Learn how to make spare ribs on your pellet grill

Pellet Grill Smoked Spare Ribs

By Bryan Carroll CFMP, NTP, FAFS

October 22, 2019

At the beginning of this past summer, I was convinced by multiple clients I needed to get a pellet grill. I had been thinking about it for awhile, but after taste-testing everyone's samples, I had to bite.

There are quite a few pellet grills on the market now, and I didn't know how often I would use it. From my research, I found about 3 levels of quality to choose from:

  • Level 1: The cheaper and lower end model, Z-Grills
  • Level 2: Was once spouted as the top of the line, but expensive, Traeger
  • Level 3: Cheaper than Traeger, but more durable and better build design, Green Mountain Grills

There is a lot of debate between what models are better between the Traeger and GMG, but I'm not here to discuss that (plenty of videos online for that).

Since I didn't know how dedicated I would be to BBQ'ing throughout the summer, and didn't want to pay a lot out of pocket, I ended up at Level 1 to test the waters.

And so far, I use it 3-4 days per week, and it works just great!

Are Pellet Grills Healthy To Cook On

This was my original question before purchasing one. What are the potential health issues to using a pellet grill to cook food on instead of a regular BBQ?

What I found is that you are more likely to get carcinogenic substances on your food from gas and charcoal grills than a pellet grill.

Burning charcoal or gas can create more chemicals that can leach into your food, which can make the level of carcinogens increase. Plus, when fat and grease falls onto the flames, it can unleash even more chemicals into the air.

Pellet grills usually have no direct flame on your food, so the grease doesn't burn and cause a leaching of chemicals. What you are using to cook with is the heat that is created within the grill, and the smoke adds flavor.

Now there hasn't been enough testing to determine whether it is healthier or not, but using wood fires to cook food has been around for thousands of years. I would say if we have lasted this long doing it, then the damage it does to us is probably more on the minimal side.

One thing you do want to take caution in, is the quality of the pellets. Some pellets are made out of old pallets or other lumber material, instead of food grade wood. Make sure to get 100% hardwood pellets.

How to Make Pellet Grill Smoked Spare Ribs

We will be following the 3-2-1 method for cooking ribs, but the difference is we'll focus on containing the juices and making sure the ribs don't dry out.

You'll start with the pellet grill set on low, usually around 180 degrees. You'll coat the ribs in the spices, and cook for 3 hours.

Adding spices to Pellet Grill Smoked Spare Ribs

After 3 hours, pull the ribs off the smoker and place them onto foil. Add apple cider vinegar and butter, and completely lock the ribs into the foil. Cook for 2 hours.

Adding butter and apple cider vinegar to smoked spare ribs

Finally, pull the ribs from the foil, add your BBQ sauce, and let cook uncovered for the last hour. After that, your dinner will be ready to go!

Cover smoked spare ribs in bbq sauce
Learn how to make spare ribs on your pellet grill

Pellet Grill Smoked Spare Ribs

Print Recipe
CourseMain Dish
CuisineDairy Free, Gluten Free, Paleo
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time6 hours
Servings6 People
AuthorBryan Carroll CFMP, NTP, FAFS




  • Fire up your pellet grill, and preheat it to 180°-210°. I also like to add a dish with water in the smoker so the ribs don't dry out.
  • Start to rub the Paleo Cajun Seasoning and the Himalayan salt all over both sides of the ribs.
  • Place the ribs on the pellet grill for 3 hours.
  • Tear off a large piece of foil and lay it out. Pull the ribs from the grill and add it onto the foil. Add the butter and pour the apple cider vinegar over the top. Then cover the ribs with more foil, pinching the edges to seal it. Return the ribs to the grill for another 2 hours at 225°.
  • Remove the ribs from the grill, and completely uncover from the foil. Remove all the foil, and add the BBQ sauce to the top of the ribs. Return to the smoker for another hour, still at 225°.
  • After a total of 6 hours, these ribs will be the perfect temp for a delicious meal! Add your favorite sides to go with it, and your mouth will love you!


I have been trying to find a healthy alternative to aluminum foil for a recipe like this, but so far haven't had any luck. If you know of good alternatives, let me know in the comments below!


Serving: 3ribs | Calories: 527.14kcal | Carbohydrates: 10.91g | Protein: 23.88g | Fat: 41.47g | Saturated Fat: 15.05g | Cholesterol: 136.38mg | Sodium: 808.96mg | Potassium: 492.54mg | Fiber: 0.62g | Sugar: 8.29g | Vitamin A: 802.95IU | Vitamin C: 0.14mg | Calcium: 39.15mg | Iron: 1.9mg
Learn how to make smoked spare ribs using your pellet grill
Learn how to make smoked spare ribs using your pellet grill
About the author

Bryan Carroll CFMP, NTP, FAFS

Bryan Carroll is a certified Functional Medicine Practitioner and Movement Therapist who helps the outdoors community to reduce injuries and improve their health so they can get back to exploring nature. His big health crisis from mold exposure taught him the importance of finding the root causes to illnesses so you can take back control of your life. He is also the host of the Summit For Wellness Podcast.

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