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If you are just starting out or have been smoking meat some time now, you are probably pretty aware that 225° Fahrenheit is the golden number for when it comes to smoking ribs; however, one of the biggest misconceptions is that you have to smoke ribs at 225° F.
Over time, I learned that you can get the same end results in a fraction of the time by smoking ribs at a higher temperature. But how hot can you smoke ribs?
In this article, we will go over the 4 most common temperatures to smoke ribs at and determine which one is right for you.
Best Temperature To Smoke Ribs At?
If you are looking to get the most smoke flavor, the best temperature to smoke ribs at is 225° Fahrenheit. If you are ok with sacrificing some smoke flavor to shave hours off your total cook time, the best temperature for smoking ribs is 275°- 300° F.
When smoking ribs, there is a pretty large spectrum of temperatures to choose from. You can smoke ribs anywhere from 225° F to 300° F and turn out tender and juicy ribs. I even know people who smoke ribs hotter than 300°F.
With such a large spectrum, how can you choose what temperature to smoke your ribs at? Well, like many things in the meat smoking world, it comes down to personal preference. The best temperature to smoke ribs at all comes down to what you want.
So ask yourself…
Do you want more smoke flavor?
If you are trying to maximize the amount of smoke flavor into your ribs, then you should aim to smoke your ribs on the lower end of that spectrum. Smoking ribs at 225° will give your ribs the most time in the smoker to take on smoke and produce the deeper flavor profile.
Or do you want a faster cook time?
There is no denying that smoked ribs take time to cook. Whether you are short on time or just impatient like myself, if you want to shorten your total cook time, you should aim to smoke your ribs at the higher end of that spectrum. 275°-300° can greatly shorten the cook time without sacrificing much flavor.
The lower the temperature you smoke ribs at the more smoke flavor you will get and the longer it will take. The higher the temperature you smoke ribs at, the less smoke flavor you get and the faster they will cook. You can smoke ribs anywhere between 225° F and 300° F and turn out tender and juicy ribs, figure out what you like!
Cooking Temperature And Times Chart For Ribs
|Cooking Temperature||Baby Back Ribs||Spareribs||St Louis Style Cut Ribs|
|225°F||5 Hours||6 Hours||6 Hours|
|250°F||4-5 Hours||5-6 Hours||5-6 Hours|
|275°F||3-4 Hours||4-5 Hours||4-5 Hours|
|300°F||2-3 Hours||3-4 Hours||3-4 Hours|
What Temperature Do You Smoke Your Ribs At Poll
I decided to run a poll within the meat smoking community to see what the most popular temperature to smoke ribs at was. As you can see from the poll below, 225° F is by far the most popular choice with a whopping 71% of participants selecting that option.
Smoked Ribs At 225° F
If you are looking for the most smoke flavor, the best temperature to smoke ribs at is 225° Fahrenheit. At this temperature, you are allowing your ribs to sit in the smoker for a longer period of time. The more time your ribs sit in smoke, the more flavor and bark they will develop.
The downside to smoking at this temperature, is that your ribs are going to take longer to smoke. If you are ok with waiting the extra time, then 225° is a great option.
Additionally, a lot of people smoke their ribs at 225° for the first 3-4 hours of their smoke before wrapping their ribs and increasing their temperature to 275°. Once you wrap your ribs, they can’t take on anymore smoke so there is no point in smoking at 225° F.
How Long To Smoke Ribs At 225°
Baby back ribs take approximately 5 hours to cook at 225° Fahrenheit while Spareribs and St Louis style ribs will take approximately 6 hours to smoke at 225 ° Fahrenheit. If you are not wrapping your ribs during the smoke, you can expect another 30 minutes of cooking time.
|Type of Rib||Cooking Time Wrapped at 225° F||Cooking Time No Wrap at 225° F|
|Baby Back Ribs||5 Hours||5-6 Hours|
|Spareribs||6 Hours||6-7 Hours|
|St Louis Style Ribs||6 Hours||6-7 Hours|
Most people smoking at this temperature are following the 3-2-1 or 2-2-1 method of smoking ribs. That is 3 hours on the smoker unwrapped, 2 hours on the smoker wrapped in aluminum foil or butcher paper, and the last hour on the smoker again sauced up and unwrapped.
If you are doing no wrap ribs, make sure to add approximately 30 minutes to and hour of cook time. If you are unsure whether or not to wrap ribs or whether to use butcher paper or aluminum foil, check out my guide on wrapping ribs.
