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Traeger Smoked Pork Ribs

My Traeger Smoked Pork Ribs are currently #1 on my favorite grill recipes list. These aren’t quick, but they ARE easy.

Pork ribs are seasoned with a dry rub, slow-smoked for 5 hours, coated with dark brown sugar and cooked with a bottle of hard apple cider to braise for 4 hours, and then get cooked uncovered right on the grill grates for another hour coated with your favorite barbecue sauce. You’ll never have a better pork rib.

Traeger Smoked Pork Ribs

Traeger Smoked Pork Ribs

Is there anybody out there that is a HUGE fan of BBQ ribs like I am? You need to do yourself a favor and make these delicious ribs. These are the kind of ribs that fall off the bone. I don’t know about you, but I like tender meat.

This is the perfect meal to make when you know you’re having a crowd over, and you don’t want to be hovering over the meal while everyone is around. My Traeger Grilled Pork Ribs do take a long time to make, but they are totally worth it!

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Traeger Grilled Pork Ribs

What Are The Best Pork Ribs For Grilling?

  • SPARE RIBS are cut from the top portion of the rib cage. They have longer bones, and a very flavorful meat and generally has a longer cooking time. These are very versatile ribs and are made using several different methods including grilling, smoking, and roasting. You will find these ribs with about 11-13 bones per package.
  • BABY BACK RIBS are cut from the bottom portion of the rib cage and are meatier than spare ribs. They don’t take as long to cook, and you will find these types of ribs happily being grilled in the northern part of the United States. These ribs have about 10-13 bones per package.
  • ST. LOUIS STYLE RIBS are a cut that you will find in the southern part of the United States more often. This term became an official USDA cut in the 1980’s. These are actually spare ribs with the rib tips cut off, as they are a little gristly and have little meat on them.  These are famous down south, and are really amazing!
  • COUNTRY STYLE PORK RIBS sometimes are considered chops and are cut from the shoulder blade. They have a lot of meat on them and people like these when they don’t want to use their hands to eat ribs. A knife and fork will do the trick for these “ribs”.
Traeger Grilled Pork Ribs

Dry Rub for Smoked Babyback Ribs

Before you start with any large piece of meat on the grill, you need to rub it, and rub it good.

I like to use my homemade BBQ Rub. It hits all the right notes for an all-purpose barbecue rub, helps pull on all of that great smoky flavor, and just the right amount of heat.

You’ll find a bunch of pre-made rubs that you might like for your ribs. Experiment a little and see what works best for you!

Traeger Smoked Pork Ribs

How Long Does It Take To Smoke 5-4-1 Ribs?

These particular are smoked on the wood-pellet grill for 5 hours. I know it seems like a lot, but it is a thing you are going to want to try.

I know if you do any googling, you’re going to come across one of the most popular smoked rib recipes out there, the 3-2-1 ribs method. That calls for a 3-hour smoke, a 2-hour braise wrapped tightly in foil, and then 1 hour on the grill with barbecue sauce (or variations of that).

I’ve seen great things done with the 3-2-1, but personally, I MUCH prefer my 5-4-1 method in taste and tenderness. Try for yourself and let me know what you prefer!

You can also cheat and use a pressure cooker for FASTER Smoked Ribs.

Traeger Smoked Pork Ribs

Tips for 5-4-1 Smoked Ribs

  1. Don’t rush it! Great barbecue takes a long time. Deal with it and just buckle up for a long drive. You can’t escape it, and once you taste these, you won’t want to either.
  2. Peel off the membrane! Most ribs have a membrane that runs all along the bottom of the bones. You’ll want to get rid of that or it can make things less-than-ideal. Some grocers pre-peel their baby back ribs, and some don’t. When in doubt, give it a shot.
  3. Make at least 1/2 rack per person. A full rack from grown men and women wouldn’t be too crazy. These are amazing, and you’re going to want extras.
  4. You can totally make these ahead of time. Just save the final grill with the barbecue sauce for right before you search them for the best results.
Traeger Smoked Pork Ribs

What Should I Make With Smoked Baby Back Ribs?

Traditionally people like to make coleslaw with their ribs, and I agree!

My Homemade Coleslaw Recipe will pair perfectly with this fall-off-the-bone rib recipe.

Since we are going really all out for this meal, you need to also make my jalapeno cheddar cornbread muffins. Because you need a little health food in this dinner, steam up some broccoli or serve it with my grilled vegetable pasta salad. You will wow your whole family with this recipe.

Real Reviews from Readers!

