Rib tips are a tough cut of meat that is transformed into tender succulence when they’re smoked at a low temperature. Cook them in your smoker at 250°F for 4-5 hours, slather them in your favorite sauce for the last hour, and you’ve got a BBQ delicacy on your hands.
My rib tip recipe is one of the secret weapons in my BBQ arsenal. I cut them into meaty pieces and stick them out as an appetizer, then watch as they disappear before the main course is served. Think of rib tips as pork’s version of burnt ends – small nuggets of meat doused in sticky-sweet sauce.
Ready to cook? I’ll cover everything you need to know about this overlooked cut of pork ribs and show you how to make tasty, finger-licking deliciousness. Get your napkins ready.
Rib tips is a long strip that is trimmed from the breast bone, which sits on the lower end of a slab of spare ribs. A typical strip is 8 to 12 inches long and 1 to 3 inches wide.
They are brimming with cartilage that runs in every direction. The cartilage and connective tissue become meltingly soft when slow-smoked.
Rib tips are also called brisket (not to be confused with beef brisket), brisket bone, costal cartilages, and breaks.
Rib tips boast the meatiness of spare ribs and the fattiness of pork belly, which is nearby in the pig. Yes, please! Step aside, baby back ribs – smoked rib tips might be your new favorite cut of rib.
Rib tips aren’t something you’ll see packaged for sale at your typical grocery store. Butchers trim them when making a slab of St Louis-style ribs and grind the meat into sausage. Call your butcher and ask them to set some aside for you.
Or, if you’ve trimmed up your own slabs of spareribs into St Louis cut, don’t throw those rib tips in the rubbish bin! Save them, and toss those tips on the smoker.
Here’s my recipe for Korean-inspired pork rib tips. Gochujang paste brings a fiery kick to the party.
Pork ribs (all pork, for that matter) are such a versatile meat – you can cook them with an American BBQ flavor, go Asian-inspired, or hit it with some Mexican seasoning. Whatever style of cuisine you go with, these pork ribs will shine.
If you want to prepare more traditional ribs, substitute the gochujang glaze with your favorite tangy barbecue sauce, and throw 1 tablespoon of brown sugar in the rub. My favorite bbq sauce is Sweet Baby Ray’s brand. Let’s get to smoking rib tips!
Feeds: 4 as a main course, 12 as an appetizer
Suggested Wood Chunks, Wood Chips, or Pellets: Oak, hickory, pecan, cherry, or apple wood
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Approximate Cooking Time: 4-5 hours
You’ve got a delicious rack of ribs smoked – what should you pair with them on the table? My favorite dish to serve with rib tips is corn on the cob, which can be boiled but tastes best grilled. Top it with a generous dollop of butter and season with salt for heavenly corn.
Since this dish is Korean-inspired, flavorful kimchi and white rice (I like jasmine rice) are no-brainers. Or, serve the smoked rib tips with whatever is in season – eat it with asparagus in the spring, watermelon in the summer, apples in the fall, and gourds in the winter. Enjoy!
The smoking process takes 4 or 5 hours, depending on weather, wind, the temperature consistency of your smoker, and other factors. You can’t rush great things – the ribs are done when they are probe tender.
Yes, smoked rib tips are considered by some to be the finest expression of bbq on planet Earth.
They’re a good choice because, if you’re lucky enough to find a butcher who can get you some, they’ll be an inexpensive cut of meat.
Better than cheap is basically free. If you’re making St. Louis-style ribs and discarding the flap and rib tip trimmings, stop – hang on to them! Today is the day to stop throwing away perfectly good meat, people. Stick the rib tips in the freezer until you’ve got a few, then smoke them up. The tenderness of the riblets is unreal.
The 3-2-1 method is a popular technique for preparing ribs, with each number referring to cook time.
The ribs are cooked low and slow on the cooker for 3 hours, wrapped in aluminum foil for 2 hours (often with water or another liquid braise), then unwrapped for 1 hour to finish cooking.
Although this recipe doesn’t call for the 3-2-1 method, you can certainly employ it when smoking rib tips. I’d bump the smoking temperature down to 225°F.
Spare ribs contain rib tips. Rib tips are at the bottom part of the spare rib, and they’re often removed from the spare ribs to make a St. Louis cut before they’re smoked.
Rib tips are often overlooked because they’re full of fat and connective tissue (tough). But hit them with a blast of smoke, generous seasoning, and some sauce, and you’ve got a delightful piece of meat.
There you go! Everything you need to cook up some out-of-this-world rib tips, including a rib tips recipe.
Fire up your grill and get to smoking those ribs. Keep your grill at 250°F, smoke for 3-4 hours, and hit those tips with some glaze 30-60 minutes before they’re done cooking. You (and all the friends you’re having over for dinner) will be glad you did.
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