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Best Guide to Smoked Rib Roast in 2023

Hey there, you carnivorous flavor-chaser! Ever drool over a smoked rib roast but think it’s the stuff of pitmaster legends? Well, wipe that drool off your face and pay attention. We’re busting myths and bringing smoked rib roast into your weekend BBQ game.

Listen, you don’t need to be a grill wizard to get that smoky, succulent, fall-off-the-bone rib roast. Heck, you don’t even need a fancy smoker. Got a basic grill? Some wood chips?

Picture this: you, yes, YOU, pulling out a smoked rib roast from your very own grill. The aroma fills the air. Friends and family “ooh” and “ahh” as you slice through the tender, juicy meat. The smoky flavor hits all the right spots. You take that first bite, and the world stands still. Yup, you did that. You turned a humble slab of rib roast into a smoky masterpiece.

Ready to be the BBQ hero of your next get-together? Roll up those sleeves and follow my foolproof guide below on mastering the smoked rib roast. Trust me, once you go smoked, you never go back. Well, unless it’s to grab another bourbon. Cheers! 🥃🍖

What is a Smoked Rib Roast?

Alright, let’s get on the same smoky page here. A smoked rib roast is essentially a chunk of rib meat—bones and all—that’s been slow-cooked to juicy perfection in a smoker or grill set up for smoking. This ain’t your run-of-the-mill oven roast, folks. We’re talking about meat infused with a woody, smoky aroma that gets into your soul and makes you question every life choice that led you to eat anything else. It’s the epitome of BBQ excellence, the pinnacle of pitmaster prowess. And guess what? You’re about to climb that smoky mountain yourself.

Reasons You Need to Know How to Smoke a Rib Roast

Listen up, BBQ enthusiasts and flavor aficionados! Knowing how to smoke a rib roast is like having the golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s meat factory. But seriously, if you’re aiming to impress, whether it’s the in-laws or just your Instagram followers, mastering this skill is your fast pass to BBQ fame.

  • Flavor Explosion: Smoking infuses the meat with a depth of flavor that grilling or roasting just can’t match.
  • Texture Like No Other: The slow-cook smoking process makes the rib roast juicy and tender, not to mention the glorious crust you get on the outside.
  • Versatility: Once you know how to smoke a rib roast, you can apply similar techniques to other meats. It’s like the Swiss Army knife of BBQ skills.
  • The Wow Factor: Let’s face it, there’s something visually and aromatically spectacular about pulling a perfectly smoked rib roast off the grill. You won’t just feed stomachs; you’ll feed souls.
  • Pairs Perfectly with Bourbon: Yep, a smoky rib roast and a glass of fine bourbon is a match made in culinary heaven. Talk about upping your hosting game.
Smoke a Rib Roast
Credits to Salt Pepper Skillet

Step-by-Step Instructions to Smoke a Killer Rib Roast

Alright, it’s game time! You’ve got your tools and ingredients, so let’s make some BBQ magic happen. The steps ahead are fine-tuned to guarantee you maximum flavor, juicy tenderness, and a smoky aroma that might just make your neighbors “randomly” drop by. Ready to earn your meat-smoking stripes? Let’s do it!

What You’ll Need for Smokin’ Your Rib Roast

Alright, meat-lovers, let’s get down to brass tacks—or should I say, smoking racks. Here’s what you’ll need to make sure your rib roast is more Instagram-worthy than a hipster’s flat white.


  • Rib Roast: Get a good quality one, folks. You can’t turn bad meat into a good meal.
  • Your Go-To BBQ Rub: Whether it’s store-bought or your secret recipe, get it ready.
  • Salt & Pepper: The dynamic duo of the culinary world.
  • Garlic Powder: Because garlic makes everything better.
  • Olive Oil: A little coat helps the seasoning stick.
  • Mop Sauce or Marinade: Keep that meat moist and flavorful.


