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putting the ribs back in the smoker

Perfect Temp Smoked Baby Back Ribs: A Thermal Exploration


From Jeff Phillips at


  • 1 rack, baby back ribs
  • 34 Tbsp mustard
  • Your favorite BBQ rub, as needed
  • Your favorite BBQ sauce, optional

Special equipment: two large sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil.

baby back ribs ready to prepare and cook


  • Preheat your smoker to 220°-240°F (104°-116°C).
  • Peel the membrane from the back of the rack of ribs. This facilitates bark production on the underside of the ribs, but is ultimately optional. (Or, you can ask your butcher to remove it for you.)
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  • Slather the ribs in mustard. (Jeff Phillips says this step is optional…I highly recommend it!)
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  • Apply rub generously to the ribs, pressing to help it adhere to the mustard.
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  • Place ribs in the smoker. Insert a mini needle-probe into the ribs. Do this between the bones if the ribs have less meat or in the thickest part of the meat if they are very meaty. The needle probe is thin enough to fit into the rib meat without touching bone.
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  • Set up your ThermaQ Blue to monitor the temperature.

The ThermaQ Blue set up with the app

  • Smoke the ribs for 3 hours for a competition-style finish, 2 hours for fall-off-the-bone ribs.
  • When the time has expired, wrap the ribs well in aluminum foil. The temp should be somewhere near the 170°F mark. 
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  • Return the baby back ribs to the smoker. Re-insert the probe.
  • Smoke for 1 hour (competition) or 2 hours (fall-off).During this time, see that the ribs reach the target temp of 190°-205°F (88°-96°C). (set the high-temp alarm on the ThermaQ Blue to let you know when you get there.)

Re-inserting the probe through the foil

  • Remove the ribs-package from heat and unwrap.
  • If you want glazed, sticky ribs, now is the time to brush them with BBQ sauce. If you want to keep them “dry” just go on from here. 
Glazing ribs with sauce
Adding a sauce is optional. We cooked some with and some without.
  • Put the ribs back in the smoker. Replace the probe.
  • Allow the ribs to cook for 1 final hour. You will see the temp drop during this time, then rise again somewhat.
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  • Remove the ribs from heat. Let cool enough to handle.
  • Cut the ribs up and enjoy!
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