Smoked Beef Ribs - Pre-Season or not to Pre-Season?

  • Recipe Type

    Red Meat

  • Skill Level


  • Grill Time

    3-4 hours

  • Method


  • Servings

    Serves 4-6

There are many questions that come up when it comes to smoking meat and one of the most asked questions that we get is, “when should I season my meat?”  There are 2 basic schools of thought on this matter and they are:

     1. Season them the day before cooking and refrigerate.

     2. Season them just before going on the smoker.

Well, we wanted to help you with the answer to this age-old dilemma.  We got 2 identical racks of beef  ribs from Raikes Beef Co. and put the old seasoning question to the test.  CptnRon302 seasoned one rack 24 hours before cooking them and seasoned the second rack just prior to going on the smoker.  Some BBQ folks feel that one way is better than the other and some feel the opposite while, yet others have no opinion on it whatsoever and feel that it doesn’t make enough difference to matter.

Speaking for myself, I have always been one to season my meats right before putting them on to cook.  It has always worked well for me, and I have never had complaints about my food not being seasoned enough.  Therefore, the thought of this beef experiment got my brain going.  I was very curious to see the results.  I won’t lie, I was a bit surprised by what I found.  

I would highly recommend watching this until the end.  The results just may surprise you too.  There was no wavering on our final judgement of what I have come to call “The Great Seasoning Debate.”  Did it make a difference?  Is it just a waste of time and plastic wrap?  Check out the video and see our results.  While you are there, don’t forget to subscribe to our channel and become a member of The FOGO Family! 


  1. Combine Salt and pepper using a 50/50 ratio.
  2. Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs.  Coat one rack in mayonnaise and coat with the S&P mixture.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  1. Fill your grill with FOGO Super Premium Charcoal and prepare it for indirect cooking at 250°.  Once the fire is near temp, add the smoking chunks.
  2. Coat the 2nd rack in mayo and coat with the S&P mixture.  Insert the thermometer into the center of the meat.  Make sure to note which rack is the pre-seasoned rack and which was just seasoned.
  3. Place both racks of ribs on the grate and close the lid.  (hopefully, you removed the plastic wrap prior to putting them on the grill)
  4. Continue cooking until the ribs reach an internal temperature of 165°.  If the bark is dark enough for you, go to step 5.  If you want more bark, continue cooking until you are satisfied with the bark.
  5. Once the bark is where you like, remove the ribs from the smoker and wrap in the peach butcher paper.  Once they are wrapped, place them back on the grate and continue cooking until they reach an internal temp of 203° or until a probe slides in and out with no resistance.
  6. Once they are done cooking, remove them and place them in a Cambro or cooler and cover with old towels.  (Using your spouse’s favorite bath towel is not a good idea here) Allow them to rest for a MINIMUM of one hour.
  7. Remove them from the cooler, unwrap and slice in between the bones.  Taste both and see if you notice a difference.  Maybe you will have the same results that we had!


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