Smoked rib tips recipe featuring tender and meaty pieces of pork rubbed with spices and slow-smoked to moist chewy morsels. They're small and boney, but pack big flavor.
Being a ribs guy, I was aware of rib tips, but it wasn't until I moved to Chicago that I got to know rib tips, like really know 'em. And if you don't know them, you definitely need to know them. Northsiders in Chitown know nothing about rib tips, so you gotta go to the Southside. Lem's was my go-to spot for rib tips.
Rib tips are that humble fantastic ish. It's cheap but its damn good like most hood food. Southsiders like their ribs heavy on the sauce, but I'm a Texas cat through and through so its either no sauce or on the side.
What Are Rib Tips?
Rib tips are like pork belly but with cartilage. Because of their small size many call them riblets. They come from that shorter section of a slab of ribs that is cut-off to make a St. Louis cut which is more of a cleaner rectangular box look.
This is what you'd get if you asked the butcher for trimmed ribs. Rib tips are the bottom trimmed off parts.
It's a well-kept secret in the hood that rib tips are the most flavorful part of the rib. Because not everyone is in the loop on this, they run pretty cheap.
Smoked Rib Tips Ingredients
It's just ribs and a simple spice rub. Use your favorite rub recipe or try the simple one I made which includes: paprika, cayenne, kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, brown sugar, and cumin.
Since rib tips are fairly common in the midwest, particularly Chicago, you can find pre-cut rib tips readily available. However, if you don't have access you can easily have your butcher give you the tips or just cut them off your slab yourself.
How To Smoke Rib Tips (step by step)
Step 1: Season the meat overnight refrigerated
Step 2: Smoke the ribs low and slow on indirect heat between 225-250 degrees F for 3-4 hours
Step 3: Allow tips to rest 5 minutes and then chop into pieces
This rib tips recipe goes well with fries and slaw. Try my Belgian fries and collard greens slaw. Serve the tips over slices of white bread. Save the bread for last, as it soaks up all the fatty grease and flavor from the ribs.
Tips for Smoking Tips
- Smoke the tips intact vs cutting them first. Smoking them whole will preserve their moisture.
- To cook them Chicago style increase the temperature to 300 degrees and baste the ribs the last 30 minutes of cook with your favorite bbq sauce.
- Whenever I buy slabs of ribs, I carve them and then freeze the tips until I'm ready to cook them.
For other smoker recipes like this you might like, try these:
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- 1 pound rib tips
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tbsp kosher salt
- ½ tbsp coarse black pepper
- ½ ground cumin
- Mix rub ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
- Rub the rib slabs generously with the rub and refrigerate at least 2 hours but preferred overnight.
- Smoke ribs between 225-250 degrees F for 3-4 hours.
- Optional - Last 30 minuets of cook time baste slabs with bbq sauce
- Allow rib tips to rest 5 minutes. Chop the ribs into smaller pieces.
To cook them Chicago style increase the temperature to 300 degrees and baste the ribs the last 30 minutes of cook with your favorite bbq sauce.
Whenever I buy slabs of ribs, I carve them and then freeze the tips until I'm ready to cook them.