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"Take Some, Leave Some" Smoked Baby Back Jerk Ribs

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Ribs are the quintessential summer BBQ food. But if you're looking for something a little different than the usual, dry jerk ribs are the way to go. These smoked bbq ribs feature a homemade dry rub that is full of flavor. And best of all, they're easy to make.

Just mix together the dry rub ingredients and rub them onto the ribs. Then smoke the ribs using the 3-2-1 method until they're bone tender and juicy.

The result is delicious tender smoked baby back jerk ribs with that Caribbean island flavor from dry jerk rub seasoning.

What Is A Dry Rub

Most rib recipes like smoked baby back ribs or spare ribs include a sauce or heavy wet rubs basted on entire racks of ribs. But for me, some of the most delicious ribs are dry rub ribs. This is where you take a dry rub and coat the ribs with it.

Dry rubs are just a blend of different dry spices combined to create a unique flavoring to different meats including pork ribs.

You can buy pre-made spice blends or make your own dry rub with your favorite mix of spices. I have several different homemade spice mix versions that include spices like black pepper, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, dry mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, etc. that I create to add personality and spins to different rib recipes.

For this recipe, I used a homemade Jamaican jerk dry seasoning mix.

4 ribs on a white plate topped with dry spices


Though I'm still partial to spareribs, over the years I've grown to appreciate baby backs. The great thing about baby backs is the flexibility they provide as far as different flavor profiles you can create. With plenty of Caribbean spices on hand, jerk baby back ribs were a no-brainer. Just don't be greedy, take a few for yourself, but  leave some for others.

Jerk Baby Back Ingredients

Ribs (Baby Back or St. Louis cut Spare ribs) and jerk spice are the only ingredients needed! Use this homemade jerk seasoning mix or your favorite store-bought.

How To Make Jerk Ribs (Step by Step)

Step 1: Mix the dry spices together in a small bowl. Rub the slab of ribs generously with dry jerk spice rub and marinate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight

Step 2: Place the bone side of the ribs down in your smoker. Smoke the ribs on indirect heat between 225-250 degrees for 3 hours

Step 3: Wrap the rib racks in butcher paper and smoke for another 2 hours

Step 4: Brush Jerk BBQ Sauce or your favorite barbecue sauce on the ribs and smoke for 1 hour

Step 5: Remove and sprinkle with the jerk spice rub

jerk ribs on a cutting board

Tips and Considerations For Smoking Ribs With A Dry Rub Recipe

Rub recipes should fit your taste preferences. You can adjust the amounts of each spice to suit your taste.

For the most flavorful ribs I like to let the ribs sit in the fridge for at least an hour after coating them with the dry rub. This allows the spices to penetrate the meat.

Season both sides of the rib rack generously with the jerk seasoning.

Use a good fruit wood like apple or cherry wood chunks for more smoky flavor

To make the best dry rub you'll want to strive for perfect balance meaning different spices should complement each other. Balance bitter with sweet or earthy with pungent....

Most 3-2-1 methods call for wrapping the ribs with aluminum foil, but I prefer butcher paper instead to ensure the best results

Serving Suggestions

Enjoy your ribs with some starchy fries and a briny slaw to break up the fatty ribs. Pair the ribs with one of these dishes:

Collard Greens Slaw

Duck Fat Fries

Purple Potato Fries

Crispy Okra Fries

Check out my full list of 27 of the best bbq sides for a more comprehensive list of options.

Smoked Ribs Frequently Asked Questions?

Which Are Better - Baby Backs vs. Spareribs?

Baby backs and spareribs are two different cuts. Spareribs are meaty and cut from the belly so there is also more fat. Fat equals flavor, so you already know why spareribs are preferred in Texas. Back ribs are the upper ribs cut from where the ribs meet the spine, hence are leaner.

Baby backs are also heavily marketed, which has increased demand and thus price. Despite the differences in cuts, I cook them pretty much the same. The only difference is cooking time, where the larger, fatty and tougher spareribs take longer to cook.

