Using the smoker grill in the summer is a festival of flavor. Combining different cuts of meat with different wood chips allows families to experience different tastes all summer long.

An easy-to-try recipe for any beginning pit master is smoked ribs.

But how do you know what ribs to pick from? According to the National Pork Board, there are five types of pork ribs to try, and what you use may differ based on what you are cooking:

Baby Back a.k.a. Loin Back a.k.a. Back Ribs

Back ribs are from the center section of the pork loin. These ribs get the name “baby” back ribs because they are smaller than spareribs.


This type of rib comes from the full flavor belly of the pig. These ribs are larger and meatier than other types of ribs.

St. Louis Style

St. Louis style ribs are square cut spareribs. These ribs are best for recipes that require fry pan browning because they are straight and flat.

Rib Tips

These are the lower portion of spare ribs that remain from St. Louis style ribs.

Country-style Ribs

These are cut where the loin meets the shoulder. These are a combination of higher fat and lean meat sold as slabs or individual servings.

To test your hand at smoking, let’s dive into this recipe courtesy of the National Pork Board, Des Moines, Iowa.

Honey BBQ Smoked Ribs with Bourbon Coleslaw

National Pork Board
This easy to make recipe just sounds complicated! Perfectly smoked pork ribs are a hit every time, pair them with a fresh, unique honey bourbon coleslaw and it's sure to be a new favorite.
5 from 1 vote
Cook Time 5 hours
Cuisine Barbeque
Servings 5
Calories 821 kcal


  • 2 lb. baby-back pork ribs
  • 3/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. black pepper for rub
  • 1 cup bbq sauce your favorite
  • 3 cups coleslaw mix
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup hot honey
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper for coleslaw
  • 1 Tbsp. bourbon


  • Prep the smoker with applewood wood chips and preheat to 200°F.
  • Prep the ribs by removing the membrane from the back of the ribs. Starting at the small end, slide a butter knife under the membrane and peel it back slightly.
  • Fold up a paper towel and grab onto the edge of the membrane and it should easily pull off the back of the ribs.
  • Prep the dry rub by combining the light brown sugar, garlic powder, black pepper, and smoked paprika in a small mixing bowl.
  • Cover each side of the ribs with yellow mustard then season with the dry rub liberally on both sides.
  • Place the ribs on the smoker and smoke for 2 hours. After two hours, baste with the BBQ sauce and close the smoker.
  • While the ribs are finishing cooking, prep the coleslaw by whisking together the Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, hot honey, salt, pepper and bourbon in a mixing bowl.
  • Add in the coleslaw mix and toss with the dressing. Cover and refrigerate.
  • After about 4-5 hours, or when the ribs hit an internal temperature of 200°F, remove the ribs from the smoker.
  • Slice into individual ribs and serve alongside the honey bourbon coleslaw.


Recipe courtesy of the National Pork Board, Des Moines, Iowa


Calories: 821kcalCarbohydrates: 58gProtein: 39gFat: 49gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 16gMonounsaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 135mgSodium: 1835mgPotassium: 884mgFiber: 6gSugar: 46gVitamin A: 1726IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 153mgIron: 4mg
Keyword barbeque, grilling recipes, smoker recipes
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