How Long to Smoke Ribs at 225 and Other Tips: Get Perfect Pork Ribs Today!

smoke ribs at 225

Planning on smoking some ribs soon?

Then there’s a high chance you’ve decided to do it at 225° Fahrenheit. After all, most chefs and professional meat-smokers stand by this low temperature for smoking meat to get the best results possible. But when smoking meat at this temperature, you need to know how long it will take.

That way, you can start planning around the cooking time to ensure that the meat is ready before guests get too hungry. And in this article, we’re looking at how long to smoke ribs at 225°, so you always cook a great-tasting dish for your guests.

We also take a look at some of the factors that affect cooking time and why you should choose this temperature for smoking your meat.

Read on to learn more.

How Long Should I Smoke Ribs at 225?

If you’re smoking your ribs at 225° you can expect a longer cook time. This is because the meat will take a while to reach the right internal temperature at low heat. So, you may have to start prepping the meat the day before to ensure that it’s ready for your cook-out.

Smoking meat is a long process. Before putting the meat inside the smoker, you have to make sure that it’s properly cured, rubbed, and marinated, which is why prep is done hours or days ahead. However, when it comes to actually cooking the meat, ribs don’t take as long to cook at 225° compared to larger cuts like shoulder or brisket.

The general rule is that baby back ribs should be on the smoker for at least 5 hours at 225°. This is a great benchmark of how long your ribs will take to cook, but keep in mind that spare ribs are larger so might take an extra hour to fully cook through.

Another thing to keep in mind about cooking time is whether or not you want to wrap it. Many chefs recommend wrapping the meat when it reaches a certain temperature to speed up the cooking process, known in practice as the “Texas Crutch”.

If you’re smoking baby back ribs and plan on wrapping them, we recommend using the 2-2-1 or 3-1-1 method. For spare ribs, you’re best using the 3-2-1 method when it comes to wrapping.

With that said, there are other factors that may affect how long it takes the ribs to cook when smoking at 225°.

Factors That Affect Cooking Time

grilled pork ribs on a stone

As mentioned earlier, while 5-6 hours is a good estimate of the cooking time, there are other factors that you have to consider before putting your meat in the smoker. That way, you go into it with realistic expectations.

Type of Ribs

The first thing to consider is the type of ribs that you’re smoking. Butcher’s usually sell a variety of ribs to customers. However, spare ribs, St Louis ribs, Kansas City-style ribs, and baby back ribs are the most common ones.

Generally, spare ribs are the largest and heaviest cut you can get from the butcher. So, it will take a bit longer to cook than other cuts. However, remember that spare ribs come from the same region of the pig as bacon, so you can expect a lot of flavor from this region.

Baby-back ribs are a leaner type of meat compared to spare ribs as they are cut from higher-up. Since these ribs are leaner and lighter, they won’t take as long to cook compared to spare ribs.

St Louis ribs are basically spare ribs. However, the difference is that the breastbone and cartilage are removed. While it doesn’t make that much difference in cooking time and flavor, it makes for a much cleaner presentation.

Kansas City-style ribs are another aesthetic cut. They are spare ribs that are trimmed to look better than standard rib cuts. However, these cuts still contain the cartilage, unlike St-Louis-style ribs.

Lastly, you can also opt for rib tips, the cartilage from spare ribs. These cuts are tougher and are generally unpleasant when undercooked, so most people stick with the other types of ribs available at the local butcher’s shop.

Weight

Another thing to consider when smoking pork ribs is the weight of your ribs. While most pork ribs are of similar size and weight, you always need to check. The heavier your ribs, the longer they need to cook and vice versa.

Environment

Lastly, you need to consider the environment where you will be smoking the meat. If you live in a cold, windy, and snowy place, then these factors will affect the grill. Usually, this means that the smoker will have a harder time staying at a constant 225°. And when the smoker’s temperature dips, the meat will take much longer to cook compared to when it is under stable temperature conditions.

So, if you’re grilling outdoors, we recommend finding a spot shielded from the environment. It doesn’t have to be fully enclosed, but it’s best to have a definite barrier between the environment and the smoker to keep things at a steady temperature.

Why Go Low and Slow?

There’s a fairly large argument going on in the world of meat smoking right now. Currently, chefs are largely divided when it comes to the right temperature for smoking meat. And while this may seem like a new thing, people have been arguing about this for many years, and there is yet to be a definitive winner.

But why do so many people trust the low and slow method?

Well, to start, the longer you smoke the meat, the more flavor it absorbs. So, while it can be a huge hassle to sit down and wait for hours just for the meat to cook, it will all be worth it. Once the meat is done cooking and resting, you’ll have a signature smokey and woody flavor to remind you of why you waited so long for it to cook in the first place.

When you cook meat, the internal temperature goes up. And as the temperature rises, the protein gets denatured, and the meat becomes palatable. But since pork ribs are a generally thick cut of meat, they can take a while to cook.

If you decide to smoke your meat at a lower temperature, it gives it more time to break down the cartilage, making for softer and more tender meat. On top of that, you have much more control at lower temperatures, which gives you a huge advantage if you’re new to the world of smoking meat.

The only advantage of a higher temperature is a reduced cook time. However, many people stand by the low and slow method as it’s shown to produce much softer and tender pork ribs that will definitely leave all your guests satisfied.

How To Tell If Ribs Are Cooked

barbcue ribs being grilled

The best way to tell that it’s done is with a meat thermometer when cooking pork ribs. If you have a temperature probe, you can stick it into the thickest part of the meat to get a reading of the internal temperature. Your goal when smoking pork ribs is to reach between 190-200° before pulling it out. This is the ideal internal temperature for pork ribs.

If you don’t have a thermometer on hand, you have other choices available. For example, you can opt to use a toothpick. If you can slide the toothpick in and out of the ribs easily, that means that the ribs are tender enough for eating.

Alternatively, you can also lightly bounce the rack up and down. If you see cracks appear in the ribs, this is a sign that it’s done and ready for eating.

However, keep in mind that it’s best to invest in a quality meat thermometer if you want to be precise.

One thing to avoid is cooking meat until it falls off the bone. While this makes for a great video or photo, this is a sign that your meat is overcooked and won’t be as flavorful as properly cooked pork ribs.

Conclusion

There are many things to consider when smoking pork ribs. But before you start tweaking the rub recipe and other things, you need to make sure that you’re smoking it for the appropriate length. When smoking pork ribs at 225°, 5-6 hours is a good benchmark to follow. However, this can vary depending on a number of factors. So, for the best results, we recommend using a meat thermometer and pulling the ribs off the smoker when it reaches an internal temperature of 190-200° at its thickest point.

Norah

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