  • Smoker or Charcoal Grill: A dedicated smoker is awesome, but a charcoal grill can be rigged up as a smoker too. No excuses here, folks.
  • Wood Chips: Hickory, applewood, or mesquite. Choose your fighter.
  • Charcoal: You gotta fuel the fire to fuel your soul.
  • Meat Thermometer: Trust me, “looks done” isn’t a measurement.
  • Aluminum Foil: You’ll need this for wrapping the meat like a Christmas present.
  • Tongs: Unless you’ve got asbestos hands, these are non-negotiable.
  • Basting Brush: For applying your marinade or mop sauce.
  • Cutting Board: Something sturdy for carving your masterpiece.
  • Sharp Knife: You don’t wanna hack through that beautiful roast, do you?

The Pre-Rub Rubdown

Dry off your rib roast with paper towels and give it a good rub with olive oil.

The Pre-Rub Rubdown
Credits to Key To My Lime

Season Like You Mean It

Generously apply your BBQ rub, salt, pepper, and garlic powder all over the roast.

Season Like You Mean It
Credits to Martha Stewart

Smoke Signals

Fire up your smoker or charcoal grill and bring it to a low and slow temperature, around 225°F (107°C).

Smoke Signals
Credits to ThermoWorks Blog

Wood Chip Ceremony

Once the smoker is ready, toss in your chosen wood chips.

Wood Chip Ceremony
Credits to iStock

Meat Meet Heat

Place the rib roast on the smoker’s rack, bone side down. Close that lid.

The Waiting Game

Smoke the meat until it reaches an internal temperature of about 120°F (49°C). This is where your meat thermometer and bourbon come in handy.

The Waiting Game
Credits to Carnivore Style

Mop It Like It’s Hot

Baste the roast with your mop sauce or marinade every hour to keep it juicy.

Mop It Like It's Hot
Credits to The Spruce Eats

The Final Countdown

Once your meat hits that 120°F mark, wrap it in aluminum foil and continue smoking until it reaches an internal temperature of 135°F (57°C) for medium-rare.

The Final Countdown
Credits to Food Fire Friends

Rest for the Wicked

Remove the roast from the smoker and let it rest for about 20 minutes.

Rest for the Wicked
Credits to The Spruce Eats

The Grand Unveiling

Unwrap your meaty masterpiece and slice against the grain for maximum tenderness.

The Grand Unveiling
Credits to Food & Wine

Key Considerations For Successfully Smoking a Rib Roast

Alright, quick timeout for some pro tips that didn’t make it into the main event but are still game-changers for your smoked rib roast journey.

  • The Meat Matters: Look, if you’re going to invest hours in smoking, spend a few extra bucks on quality meat. Look for a rib roast that’s well-marbled. That marbling melts during cooking and injects your meat with natural juiciness and flavor. Prime or Choice grade is where it’s at, trust me.
  • Temperature Control: The temp can make or break your smoking game. Too high, and you’ll dry out the meat; too low, and you’re looking at an all-nighter. If you’re using a charcoal grill, you can control the heat by adjusting the air vents. If your smoker has a water pan, use it; it helps regulate the temp and adds moisture.
  • Patience, Young Grasshopper: Good things, especially smoked rib roasts, come to those who wait. So resist the urge to keep peeking and lifting that smoker lid. Every time you do, you let out heat and smoke, both of which you want trapped in there with your meat as much as possible.
Successfully Smoking a Rib Roast
Credits to

Taking it to the Next Level: How to Elevate Your Smoked Rib Roast Game

So you’ve nailed the basics and you’re ready to shoot for the BBQ stratosphere? My, my, someone’s aiming to be the talk of the tailgate. Here are a few ways to crank it up to 11:

Experiment with Wood

Who says you’ve gotta stick to just one type of wood chip? Get wild and mix ‘n match different wood flavors. Applewood for a hint of sweetness combined with mesquite for that strong, earthy profile? Sounds like a smoky symphony to me.

