A sweet, sticky exterior and a fall-apart interior is what makes smoked St. Louis Style Ribs a crowd favorite in almost every part of the country. This recipe brings together the beautiful taste of hickory smoke, rich spices, and a meaty cut of pork rib, to create mouthwatering harmony.
St. Louis-style ribs are a personal favorite of mine. The neatly trimmed rectangular racks offer plenty of surface for the spice rub and barbecue sauce. When cooked, the meat shrinks slightly, leaving a tantalizing bit of bone sticking out, telling you that the rib is done and ready to eat.
I guess my love of St. Louis-style ribs comes from going to baseball games with my dad. There was this rib joint just down the street from the ball park. We used to stop in and grab some food before the game. Of course, the place was packed, but no one seemed to mind because the food was just that good. Some days, it was so packed, we had to eat it in the parking lot at the ball park.
When I got into smoking meats, I wanted to recreate that special memory. This recipe is my best attempt so far.
What Makes A Good St Louis Style Ribs Recipe
Any good St. Louis-style rib recipe starts with selecting the best rack of ribs.
Always look for a rack with plenty of meat on the bone. Keep an eye out for ribs that have been cut too close to the bone. You will see bone sticking out in the wrong places. Avoid those racks, known as shiners. Other things you want to avoid include excess surface fat, discolored ribs, or those with dried out edges.
Avoid ribs that have been enhanced with flavoring. You want good quality, non-flavored ribs that you can apply your own rubs and sauces to.
The St. Louis-style rib can be cooked in the smoker, on a grill, in the oven, or even in a slow cooker. The key is not to cook it at very high temperatures. Lower temperatures, for a longer period, will render the meat tender and juicy. Cook them too fast, the meat dries out and burns.
This style of rib is usually seasoned with a spice rub, then cooked for a time. Then, a layer of sweet, tangy barbecue goes on top, before it goes back in to cook further. The result is a sticky outside with plenty of flavor in the meat.
Smoked St Louis Style Ribs
- 2 Racks St. Louis Ribs with back membranes removed
- Butter, melted
- Brown Sugar
- 1 cup Barbecue Sauce, you choice of flavor
- 2 tbsp Kosher Salt
- 2 tbsp Ground Black Pepper
- 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tbsp Onion Powder
- 1 tbsp Paprika
- In a small bowl, combine kosher salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Can also be mixed in large shaker.
- Apply rub mixture to ribs, ensuring an even coat all on surfaces. Let sit 1 hour before cooking.
- Preheat smoker to 275°F, using hickory wood.
- Place ribs in smoker. Smoke for 3 hours.
- Take ribs out of smoker. Place ribs on heavy-duty aluminum foil and wrap. Before closing foil, spread melted butter, honey, and brown sugar lightly on the meat side of the ribs.
- Wrap tightly and put back in smoker for 2 more hours.
- Unwrap ribs, coat each slab with 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce. Smoke for one more hour.
- Remove ribs from smoker. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.