Can you put ribs on smoker then finish in oven?

Do you dream of sinking your teeth into fall-off-the-bone tender ribs, but can’t afford to spend all day tending to your smoker? Fear not, because we’ve got a solution: finishing your smoky ribs in the oven.

As a barbecue enthusiast, smoking ribs is a time-honored tradition that yields a mouthwatering, smoky flavor with a crispy bark. But sometimes, weather conditions can be less than ideal and staying outside for hours on end isn’t an option. That’s where the oven finish comes in handy – it allows you to achieve that same delicious smoky flavor in a more time-efficient way.

In this blog post, we’ll delve deep into the question of whether you can put ribs on a smoker and then finish them in the oven. We’ll explore the pros and cons of this method, including how it affects flavor and texture. Plus, we’ll provide tips on properly wrapping and transferring your ribs to ensure they retain their moisture and flavor during the oven finish.

So whether you’re an experienced pitmaster or just starting out on your barbecue journey, grab yourself a cold drink and read on to discover everything you need to know about adding an oven finish to your smoked ribs.

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The Benefits of Finishing Ribs in the Oven After Smoking Them

Look no further than finishing your ribs in the oven after smoking them.

One of the primary benefits of finishing ribs in the oven after smoking them is that it ensures they are fully cooked and tender. While smoking ribs adds flavor and tenderness, it can be challenging to ensure they are fully cooked through using this method alone. But by wrapping them tightly in foil and finishing them in the oven, you can guarantee that they reach the appropriate internal temperature and are fully cooked without risking overcooking them on the smoker.

But that’s not all – finishing ribs in the oven also allows you to control the level of browning and caramelization on the outside of the ribs. Smoking ribs can create a beautiful crust on the outside, but it can also make them too dark and charred. Finishing them in the oven gives you complete control over how much browning and caramelization occurs, resulting in a more polished final product.

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Not to mention, finishing ribs in the oven can save you precious time and effort. Smoking ribs is a lengthy process that can take several hours, but by finishing them in the oven, you can shorten the overall cooking time without sacrificing flavor or tenderness. By wrapping them in foil with some liquid like apple juice or beer, you can lock in moisture and flavor while they finish cooking in the oven.

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If you’re new to this technique, here are a few tips to keep in mind. First, don’t overcook your ribs – this can result in tough and dry meat. Use a meat thermometer to ensure they’re cooked to around 190°F. And be careful not to add too much liquid to the foil as it may cause the ribs to boil instead of bake.

Step-by-Step Guide to Finishing Ribs in the Oven After Smoking Them

Finishing ribs in the oven after smoking them is a popular technique that can make your ribs just as delicious. As an expert in this topic, I’m here to guide you step-by-step on how to achieve perfectly cooked ribs that will leave your taste buds craving more.

To begin, prepare your ribs for smoking by seasoning them with your preferred dry rub or marinade and allowing them to sit for at least 30 minutes. Then, light up your smoker and set it to 225°F. Smoke the ribs for 2-3 hours, keeping an eye on the temperature and adjusting it as needed to ensure even cooking.

The next step is to transfer your ribs to the oven. Preheat your oven to 325°F and wrap each rack of ribs tightly in aluminum foil. This will help keep the meat moist and tender as it finishes cooking in the oven. Place the wrapped ribs in a baking dish or on a baking sheet and pop them into the oven.

Now it’s time to let the oven do its magic. Cook for an additional 2-3 hours until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 185-190°F. This slow cooking process allows the flavors to develop, resulting in tender and juicy ribs with a crispy exterior.

Once fully cooked, remove the ribs from the oven and let them rest for about 10 minutes before unwrapping them. Giving them time to rest helps redistribute the juices throughout the meat, ensuring that your ribs are tender and juicy.

Finishing ribs in the oven after smoking them is a great way to achieve that smoky flavor while having control over browning and caramelization. Plus, it saves you time and effort without sacrificing taste. To summarize, here are some key takeaways:

  • Season your ribs with your preferred dry rub or marinade and allow them to sit for at least 30 minutes before smoking.
  • Smoke the ribs for 2-3 hours at 225°F, making sure to monitor the temperature and adjust it as needed.
  • Transfer the ribs to the oven by wrapping them in aluminum foil and cooking them at 325°F for an additional 2-3 hours.
  • Let the ribs rest for 10 minutes before unwrapping them to ensure they are tender and juicy.