Experiment with Wood
Credits to

Custom Rubs and Sauces

If you’ve been using store-bought rubs and sauces, try creating your own blend. Infuse it with coffee for a smoky, caffeinated kick or add a splash of bourbon to that sauce for an extra layer of complexity and a nice little nod to your favorite adult beverage.

Custom Rubs and Sauces
Credits to

Go Gourmet with Sides

A great rib roast deserves equally impressive sides. How about smoking some vegetables alongside your meat? Or pair your roast with a coffee-infused BBQ sauce and a bourbon-based cocktail to create the ultimate trifecta of flavor.

The Best Sauce Pairings for Your Smoked Rib Roast

Alright, you’ve smoked that rib roast like a champ, and now it’s time to drizzle, dunk, or downright slather that beauty in some sauce. But don’t just reach for any ol’ bottle—here are the best sauce pairings to take your smoked rib roast to the next stratosphere of deliciousness:

  • Classic BBQ Sauce: You can’t go wrong with a timeless, tangy, tomato-based BBQ sauce. It’s the little black dress of meat dressings, never out of place.
  • Bourbon-Infused BBQ Sauce: We’re talking about a smoked rib roast here; why not make sure the sauce gets in on the bourbon action too?
  • Coffee Molasses Sauce: A sauce that combines the deep richness of coffee and molasses can complement the smoky, meaty flavors in a way that’s gotta be tasted to be believed.
  • Chimichurri: This Argentinian classic with parsley, garlic, and vinegar brings a fresh, herby contrast to the heavy, smoky meat.
  • Creamy Horseradish Sauce: The zing from the horseradish works like a charm to cut through the richness of the meat. It’s like a splash of cold water for your tastebuds.
  • Spicy Mustard Sauce: If you like a bit of kick, a mustard sauce with a touch of heat can be just the thing to liven up your smoked rib roast.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar Sauce: A little tartness can go a long way, balancing out the smoky, fatty richness of the roast.
Best Sauce Pairings for Your Smoked Rib Roast
Credits to Depositphotos

Alternatives to Smoking a Rib Roast

Hey, maybe you don’t have a smoker or the time to tend the flames. No judgment here. You can still rock a mean rib roast with a couple of alternative methods.

Oven Roasting

Season that bad boy as you would for smoking and then slow-roast it in the oven at a low temperature, around 275°F (135°C). You won’t get the smoky undertones, but you’ll still have a juicy, flavorful roast. Maybe throw in some liquid smoke or smoky spices like smoked paprika to get a hint of that outdoor vibe.

Oven Roasting
Credits to ThermoWorks Blog


If you’re a techy food nerd and you’ve got a sous-vide machine, this method is for you. Vacuum-seal your seasoned rib roast and cook it in a water bath to your desired temp. Then, sear it on a blazing hot grill or skillet to get that crust. Pair it with a smoky bourbon sauce, and you’ve got something pretty darn delicious.

Credits to Sous Vide Ways

Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot

Perfect for the impatient among us. Season and brown the rib roast, then pressure cook it with some beef broth and spices. It won’t be smoky, but it’ll be tender and tasty in a fraction of the time.

Wrapping Up

Alright, pitmasters-in-training, that’s the 411 on smoking a rib roast that’ll have your friends and family worshipping at the altar of your grill. We’ve covered the basics, tossed in some pro tips, and even offered you a lifeline with some alternative methods. Whether you go the traditional smoking route or venture into oven-roasting, sous-vide, or Instant Pot territory, you’re set up for meaty success.

Why listen to me? Well, I’ve spent years geeking out over BBQ, bourbon, and all things culinary. I’ve burned, basted, and bourbon-ed my way through enough roasts to know what makes ’em sing. Plus, I’m the kinda guy who believes that every good BBQ deserves a great bourbon and an even better coffee the morning after. So go ahead, give it a shot, and soon you’ll be the one doling out BBQ advice over a glass of fine bourbon. 🍖🔥🥃


Disclosure: Our blog contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

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