Easy Smoked Rib Tips

Make great use of your pork rib trimmings by turning them into these sticky, smoky rib tips.
smoked rib tips

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The next time you are smoking ribs or have extra trimmings laying around, don’t you dare throw them away. Make rib tips! 

They are super easy to make and take about half the time of traditional ribs, plus they are loaded with flavor in every bite.

I love all of the little crispy edges, every bite is just heavenly. These are great to snack on and are impossible to mess up. 

What are rib tips?

Basically, it’s the leftover meat after you trim spare ribs into the more traditional St. Louis cut where they are squared off and in the shape of a rectangle. 

uncut pork ribs
pork rib trimmed st louis style

They are smaller, meaty pieces with cartilage and bone still in them. They come from the lower end of the ribs as well as the sides. 

If you’re lucky, you can sometimes find them in the grocery store already packaged up and ready to go.

How to trim to get rib tips

On a St. Louis cut of pork ribs, you will need to locate where the longest bone ends which is right by the breast bone. It is the big meaty lower end of the rib section. 

rack of ribs with finger in black glove showing where the breastbone is

With a sharp knife, simply run it all the way across.

knife cutting through breastbone of pork ribs

Then square off each end to your desired length. 

You may run into some cartilage but a sharp knife should be able to cut through them without any problems.

On the back side is a flap that can also be trimmed and smoked along with the rib tips. 

knife trimming pork ribs
To trim ribs you will need a very sharp knife, get our Smoke Kitchen boning knife here.

After the ribs are trimmed, I make smaller cuts from the trimmings into 1-2″ portions so they can be served and eaten like an appetizer. 

raw rib tips cut into 2 inch pieces

How to make smoked rib tips

1. Seasoning

I prepare the ribs tips like I do my ribs. I use an oil binder and coat each piece. Then I take my favorite bbq seasoning and evenly apply a coat of rub on each side.

I used a 50-50 blend of Honey Garlic and Pitmasters Pick

raw seasoned rib tips in metal tray

I allow the rib tips to sit out with the rub on for 20 minutes before smoking them. 

2. Smoking

For this cook, I used my Camp Chef Woodwind Pro set to 250°F. I smoked with a blend of cherry and hickory pellets and wood chunks. 

Place the rib tips directly on the grill grates and let them cook

raw rub tips in the grill

I spritz the tips with water if they start to look like they are drying out.

cooked rib tips in grill
Usually, I wrap my ribs around 175 °F but I like getting a nice bark and crispy edges on my rib tips so I smoke them unwrapped the entire way through.

Once they develop a nice color, at about 190°F internal temperature, I brush on a thick layer of Blues Hog bbq sauce. This is one of my favorite sauces and always makes a shiny glaze. 

If you want to make your own you could try our recipe for Homemade BBQ Sauce.

brushing bbq sauce on a rib tip in the grill

Once glazed, continue to smoke them until they reach an internal temperature of 200°F, let them cool down for a few minutes, and dig right in. 

glazed rib tips in grill
These are amazing bites of porky goodness
cooked rib tips on paper towels on a metal tray
Have some wet towels on hand for when you’ve finished these!

Need some help cooking those ribs?

smoked rib tips

Easy Smoked Rib Tips

Easy smoked rib tips, seasoned, smoked, and glazed.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 688kcal
Author: Jordan Hanger


  • 3 lbs Rib tips Trimmings from 2 pork spare ribs
  • 2 tbsp BBQ rub I used even parts of our Smoke Kitchen Pitmasters Pick and Honey Garlic rubs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup BBQ Sauce


  • Heat your smoker to 250°F.
  • Cut the rib tips into 2" portions.
  • Coat them with olive oil and season with your favorite bbq rub and let them sit for 20 minutes.
  • Place the tips directly on the grill grates. You are going to cook them until the internal temperature registers 190°F, start checking from the 1½ hour mark. Spritz them with water if they appear to be drying out.
  • When the rib tips reach an internal temperature of 190°F, brush on bbq sauce and continue smoking until they reach an internal temperature of 200°F.
  • Remove rib tips from the smoker, let them cool off for 10 minutes and enjoy.


If you would like more instruction on how to trim pork ribs to St Louis style check out our post here.
What wood should I use to smoke with? I smoked with a blend of cherry and hickory pellets and wood chunks. 


Calories: 688kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 57g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 427mg | Potassium: 64mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 88IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximation only. If you’re worried you could always add a side of kale.

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