centuries utilizing indirect heat and cooking low and slow. This smoked ribs recipe includes everything you need to know about the best way to smoke ribs on a charcoal smoker.

How to smoke ribs on charcoal smoker? Do you already have a smoker? Great! You can cook these on a regular charcoal grill if you don’t have a smoker. I will also show you how to make these smoked ribs on a basic charcoal grill. Let’s start with smokers. This recipe will work regardless of the type of smoker you have. You can cook these on a regular charcoal grill if you don’t have a smoker. Here I am given the best way to smoke ribs on a charcoal smoker.

Step 1 -What Do I Need to Smoke Ribs?

  • A smoker (or charcoal grill, set up to smoke)
  • Pork ribs (St. Louis spares or baby backs)
  • Sprinter bottle
  • Apple juice
  • Rib rub (recipe below)
  • Favorite BBQ sauce
  • Tinfoil
  • Tongs

Step 2- How to Make Smoking Ribs:

We have four prep stages to perform before we can smoke ribs:

  1. Trim
  2. Wash and dry
  3. Take out the membrane
  4. Dry brine (optional, but highly recommended!)

Step 3-How to Remove the Membrane from Ribs:

On the backside of every pork rib is a stiff membrane. This must be removed because the salt and rub will not penetrate it. It’s also unpleasant to consume when your teeth can’t grasp it well.

It’s as simple as placing a butter knife between the membrane and one of the central bones and prying away to remove the membrane. Once you’ve started, way along the bone with the knife, prying the membrane up a little at a time until you reach the other end.

Step 4-Brine the Ribs Dry:

Don’t be put off by the phrase “dry brine.” Dry brining is just pre-salting the meat for several hours before cooking. To dry brine, evenly add 12 teaspoons of kosher salt per pound of meat on the top side of the ribs. When using table salt, use 14 teaspoons per pound.

Allow the ribs to rest uncovered in the fridge for 6-24 hours before smoking them. This enables the dry brine process to function.

Step 5- Rub A Sufficient Quantity of Dry Rub:

This should be done the night before you plan to smoke. Rub a sufficient quantity of dry rub over the top and bottom of the rib racks to coat the meat with a thin layer. Place the racks on a clean cookie sheet, wrap in shrink wrap, and place in the refrigerator overnight. This will cure the ribs and allow all of the spices to penetrate.

Step 6- Start This Step For At Least Nine Hours.

Place all wood chunks and chips in a big bowl or basin of water and soak for at least an hour before beginning the smoking process. To keep excess chunks and chips moist during the smoking process, keep them in water. Wet wood will produce more smoke in The Future.

Step 7- Light A Small Charcoal Fire on The Grill’s Side

Allow the coals to catch until they glow red or are entirely grey. To avoid chemical flavors in the ribs, use an electric or natural fire starter rather than fuel. Six to eight handfuls of charcoal should be plenty to get started.

Step 8 -Place the Ribs on The Smoking Chamber’s Cooking Grate

The primary cooking surface inside the charcoal grill). Maintain at least two inches of space between rib racks and bone sides down, and close the chamber door as much as possible throughout cooking to reduce heat and smoke loss.

Step 9- Every 40 Minutes or So, Add One Wood Piece

Add one wood piece and a handful of chips to the charcoal fire within the firebox. As the coal burns down, add handfuls of charcoal as needed. Repeat for roughly eight hours, closing the firebox door when not adding wood or coal.

Step 10-Open the Smoking Chamber at The Start of The Final Hour

Open the smoking chamber at the start of the final hour of smoking and brush a generous amount of sauce onto the rib racks’ top, bottom, and sides with a basting brush. Continue smoking for another hour, then place the racks on a serving platter with tongs. Ribs are done when the meat quickly pulls away from the bone.

Smoking Ribs on Charcoal Smoker

Smoking Ribs on Charcoal Smoker

You will use indirect heat to convert the charcoal grill into a smoker. This means you’ll need to position your hot coals on each side of the grill so they’re not immediately beneath the meat you’re smoking.

