How To Smoke Pork Ribs In 4 Hours?

Smoking pork ribs is a delightful way to achieve tender, flavorful meat. Traditionally, smoking can take a considerable amount of time, often a whole day.

However, if you’re short on time but still crave that smoky goodness, it’s possible to smoke pork ribs in just 4 hours. This quick-smoking method focuses on delivering delicious ribs without the extended cooking time. Here’s how to do it.

Understanding Quick-Smoking

Quick-smoking is about finding the balance between time, temperature, and flavor. It involves cooking the ribs at a higher temperature than traditional smoking while still infusing them with smoky flavor.

Selecting the Ribs

Choose baby back ribs for quick-smoking. They are smaller and more tender than spare ribs, making them ideal for a shorter cooking time.

Necessary Tools and Ingredients

Pork ribs (baby back)

Your favorite BBQ rub

Wood chips (hickory, applewood, or your choice)

Aluminum foil

Meat thermometer

A grill or smoker

Preparation Steps

1. Preparing the Ribs

Remove the Membrane: Start by removing the membrane from the back of the ribs for better flavor absorption and tenderness.

Apply the Rub: Coat the ribs evenly with your chosen rub. Let them sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before smoking.

2. Prepping the Smoker or Grill

Preheat: Get your smoker or grill up to a higher smoking temperature of around 275°F to 300°F.

Wood Chips: Add your chosen wood chips to the smoker box or directly to the coals if using a grill.

Smoking Process

1. The First 2 Hours

Place the ribs on the smoker or grill, meat-side up.

Maintain a consistent temperature between 275°F and 300°F.

Let the ribs smoke for 2 hours without opening the lid too often.

2. Wrapping the Ribs

After 2 hours, remove the ribs from the grill.

Wrap them tightly in aluminum foil. Before sealing, add a bit of liquid (like apple cider vinegar or beer) for moisture.

Return the wrapped ribs to the smoker or grill.

3. The Next 1 Hour

Continue cooking the wrapped ribs for another hour at the same temperature.

4. Final Hour – Unwrapping and Finishing

Carefully unwrap the ribs.

If you prefer a saucy finish, now’s the time to brush them with BBQ sauce.

Place them back on the grill or smoker, unwrapped, for the final hour.

Tips for Perfectly Smoked Ribs in 4 Hours

Rib Selection: Opt for baby back ribs as they cook faster and are more tender.

Temperature Consistency: Keep your smoker or grill at a steady temperature.

Don’t Overdo the Smoke: Since the cooking time is shorter, be mindful of the amount of wood chips you use. Too much smoke can overpower the ribs.

Check for Doneness: The ribs are done when they reach an internal temperature of around 145°F to 165°F. They should have a slight bend when lifted but not fall apart.


Smoking pork ribs in 4 hours is a great alternative when you’re pressed for time. This method offers a practical way to enjoy smoked ribs without committing to an all-day cook. By following these steps and keeping an eye on temperature and time, you can serve up delicious, tender, and flavorful ribs in a fraction of the usual smoking time. Whether for a spontaneous weekend BBQ or a quick dinner, this 4-hour smoking method is sure to impress.