Tips for Ensuring Perfectly Cooked Ribs Every Time

We have compiled some tips and tricks for ensuring perfectly cooked ribs every time, whether you use a smoker or an oven. Here are five sub-sections to help you achieve delicious, tender ribs:

Smoke It First, Oven It Second

Smoking your ribs first helps infuse them with a smoky flavor and gives them a nice texture. The slow cooking process also helps break down the tough connective tissues in the meat. Then, finish them off in the oven to ensure they are fully cooked and tender. This also helps to caramelize any sauce or seasoning that has been added to the ribs. Using this two-step method can make it easier to achieve perfectly cooked ribs every time.

Choose the Right Cut of Meat

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Picking the right cut of meat is important when it comes to cooking ribs. Spare ribs are a popular choice for smoking and finishing in the oven as they have a higher fat content which helps keep them moist during the cooking process. Make sure to select fresh, high-quality meat for optimal results.

Remove the Membrane

Before cooking the ribs, it’s essential to remove the membrane from the back of the rack. This can be done easily by inserting a butter knife under the membrane and then using a paper towel to grip and pull it off. Removing the membrane allows for more even cooking and better seasoning absorption.

Keep It Simple with Seasoning

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When it comes to seasoning, it’s best to keep it simple with a dry rub of salt, pepper, and any other desired spices. It’s crucial to allow the rub to sit on the ribs for at least an hour before cooking to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat fully. This enhances the taste of your ribs and is one of the key secrets to perfectly cooked ribs.

Use a Meat Thermometer

To ensure your ribs are cooked to perfection and safe to eat, use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature has reached 165°F. This is a crucial step in ensuring your ribs are fully cooked, safe to eat, and tender.

Pros and Cons of Finishing Ribs in the Oven After Smoking Them

You’ve probably heard of the smoking method for imparting that mouthwatering smoky flavor. But have you ever considered finishing your ribs in the oven? It’s a popular technique that offers both pros and cons, so let’s dive into the details.

On the pro side, finishing ribs in the oven has a lot going for it. For one thing, it’s an excellent way to maintain a consistent temperature, ensuring that your ribs cook evenly and come out perfectly tender every time. Plus, if you’re pressed for time or just don’t feel like tending to your smoker for hours on end, the oven can be a convenient alternative. And let’s not forget about cleanup – while smokers can be notoriously messy, the oven is easy to clean and maintain.

However, there are some potential downsides to consider as well. The first issue is that finishing ribs in the oven won’t give you quite as much smoky flavor as cooking them entirely on a smoker. This could be a deal-breaker for some barbecue enthusiasts who crave that classic taste. Additionally, ovens tend to be drier than smokers which means there’s a risk of your ribs drying out if you’re not careful. To prevent this from happening, you may need to baste your ribs with sauce or wrap them in foil.

Another disadvantage of using the oven is that it won’t result in the same bark formation as smoking would. The bark is the flavorful crust that forms on the outside of the meat, and it requires exposure to smoke and heat over a long period of time. Without this exposure, your ribs may lack that signature texture and flavor.

Different Ways You Can Add Flavor to Your Smoked Ribs

Smoked ribs are a fan favorite, and adding flavor can take them to the next level. Luckily, there are many different ways to add taste to your smoked ribs, and we’ve got five great methods for you to try out.

Dry Rubs

One of the most popular ways to add flavor is by using dry rubs. A dry rub is a mixture of spices and herbs that you rub onto the surface of the meat before smoking. This creates a delicious crust on the ribs, which enhances the overall taste of the meat. You can customize your dry rub by adding ingredients like brown sugar, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and more. The possibilities are endless.


Another way to add flavor is by using marinades. A marinade is a liquid mixture that you soak the meat in before smoking. The acidic ingredients in marinades like vinegar or lemon juice help to tenderize the meat while also infusing it with flavor. You can experiment with different ingredients to create your own marinade recipe that suits your taste buds.

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Smoke Wood

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The type of wood you use in your smoker can also impact the flavor of your smoked ribs. Different types of wood impart various flavors into the meat. For example, hickory wood chips give a strong smoky flavor while fruit woods like apple and cherry bring a milder, sweeter taste. Using different types of wood can create new and exciting flavors for your smoked ribs.


Adding sauce is another great way to enhance the flavor of your smoked ribs. BBQ sauce is a classic choice for smoked ribs, but you can also try other types of sauces like hot sauce or teriyaki sauce. Basting your ribs with sauce during the smoking process will keep the meat moist while also adding an extra layer of deliciousness.


Basting is when you apply a liquid mixture like a sauce or marinade to the meat during the smoking process. This not only keeps the meat moist but also adds an extra layer of flavor. Basting your ribs with a mixture of your choice can create unique and flavorful taste combinations.