Dan says, “My family loved the ribs. My youngest son, who really loves ribs, sad they were the best ribs he has ever eaten. I used Traeger Pork and Poultry rub and Famous Dave’s Texas Pit sauce on one slab of ribs and Curt’s Medium sauce on the other slab. The meat just fell off the bones. I will definitely use your recipe the next time I make ribs. Thanks!”

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Traeger Smoked Pork Ribs
Traeger Smoked Pork Ribs

Traeger Grilled Pork Ribs

Yield: 4 people
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Grill Time: 10 hours
Total Time: 10 hours 15 minutes

My Traeger Grilled Pork Ribs leaped immediately to #1 on my favorite grill recipes list. These aren't quick, but they ARE easy. 5-4-1 take on the 3-2-1 method.


  • 2 racks baby back ribs
  • 1 cup homemade bbq rub {or your favorite ready-made variety}
  • 2 12-ounce bottles hard apple cider
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 batches homemade barbecue sauce {or your favorite bottled variety}


  1. Turn your grill to smoke.
  2. Remove the membrane from the rib, and then coat with the barbecue rub.
  3. Smoke for 5 hours between 125-175 degrees.
  4. Turn the temperature of the grill up to 225 degrees.
  5. Remove the ribs from the grill, place them into a large high-sided baking pan that's been sprayed with cooking spray (you'll probably have to cut them into half racks), pour in a bottle of hard apple cider. Rub the brown sugar all over the top of the ribs after they are placed into the pan.
  6. Cover the pan tightly with tin foil and place back on the grill for another 4 hours.
  7. After 4 hours, remove the foil and place the ribs directly on the grill grate, turning the temperature up to 300 degree. Brush with barbecue sauce 2-3 times over the next hour, before removing from the grill and serving. The ribs should be fall-off-the-bone tender at this point. You might be serving boneless ribs. You won't be disappointed.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1073Total Fat: 42gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 197mgSodium: 1663mgCarbohydrates: 111gFiber: 3gSugar: 99gProtein: 61g

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April Haslam

Thursday 23rd of April 2020

The juice burned on the bottom of the ribs! The top half was excellent, but the bottom of the ribs couldn’t be eaten. Sorry not impressed! Followed cooking instruction to a T. The four hours an 225 was too much! Couldn’t even get part of it out of the pan. Need a new recipe, suggestions?

Nicole Johnson

Thursday 23rd of April 2020

Yikes! That has not been a thing that has happened to us. Did you wrap tightly in foil? It sounds like your pan/ribs might have been over a hot spot. I'll add in an instruction to check halfway through to make sure that doesn't happen, but I've never heard of it with a tightly covered pan because the liquid shouldn't have anywhere to evaporate TO if the foil is sealed. I'm so sorry that happened though! BBQ is less a science and more an art, and any recipe is going to need adjustments based on environment or product. <3 Next time, you can try the 3-2-1 method which a lot of people like. That's 3 hours smoked, 2 hours wrapped with liquid, and 1 hour on the grill after. I, personally, like my ribs more tender than the 3-2-1 produce, but your mileage may vary!


Tuesday 31st of March 2020

Where do you get the hard cider

Nicole Johnson

Tuesday 31st of March 2020

Any store that sells beer or cider should have it.

Connor Hamilton

Wednesday 25th of December 2019

Hey guys here to help you with your dry rib problem. The biggest reason ribs are usually dried out is due to the over long process it takes to get them tender. The 5-4-1 method is much better than 3-2-1 as far as tenderness goes BUT the one mistake I see in the instructions is one of the biggest. You need to use a “mop” with your ribs while they are in the “5” stage as this is what helps the meat keep its moister. If you do not know what a mop is it is a combination of a fat (meat juices, butter) and dry rub you put on your ribs. You mix those together to make a flavorful liquid you rub on your ribs ever hour to hour and a half. Hope this helps!!! Happy smoking


Saturday 13th of June 2020

@Connor Hamilton, I've been putting a throw away aluminum cake pan under the grates filled w/ water (sometimes I add apple juice/cider, or club soda). It makes a steam & your meat won't dry out. Great for ribs & brisket.

Les T

Sunday 8th of December 2019

Tried the 4-5-1 method has a a very good flavor. We liked it a lot better than the 3-2-1. Tried that one 3 times never did get what we were looking for. Only issue was I cook a little hotter do to the temp out side,I’ll follow the instructions if need be I’ll just cook longer.

Nicole Johnson

Sunday 8th of December 2019

Hey Les! Thanks so much for letting me know how it went! I love the 4-5-2 texture also. What temp do you run it at? I'd love to know how they came out!

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