Great barbecue doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes, simple, no-wrap baby back ribs are just the way to go. And this is one of the easiest barbecue recipes you’ll see me put out there.
While wrapping ribs can increase tenderness and add extra flavor to the meat with butter, sugar, and sauces – no-wrap ribs are a great way to let the flavor of the meat and smoke shine through.
Simple No-Wrap Baby Back Ribs
This is a simple, no-fuss recipe for BBQ ribs cooked entirely on the smoker without wrapping.
If you hate ribs that are so tender the meat falls off the bone (looking at you 3-2-1), these are for you.
Because there’s no wrapping, this method takes a little longer, and you will need to use your skills to know when these ribs are done.
Ingredients you’ll need
- Baby Back Ribs – Baby back (or loin ribs) are ideal for no-wrap ribs because they’re meaty and forgiving. You can alternatively use spare ribs if you prefer. Keep in mind that they will cook a bit slower.
- Pork Barbecue Rub – I love using our Pitmaster’s Pick rub on ribs. It’s full of flavor with salt, sweetness, and a touch of heat from the Aleppo pepper.
- Spritz – optional. Apple cider vinegar and apple juice.
- Barbecue Sauce – optional, to serve.
Equipment you’ll need
- Pellet Grill or Smoker
- Wood pellets – I recommend using a pecan or oak blend for pork, but it’s a pretty forgiving meat, so any blend of wood you prefer should work great.
- Spray bottle
How to make No-Wrap Baby Back Ribs
To prep your ribs, you want to start by removing the membrane from the backside of the rack. While this is optional, leaving the membrane intact can lead to a tougher bite on your ribs.
Let the ribs rest at room temperature for 10-15 minutes to let that seasoning penetrate down into the meat.
2. Fire up the smoker
You want to preheat your smoker to 225°F.
I used my Grilla Grills Alpha Connect (also known as the Grilla OG) for this cook. This is one of my favorite smokers for cooking ribs. It has a small footprint, making it a great addition to any backyard, and it puts off a lot of smoke, which is exactly what you want when making no-wrap ribs.
I like smoking my ribs low and slow. The whole point of the recipe is to let as much smoke as possible penetrate the meat during the cooking process, so low and slow is the way to go.
Once your grill is up to temp, you can place your ribs directly on the grates and just let them smoke.
Depending on the size of your rack, your ribs should take about 4 hours to cook. A good way to help build bark and keep the outside moist is to spritz your meat during the cooking process.
I like to give my ribs a spritz every hour or so with apple cider vinegar and apple juice.
You’ll know your ribs are done when they hit 200°F internal temperature. An instant read thermometer is a great way to keep an eye on the temperature.
When your ribs are done, pull them off the smoker and let them rest for 5-10 minutes.
To serve, slice between the bones and plate them alongside pickles and your favorite barbecue sauce.
More of our great low-fuss recipes
- Juicy Smoked Flank Steak
- Smoked Pork Tenderloin with Maple Glaze
- Bacon Wrapped Hotdogs
- Buffalo Garlic Pig Wings
- Smoked Chicken Thighs
Smoked No-Wrap Baby Back Ribs
- Prep your ribs by removing the membrane and trimming off any loose meat.
- Season your ribs on all sides with the BBQ rub and let sit for about 15 minutes.
- Preheat your smoker to 225°F.
- Place your ribs on the grates and let them smoke for 4 hours or until they reach an internal temperature of 200°F. Spritz every hour if using.