St. Louis Style Smoked Ribs [Easy Grilled Ribs]


St. Louis BBQ Ribs are trimmed to perfection and coated in BBQ sauce for a delicious sweet pork dish. Learn how to smoke the juiciest ribs with our St. Louis Ribs recipe.

Grilled Smoked St Louis Pork Ribs Recipe


What are St Louis style ribs?

The St. Louis area is famous for its high consumption of BBQ sauce, so it’s no surprise their ribs are heavy on sauce too. Luckily, this amount of sauce does more than just moisturize. It also loads the pork ribs with a gooey-sweet feel and flavor unlike any other type of pork ribs .

But it’s not just about the sauce. St. Louis style ribs are also unique in the art of how they are cut. These replacement ribs are cut from the mid-section of the pattern and are presented without the sternum, gristle, and rib tips. What remains is a neat, square-shaped rib. This clean and uncluttered presentation makes St. Louis style cuts an elegant choice for competition ribs.

Grilled Smoked St Louis Pork Ribs Recipe

rib trim

With a St Louis cut, much of the hard work is done for you. However, you still need to trim the replacement ribs to make the grill as perfect as possible.

With the ribs on a cutting board, insert a sharp knife into the top of the longest bone and make a long, straight cut parallel to the bottom of the ribs.

At the smaller end of the grid, cut the smallest bone. This will help create an even square finish. On the wide end of the ridge, trim off any uneven bone or fat.

Next comes the membrane. This is a thin layer of white skin that sits on one side of the ribs. It can prevent smoke from fully penetrating the meat and can prevent fat and juices from decomposing. I prefer to remove the membrane from the ribs as this allows marinades or barbecue marinades to penetrate the meat much better.

Pass the knife under the corner of the membrane, and then hold it in place with a paper towel. Slowly separate the membrane from the ribs. After removing the membrane, cut off any remaining fat or cartilage.

St.Louis pork ribs sliced ​​​​​​​​and served with barbecue sauce on a cutting board

Rib rub dry

I used my all-purpose pork jerky for this recipe, but if you have a favorite spice mix, stick with what you like. If you don’t want to make your own, there are some delicious store-bought rib seasonings you can buy online.

My Pork Jerky is an eight-ingredient mix, but you should have most of them in your kitchen anyway.

  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chilli powder
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon dried onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tea spoons of kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper

Combine them all in a small bowl and use a fork to mash any clumps that sometimes form in the dry spice.

Before we apply the spice to the rack, we need to add a binding agent to the ribs. This will help follow the dressing and help carry as much flavor as possible into our final meat dish. I used yellow mustard for this recipe. It’s an excellent binding agent, adding a subtle savory touch that complements the sugar and spices in the dry spice. You can use olive oil if you prefer.

Apply the dressing to the St. Louis ribs and coat generously on all sides. If you don’t season enough, you will miss important flavors in the meat. Be careful though, if you add too much you risk creating a layer that the smoke can’t penetrate.

Let the ribs rest to soak up some of the seasoning. This should also encourage moisture in the ribs, allowing the meat to take on more flavor and increasing the quality of the finished meat dish. This is similar to the dry salting we do with many pork and beef cuts. Make it at room temperature for half an hour or in the fridge for an hour or two.

Grilled Smoked St Louis Pork Ribs Recipe

The best wood for ribs St Louis

Most types of pork pair best with sweet, fruity hardwoods like apple, cherry, or walnut. Applewood is perfect if you prefer sweet notes that don’t overwhelm your grilled meats.

Applewood is perfect for smoking ribs , especially since we’ll be using apple juice and BBQ sauce to glaze and baste the St. Louis ribs. The wood has a smooth, subtle flavor, especially when compared to heavy woods like hickory or mesquite.

How to Smoke Ribs St Louis Style

Grilled Smoked St Louis Pork Ribs Recipe

These smoked ribs are cooked in three distinct stages: smoked naked, wrapped, and in gravy. Each of these stages is important for working with smoky flavors, enhancing moisture, and adding BBQ sauce. It is similar to 3-2-1 smoked ribs , but the smoking time is shorter because St. Louis ribs are trimmed and there is less bone and fat to cover.

Place your St. Louis ribs bone-side down on the smoker racks. This helps protect the ribs from heat fluctuations.

Smoke it for about three hours until the ribs have developed a deep mahogany color. Remove the ribs from the smoker and place them meat side down on a sheet of aluminum foil.

Add brown sugar and honey to the foil on both the meat and rib sides. This adds more flavor to the ribs and gives them a crisp, flavorful flavor right out of the smoker.

Wrap the ribs tightly in foil, making sure it is airtight and airtight. IF NOT PROPERLY WRAPPED, steam can form inside the bag, causing the ribs to become damp and opaque. For best results, wrap them twice to ensure as much flavor and moisture is retained as possible.

The purpose of this stage is to combine the sugar and spices with the moisture in the ribs. This should help break up the connective tissue in the pork while also providing a base for the ribs to soak in.

St. Louis ribs in barbecue sauce on smoking racks

Place the ribs, meat side down, in the smoker and cook for an additional hour. Then check if the ribs are done . They should be tender to the bite without coming off the bone and have some movement without being completely stiff.

Use a frying or grill brush to brush BBQ sauce onto the ribs for a light coating. Wrap the ribs back in foil and cook the last 10 to 20 minutes. Remove the ribs from the smoker and foil and place them, meat side down, on a cutting board. The bones are here as a guide for you to cut and serve.

Smoked St Louis Ribs

St. Louis BBQ Ribs are trimmed to perfection and coated in BBQ sauce for a delicious sweet pork dish. Learn how to smoke the juiciest ribs with our St. Louis Ribs recipe.
Course dinner, main course
American cuisine , BBQ
Preparation time 2 hours
Cooking time 6 hours
Total time 8 hours


  • Pieces of wood for smoking (apple, cherry or walnut)
  • lake


  • 1 rib St.Louis style
  • Yellow mustard
  • 4 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 cup of honey
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce

dry massage

  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chilli powder
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon dried onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tea spoons of kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper


  • Use a dull knife and a dry paper towel to remove the membrane from the ribs. Cut off the excess on the rib rack.
  • Apply yellow mustard to the ribs, including underneath. Mix all dry ingredients for the rub in a small bowl. Apply generously along the ribeye. Leave in the fridge for 2 hours.
  • Turn smoker on to 107°C (225°F). If you are using a charcoal grill, set it to 2-zone grilling.
  • Add wood chips to the coals and place the ribs on the smoking racks. Close the door or lid and roast for 3 hours.
  • Remove ribs from smoker and place in foil bag. Add apple juice. Wrap the foil tightly.
  • Return the wrapped ribs to smoke. 2 more hours of smoking.
  • Remove ribs from smoker and foil bag. Return the ribs to the smoker and cook for an additional hour, basting with apple juice every 10 minutes. Cook until the temperature of the ribs reaches 145°F.
  • Remove from the smoker and let rest for 10 minutes. Tailor and Serving.

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