The video below shows 3 great ways to tell when your ribs are done!
You can also use a Bluetooth thermometer like this Chugod on Amazon to monitor the internal temperature of your ribs. Once your ribs reach approximately 205°F, they are done.
Smoked Ribs At 250° Fahrenheit
Smoking ribs at 250° F is another popular option that doesn’t differ much from smoking ribs at 225°F. You are allowing ample time for your ribs to take on smoke, but you are still going to have longer cook times.
250° F is a safe temperature to smoke at because it gives you room for temperature spikes or drops. If your smoker drops or spikes 25° in temperate, you are still within normal smoking range.
At 250° F you won’t notice a difference in smoke flavor from 225°F. As far as cooking time, smoking ribs at 250° F will save you about 30 minutes of cooking time. For most, 225° – 250° F is a good range to stay in.
How Long To Smoke Ribs At 250°
On average, baby back ribs take about 4-5 hours to smoke at 250° Fahrenheit. Smoking spare ribs or St Louis style cut ribs at 250° Fahrenheit will take about 5-6 hours on the smoker. If you plan on not wrapping your ribs, you can expect to add about 30 minutes of total cooking time.
|Rib Type||Cooking Time Wrapped at 250° F||Cooking Time No Wrap at 250°F|
|Baby Back Ribs||4-5 Hours||4.5-5.5 Hours|
|Spareribs||5-6 Hours||5.5-6.5 Hours|
|St Louis Style Cut Ribs||5-6 Hours||5.5-6.5 Hours|
Smoked Ribs At 275° F
If you are still looking to get great smoke flavor but don’t want to wait 6 hours to smoke, then the best temperature too smoke ribs at is 275° F. At this temperature, you can still taste the smoke flavor all while shaving off an hour or more of cook time.
I typically always cook my ribs at 275°. It is true, you won’t get as much smoke flavor, but even then, the difference in taste is hardly noticeable. The slightly less smoke flavor is well worth the time savings you get from smoking ribs at 275° F.
I can’t stress enough; you can make incredibly tender and juicy ribs with great smoke flavor at any of these temperatures so don’t stress too much about what temperature to smoke your ribs at. This is not a make it or break it decision.
How Long To Smoke Ribs At 275°
On average, baby back ribs take about 3-4 hours to cook when smoking them at 275° Fahrenheit. Spareribs and St Louis style cut ribs will take about 4-5 hours to cook when smoking them at 275° Fahrenheit. If you plan on not wrapping your ribs, expect to add another 30 minutes of cooking time.
|Rib Type||Cooking Time Wrapped at 275° F||Cooking Time No Wrap at 275° F|
|Baby Back Ribs||3-4 Hours||3.5-4.5 Hours|
|Spareribs||4-5 Hours||4.5-5.5 Hours|
|St Louis Style Cut Ribs||4-5 Hours||4.5-5.5 Hours|
Hot And Fast Smoked Ribs At 300° F
For those of you who really want to speed up the cooking process, the hot and fast method is for you. It is not uncommon to see people smoke ribs at 300° F and above. At these temperatures, you can crank out ribs in a whopping 2-3 hours.
However, when smoking at this high of temperature, you are limiting the amount of smoke flavor you can get into your ribs. They cook so fast that your ribs are not getting a lot of opportunity to take on smoke flavor.
Again, you can certainly make great tasting ribs at 300° F plus, just know that this is really the limit when it comes to getting great smoke flavor. I would recommend this this temperature only for those who are short on time.
Is 300° Fahrenheit Too Hot For Ribs?
300° is not too hot to smoke ribs at; however, smoking ribs at that temperature is going to limit how much smoke flavor you can impart into your ribs. At 300° Fahrenheit, your ribs will cook so fast that they don’t get much time in the smoker to take on the smoke flavor.
How Long To Smoke Ribs At 300°
On average, baby back ribs take about 2-3 hours to cook when smoking them at 300° Fahrenheit. Spareribs and St Louis style cut ribs will take about 3-4 hours to cook when smoking them at 300° Fahrenheit. If you plan on not wrapping your ribs, expect to add another 30 minutes of cooking time.
|Rib Type||Cooking Time Wrapped at 300° F||Cooking Time No Wrap at 300° F|
|Baby Back Ribs||2-3 Hours||2.5-3.5 Hours|
|Spareribs||3-4 Hours||3.5-4.5 Hours|
|St Louis Style Ribs||3-4 Hours||3.5-4.5 Hours|