The Best Temperature and Time Settings for Finishing Smoked Ribs in the Oven

To start, the key to a successful finish is achieving a low and slow cooking method. Set your oven temperature between 225°F to 250°F and bake your ribs for 2 to 3 hours, depending on their thickness and how well-done you prefer them. Remember to rotate the baking sheet halfway through the cooking process to ensure even cooking. But keep in mind, every oven is different, so adjustments may be necessary based on your individual appliance.

To help retain moisture and tenderize the meat, consider wrapping your ribs in foil during the last hour of cooking. This will create a steamy environment that will infuse the meat with flavor and keep it juicy.

Now, let’s talk about dry rubs versus sauced ribs. If you prefer a dry rub, apply it before smoking and then brush with olive oil or melted butter before placing them in the oven. This will create a beautiful crust that will add texture and flavor to your ribs. For sauced ribs, wait until the last 10-15 minutes of baking before brushing on your favorite BBQ sauce. This will prevent the sauce from burning and ensure that it sticks to the meat.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Finishing Smoked Ribs in the Oven

Smoked ribs are a delicacy that requires patience and skill to perfect. But even after hours of smoking, there’s still the matter of finishing them off in the oven. However, there are some common mistakes that people make that can ruin all of their hard work. Here are some tips on how to avoid these mistakes and create mouth-watering ribs that everyone will love:

  • Don’t Overcook Your Ribs: Nobody wants dry and tough meat, so be careful not to overcook your ribs. This is a common mistake that can happen if you leave the ribs in the oven for too long or set the temperature too high. Keep an eye on them and take them out when they’re perfectly tender.
  • Wrap Your Ribs: Wrapping your ribs in foil or butcher paper is key to keeping them moist and infusing them with flavor. If you skip this step, you risk ending up with dry and flavorless ribs.
  • Add Moisture: Adding moisture is crucial to preventing your ribs from drying out. Don’t be afraid to add some apple juice or beer to the foil wrap or place a pan of water in the oven with the ribs. This will help keep them juicy and tender.
  • Cook at the Right Temperature: Cooking at a low and slow temperature of 225-250°F is ideal for finishing your ribs in the oven. A higher temperature risks overcooking the meat and drying it out.

Alternatives to Finishing Smoked Ribs in the Oven

There are times when finishing smoked ribs in the oven may be necessary or preferred. Fear not, as there are alternatives to this method that can still produce mouth-watering, juicy, and tender ribs that will leave your guests wanting more.

First up is using a gas grill with a smoker box. This approach allows you to smoke the ribs on the grill and then finish them off with indirect heat. To accomplish this, fill the smoker box with wood chips, preheat the grill to 225°F, place the ribs on the opposite side of the grill away from direct heat, and smoke for several hours until they reach an internal temperature of 160°F. Then wrap them in foil and finish with indirect heat until they reach an internal temperature of 190°F.

Another alternative is using a charcoal grill with indirect heat. This method is similar to using a gas grill with a smoker box, but instead of using a smoker box, you’ll be setting up your grill for indirect cooking. Light your charcoal and arrange it on one side of your grill. Place a drip pan filled with water on the other side of the grill and place your ribs on a rack over the drip pan. Close the lid and smoke for several hours until they reach 160°F. Wrap them in foil and finish with indirect heat until they reach an internal temperature of 190°F.

If you don’t have access to a grill, you can also finish smoked ribs in a slow cooker or Instant Pot. Smoke your ribs as usual and then transfer them to your slow cooker or Instant Pot with some liquid (such as barbecue sauce or apple juice) and cook on low for several hours until they are fully cooked.

Lastly, if you’re in a pinch, you can finish smoked ribs in the oven. Wrap your smoked ribs in foil and bake them at 225°F for several hours until they reach an internal temperature of 190°F.


In the end, finishing your smoked ribs in the oven is a game-changer. It’s a surefire way to achieve tender and juicy meat without sacrificing your entire day to tending to your smoker. The benefits of this approach are clear: perfectly cooked and tender ribs, complete control over browning and caramelization, and significant time savings.

To ensure that your ribs turn out perfectly every time, it’s crucial to smoke them first before transferring them to the oven. Additionally, choosing the right cut of meat, removing the membrane, keeping seasoning simple, and using a meat thermometer are all key factors in achieving delicious results.

There are also numerous ways to add flavor to your smoked ribs such as dry rubs, marinades, smoke wood, sauce, and basting. However, it’s important to avoid common mistakes such as overcooking or neglecting to wrap them in foil or add moisture.

If you’re not keen on finishing your smoked ribs in the oven, fear not. There are plenty of alternatives available such as using a gas grill with a smoker box or charcoal grill with indirect heat. You can even use a slow cooker or Instant Pot if you don’t have access to an outdoor grill.

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