How to Smoke Boneless Ribs

Boneless beef ribs in a bowl.
Image Credit: Diana Taliun/iStock/Getty Images

Smoking your meat on the grill will not only give it a delicious smokey flavor but will also keep the meat tender as this method slowly cooks the meat indirectly. Regardless of whether your ribs are beef or pork, when you cook ribs on the grill, you can run the risk of overcooking them. However, smoking ribs does take significantly longer to cook thoroughly as indirectly cooking meat uses the excess heat and smoke as opposed to the direct flame.

Step 1

Prepare the ribs before smoking. If the ribs are frozen, defrost well in advance before cooking. Rinse the ribs off in cool water and either soak them in marinade or cover them in a sauce of your choosing before cooking.


Step 2

Prepare the smoker while the meat is marinating. Place some balled-up newspaper into the bottom of the charcoal chimney and fill the chimney with the lump charcoal. Light the newspaper and allow the fire to ignite all of the charcoal for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 3

Wait until the charcoal is ready and then place it into the charcoal pan in the bottom of the smoker. Place about one quart of water into the water pan and place the grate over the smoker.

Step 4

Place the meat onto the smoker and close the lid on top. Open the access door on the side of the smoker and place about six pieces of wood on top of the heated coals.


Step 5

Smoke the ribs for about two and a half to three hours, depending on the type of meat and how hot your grill is.

Step 6

Check the internal temperature of the meat to see if it's safe to eat. Beef is safe to eat at 145 F but can be cooked to a higher temperature if desired. Pork however must be cooked to at least 160 F. Remove the ribs from the smoker once done, allow them to cool and serve.


Try experimenting with different types of wood to tweak the flavor of your meat. Apple wood will give your meat a different flavor than say oak or pine.

After smoking your ribs for about an hour, you can wrap them in aluminum foil and allow them to finish cooking to make them extra tender.