To do Smoking ribs on a charcoal smoker, we placed a disposable aluminium pan in the centre of the bottom grate and utilized it to hold the coals to either side of the meat. During cooking, this pan also serves as a drip pan.


Toss about 3/4 cup of soaked and drained wood chips onto the hot coals on each side of the aluminium pan when ready to cook. Smoke should be visible almost quickly. Place the grill grate on the grill. Close the grill and adjust the vents to achieve the desired temperature inside. It would be best if you were smoking in a low-heat setting.

Step 2:

After a few moments, remove your grill’s lid and set your hand about four inches away from the grilling grate. You should be able to hold your palm over the grate for 8-10 seconds at a ‘low’ heat (about 250 – 300F). Of course, a leave-in probe thermometer is a more precise technique for measuring the temperature of your barbecue smoker.

Step 3:

Add a few more coals and a 1/2 cup of wet and drained wood chips to each side of the pan every hour. This will maintain a steady level of heat and smoke. Checking it every hour also allows you to ensure that the heat setting is still where you want it and adjust it as needed.

Step 4:

We doused it with apple cider every half hour to hour and added more chips and charcoal. We decided to turn down the heat and leave them on for a little longer to see what would happen. Unfortunately, the ribs turned out darker than we had hoped. Despite the darker colour, we had some incredibly delicious ribs after 2 1/2 hours.

Baby Back Ribs on Charcoal Smoker

Baby Back Ribs on Charcoal Smoker

The ribs should have bark on the outside, a pink smoke ring beneath it, and a strip of grey juicy cooked meat in the center. This should be done before putting any sauce on the ribs. Let’s make Baby back ribs on a charcoal smoker.


  • 1 slab of baby back ribs per adult
  • pork dry rub (recipe to follow)
  • charcoal grill, such as a Weber Kettle
  • hickory wood chunks
  • 18-pound bag of charcoal
  • rib grilling rack
  • Cooking/Grilling Tongs
  • meat thermometer
  • 2 ½ quart saucepan
  • grill brush

Step 1:

Rinse the rib racks with cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Remove the membrane from the ribs’ backside. The membrane is thin, and white, covering each rib rack’s back. This membrane can block out the flavour by forming a barrier against the seasoning.

Step 2:

To remove the membrane, place the ribs on a flat surface, curve side up, with the curve pointing up at you. Peel the membrane from one corner near the bone with a sharp knife. Firmly and steadily pull across the rack. Pull it up and resume where it tore off if it tears. Rinse, and pat the ribs dry once more.

In a small mixing bowl, combine all of the rub ingredients (making careful to work out any clumps from the brown sugar for even distribution); stir to combine. Season both sides of the racks with the seasonings.

Step 3:

When the smoker or grill reaches the desired temperature, lay the ribs in the grilling rack over indirect heat, toss a chunk of hickory wood on top of each basket of hot coals, and close the lid.

Raise the temperature to 225 degrees F, using the grill vents to control the temperature. The vents regulate the amount of oxygen delivered to the fire

. As a result, less air implies less fire. For the first three hours, you will need to add fresh coals and possibly more wood chunks to each side of the grill.

Step 4:

Check the grill temperature every hour to keep it as close to 225 degrees F as possible. It is critical to resist the urge to open the lid. Only open the grill lid if more charcoal or wood is required to maintain temperature and smoke.

Check the temperature of the meat after 3 hours to see where it is and how much longer it will need to smoke. Add sauce to make it better.

FAQs How to Smoke Ribs on Charcoal Smoker?

Smoke the ribs for four to five hours at 225°F to 250°F. You can baste or mop the baby's back ribs as needed, but don't open the grill too frequently. The most important thing is to keep a consistent temperature.


Smoking ribs is a labour of love, but you don’t need a sophisticated smoker to accomplish it. All you need is a basic charcoal grill, some common sense, and a few simple steps to make delicious, succulent, and flavorful smoked baby back ribs in your backyard. I know this because the grilling enthusiast I live with is obsessed with smoking ribs. I have mentioned all the possible ways in answer to how to smoke ribs on charcoal smoker.