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Smoked Spare Ribs

Our tender, delicious Smoked Spare Ribs are an American BBQ favorite. This recipe uses a simple yet bold mix of ingredients to achieve a perfect balance between smokiness, sweetness, and tender meat. The use of a homemade rib rub and hard apple cider infuses the ribs with deep flavors while ensuring they stay moist throughout the cooking process. Finishing the ribs with a layer of BBQ sauce adds the ideal sticky-sweet crust that rib lovers crave. Whether it’s a backyard BBQ or a special family dinner, these smoked spare ribs promise to be the highlight of any meal.

Smoked Spare Ribs

Ribs are one of the best things about barbecue, and when we finally delved into smoking, they became one of my favorite meals. Before that, I’d only ever had ribs off a gas grill or oven ribs, neither of which are great options.

We have a ton of ribs recipes on the site, but I realized that I we hadn’t done any spare ribs yet and that’s just not okay.

Spare ribs, cut from the lower portion of a pig’s rib cage, are larger, meatier, and more flavorful than their counterparts because they have a higher fat content. They extend from the belly’s end, containing more bone but also more marbling, which contributes to their rich taste. This cut includes a portion of the brisket bone, making them slightly tougher but we fix that with our “make any ribs tender” cooking method.

Why you’ll love this dish…

  • Rich Smoky Flavor: The smoking process imparts a deep, woodsy flavor that is the hallmark of great BBQ.
  • Tender and Juicy: The slow cooking and braising in apple cider ensure the ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender.
  • Versatile: Easily adaptable, this dish can be customized with your favorite rib rub and BBQ sauce.
  • Perfect for Entertaining: Impress guests at your next gathering with these delectably smoked ribs.

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Smoked Spare Ribs

Smoked Spare Ribs shopping list

Wondering if you have to hit the store? Here’s the list of items you’ll need to make this recipe. For specific amounts, please refer to the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.

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  • Pork Spare Ribs (2 racks)
  • Pork Rib Rub (1 batch)
  • Hard Apple Cider (2 bottles)
  • BBQ Sauce (2 cups)

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Smoked Spare Ribs

How to make Smoked Spare Ribs

Wondering what you’re getting yourself into when you make this dish? Here’s a quick overview of the process! Make sure you follow the instructions at the recipe card at the bottom of the post while you’re cooking.

  • Preheat and Season:
    Preheat your grill to 225°F. Season both sides of the ribs with generous amounts of pork rib rub.
  • Smoke:
    Place the ribs on the grill and smoke for two hours to infuse them with a rich, woodsy flavor.
  • Braise:
    Transfer the ribs to a large baking pan, pour in the hard cider, cover, and increase the grill temperature to 300°F. Cook until the ribs are tender, about an hour.
  • Sauce:
    Remove the ribs from the pan, coat with BBQ sauce, and return them to the grill for about 10 minutes, or until the sauce sets and caramelizes.
  • Serve:
    Let the ribs rest for a few minutes before serving, allowing the juices to redistribute.

Try with our Vinegar BBQ Sauce!

Smoked Spare Ribs

Smoked Spare Ribs FAQ

Can I prepare Smoked Spare Ribs in advance?

Yes, you can smoke and braise the ribs a day ahead. Just add the BBQ sauce and finish them on the grill before serving.

How should I store leftovers?

Keep any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Can I use beer instead of hard apple cider?

Absolutely, beer can be a great substitute for hard apple cider, offering a different but equally delicious flavor profile.

How about some Honey BBQ Sauce?

Smoked Spare Ribs

Serve this with…

  • Corn on the Cob: A classic side that pairs beautifully with the smokiness of the ribs.
  • Coleslaw: A crisp, refreshing coleslaw can balance the richness of the meat.
  • Baked Beans: For a hearty side, baked beans complement the flavors of BBQ perfectly.
Smoked Spare Ribs

More great recipes for ribs!

Smoked Spare Ribs

Smoked Spare Ribs

Our incredibly tender and flavorful smoked spare rib recipe is perfect for your next BBQ or cookout! Using our tried-and-true rib method, you're going to love this!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Traeger Recipes
Cuisine: American
Keyword: BBQ, ribs
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Author: Nicole Johnson



  • Preheat your grill to 225°F.
  • Season both sides of the ribs with generous amounts of your favorite rib rub.
  • Place the ribs on the grill and let smoke for two hours.
  • Place the ribs into a large baking pan and pour the hard cider in. Cover the pan and turn the heat on the grill up to 300°F.
  • Cook for another hour or so, or until the ribs reach your desired tenderness.
  • Remove from the pan, coat with sauce, and put back on the grill for 10 minutes or so, or just until the sauce has set.


Serving: 0.33racksCalories: 748kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 68gFat: 102gSaturated Fat: 33gPolyunsaturated Fat: 17gMonounsaturated Fat: 37gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 347mgSodium: 1333mgPotassium: 1271mgFiber: 1gSugar: 32gVitamin A: 218IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 98mgIron: 5mg
Nicole Johnson

Nicole Johnson, a self-taught expert in grilling and outdoor cooking, launched Or Whatever You Do in 2010. Her blog, renowned for its comprehensive and creative outdoor cooking recipes, has garnered a vast audience of millions. Nicole's hands-on experience and passion for grilling shine through her work. Her husband, Jeremiah Johnson, also plays a pivotal role in recipe development, adding his culinary flair to the mix. Together, they form a dynamic duo, offering a rich and varied outdoor cooking experience to their followers.

Recipe Rating

Donald Miltier

Tuesday 26th of March 2024

They sure look mighty good, I need to try your rib receipe.