Go Back Email Link
baby back ribs smoking on a pellet grill

Traeger Baby Back Ribs

Learn step by step how to smoke perfect baby back ribs on a Traeger pellet grill using one of our favorite homemade rubs. We cover how to prep, season, cook, and sauce your baby backs using the 3 2 1 Method used widely in BBQ competitions
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 6 hrs
Total Time 6 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Australian, barbecue, BBQ
Servings 4 People
Calories 700 kcal


  • Traeger Pellet Grill
  • Wood Pellets (preferably fruitwood or oak)
  • Empty Spray Bottle
  • Rib Rack (optional)
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Heat Resistant BBQ Gloves
  • Basting brush
  • Meat Slicing Knife


  • 2 Racks Baby Back Ribs
  • 2 Tbsp Yellow Mustard
  • 1 cup Your Favorite BBQ Sauce such as Blues Hog


  • 1 cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • ½ cup Paprika
  • 2 Tbsp Course Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Kosher Salt (or 1/2 Tbsp Table Salt)
  • 2 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Granulated Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Onion Powder
  • 2 Tsp Cayenne Powder (optional for heat)


  • ½ cup Apple Juice
  • ¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar

Wrapping Seasonings (optional)

  • 1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 2 drizzles Honey
  • 2 drizzles Parkay Squeeze butter
  • 2 drizzles Tiger Sauce (optional for heat)


  • Start up the Traeger pellet grill, add your chosen pellets to the hopper, and set the temperature to 250°F
    traeger pellet grill set to 250 degrees

Prepare the Ribs and Spritz

  • Remove the membrane from the back each rack of baby back ribs using a knife to get it started in one corner, then grabbing on with a paper towel and pulling towards the opposite corner.
    removing the membrane form the back of baby back ribs with a paper towel
  • Apply a thin layer of yellow mustard to the front and backs of each rack of ribs and rub to coat entirely.
  • Use your favorite BBQ rub or mix the rub ingredients listed above together in a bowl or shaker.
    mixing the rub ingredients for traeger smoked baby back ribs
  • Apply a generous amount of rub to the fronts and backs of each slab of baby back ribs. Its ok to leave some rub leftover to apply more throughout the cook if needed.
    applying the rub to two slabs of baby back ribs before cooking
  • Let the rub set on the ribs at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes before putting them on the Traeger.
  • While the rub is setting, mix the apple juice and apple cider vinegar together in a spray bottle.

3 - Smoke the Ribs

  • Once the Traeger is making smoke and up to 250°F, place the ribs on the grill with the thickest sides to the right (the hotter end of the grill). Use a rib rack if preparing more than 4 racks of baby back ribs at once.
    baby back ribs just placed on a traeger grill
  • Close the lid and let the ribs cook for about 90 minutes. You can spritz gently as necessary to keep the meat moist if it begins to look dry.
  • After 90 minutes rotate the ribs if one side appears darker than the other and begin checking them about every 15-20 minutes.
  • While they are smoking, you can prepare your foil and wrapping ingedients.

2 - Wrap the Ribs

  • Lay out 2 long pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil on top of each other on the counter, long enough to double wrap the rack of ribs front and back with the two pieces. Repeat with the other rack.
  • Spread ½ cup of brown sugar on each set of aluminum foil, then drizzle some honey, parkay squeeze butter, and Tiger Sauce on each. (this is optional)
    drizzling more honey on baby back ribs before wrapping in foil
  • Once the ribs are a nice dark amber color and especially if you begin to see any very dark burning on the bones or ends, usually around the 2.5 hour mark, remove them from the grill using tongs or heat resistant gloves.
    baby back ribs smoking on a traeger
  • Place the baby back ribs face down into each pile of aluminum foil and ingredients.
    placing a slab of baby back ribs in aluminum foil to wrap for the traeger
  • If you would rather not use the wrapping ingredients listed above, place the ribs in the foil face up and add a small amount of apple juice, soda, or beer to the aluminum foil to add some moisture.
    drizzling honey on baby back ribs before wrapping in foil
  • Wrap the ribs tightly in the double layer of aluminum foil and place back on the Traeger and continue to cook at 250°F.
    wrapping baby back ribs in foil for traeger

1 - Firm and Sauce the Ribs

  • Begin checking the ribs after about 45-60 minutes and every 15 minutes after that. Once you see the meat pulling away from the ends of bones and tenderizing, you can take them out of the foil. This may only take 1 to 1.5 hours rather than 2.
    traeger baby back ribs finishing in the foil
  • Carefully remove the ribs form the foil and save the juices in the foil to add to your sauce later. Place the ribs back on the Traeger, face up, and cook for about 30 more minutes at 250°F before saucing.
    taking baby back ribs out of the foil and placing back on the foil
  • While the ribs are cooking, prepare your sauce by mixing you favorite sauce(s) together with some of the juices retained from the foil. Mix in a cup or bowl and set aside.
  • After the baby backs have been back on the Traeger unwrapped for about 30 minutes and firmed back up a little, gently brush the sauce on with a basting brush.
    brushing bbq sauce on baby back ribs on a traeger pellet grill
  • Close the lid and continue cooking for another 30 minutes to let the sauce thicken and set on the meat.

Carving and Serving

  • Remove the ribs from the Traeger and let them rest for about 15 minutes.
    2 finished racks of baby back ribs cooked on a traeger pellet grill
  • Turn the ribs upright on their edge so that you can more easily see the ribs running along the bottom up and own.
  • Using a good meat slicing knife cut from top to bottom between the bones in the center of the racks to serve a half rack to each person. Or you cna cut them into 2-3 rib portions of serving ona. platter to a larger crowd.
    carving a slab of baby back ribs
  • include some sauce on the side for guests to add extra if they desire and enjoy!



Video Courtesy of J&K BBQ
Keyword 3 2 1 Method, baby back ribs, barbecue, bbq, BBQ Rub, Grilling, pellet grill, pork, pork ribs, ribs, smoked, Smoking, traeger