Should You Remove the Membrane From the Ribs?

Whether baby back or sparerib, each rack holds a shiny thin membrane that covers the bones. People are split on whether to remove it or not. Most restaurants leave the membrane on primarily for efficiency as the taste difference isn't noticeable enough to most to take the extra step.

I actually prefer to remove the membrane, but don't always do it. Though not a big flavor variable it does make the ribs somewhat chewy. It's not particularly difficult to remove the membrane.

To remove, simply take the flat end of a spoon and insert it between the bone and membrane in the middle of the rack of ribs, use your fingers to separate the membrane slightly, then grasp the membrane with a paper towel and pull the rest of the membrane from the rib bones.

Do you marinate baby back ribs?

Once the membrane has been removed, I layer on a heavy dose of dry rub seasoning. For this recipe, I use a jerk seasoning rub. I'm not one to marinade ribs, as I find smoke and dry rub are all the flavor needed. 

4 ribs on a white plate topped with dry spices

Should my ribs be fall off the bone?

One of my pet peeves is hearing someone brag about fall off the bone ribs. It's another marketing ploy and annoying and misinformed as hell. In my not humble opinion, properly cooked ribs do not fall off the damn bone.

The only ribs that do are either boiled, steamed, or overcooked. The sure sign is mushy ribs. If you can eat ribs without teeth, your ribs are mushy AF! Properly cooked ribs will pull easily from the bone but you need teeth. There should be some tug, resilience, or chew.

What Kind of Wood Is Best For Smoking Ribs?

I prefer a fruitwood like apple or a hardwood like oak for these pork ribs. Whether you have cherry, apple, pear, etc. go with what is available to you. These are also good with beef ribs. Just don't use mesquite as that super strong flavor will overpower everything else. Checkout this guide for pairing wood with smoked ribs for more detailed breakdown.

For similar recipes you might like, try these:

African Spiced Spareribs

Air Fryer Pork Ribs

Lamb Ribs with Fennel Rub

Oven-Baked Baby Back Ribs

Smoked Trout

Dry Rubbed Ribs

Smoked Rack of Lamb

Sous Vide Smoked Brisket

Smoked Whole Cauliflower

Smoked Butternut Squash 

Smoked Cabbage Wedges

Smoked Pork Chops

Grilled Beef Suya Skewers

Smoked Carrots

Grilled BLT

Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends

Smoked Jerk Oxtails

Smoked Jerk Chicken

Smoked Whole Cauliflower

3-2-1 Smoked Spareribs

Making these baby back jerk ribs

This dry rub ribs recipe is the perfect way to show off your grilling skills this summer. The spices in the BBQ spice rub give the ribs a delicious flavor that will have everyone asking for seconds. So fire up the grill and get ready to impress your friends and family with these succulent ribs.

If you make this jerk ribs recipe, please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.

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4 ribs on a white plate topped with dry spices

Baby Back Jerk Ribs

Tender smoked baby back ribs with that Caribbean island flavor from dry jerk rub seasoning.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: BBQ
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 762kcal
Author: Marwin Brown



  • Remove the membrane from the bone side of ribs. Clean and dry the ribs. Season liberally with the spice rub, seal in ziplock back and refrigerate over night.
  • Prepare smoker for indirect heat using your choice of wood chunks (oak, apple, hickory, etc.)
  • Smoke bone side down or upright if you have rib racks maintaining temperatures between 225-250 degrees for 3 hours.
  • Remove and let cool. Spray ribs with apple or orange juice and sprinkle reserved spice mix on the ribs.


YouTube video


Calories: 762kcal | Carbohydrates: 0g | Protein: 64g | Fat: 55g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 234mg | Sodium: 295mg | Potassium: 840mg | Sugar: 0g | Vitamin A: 75IU | Calcium: 105mg | Iron: 2.6mg
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