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8 Tips For Smoking Costco Ribs On Traeger

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Costco Ribs on Traeger

The versatility of a Traeger wood pellet grill makes it an ideal way to make beef and pork ribs using a wide range of traditional barbecue styles. 

This includes Memphis, Kansas City, and even Texas beef ribs. 

While these different styles are steeped in tradition, and the types of wood used to smoke the ribs, they all have a few things in common. 

Most Barbecue purists will agree that pork ribs and beef ribs should be smoked at a temperature between 225 to 250 degrees. 

Though it’s the time that they take to smoke, the seasoning rubs you use, and the saucing options that make the real difference. 

Especially some of the pre-cooked and sauced ribs sold at Costco.  

The precooked ribs at Costco are a great option for weeknight family meals where you want to enjoy barbecue ribs in minutes, rather than hours. 

Most barbecue purists and weekend backyard chefs agree that smoking ribs from scratch are best. 

You can do this using your own homemade seasoning rubs or use one of the special blends sold by Traeger.

You can then smoke the ribs for 3 hours in a blend of Traeger signature pellets, hickory, applewood, or mesquite. 

Then wrap them in heavy-duty aluminum foil with a splash of vinegar for two hours to keep them moist, before saucing as you like. 

Can You Smoke Costco Ribs?

You can smoke raw ribs and some of the pre-cooked ribs sold at Costco. 

Though the timing, temperature, and method are a factor. 

If you are making pre-cooked, sauced ribs like the Curly’s baby back ribs, you might only need to smoke them for 15 to 30 minutes at 225 degrees to warm them through and caramelize the sauce. 

You would use a similar method to reheat the dry-rubbed, precooked Kirkland baby back ribs. 

If you were to purchase racks of raw, uncooked ribs from Costco the time it takes to smoke them to the point of being fall off the bone tender will take at least 3 hours or more at 250 degrees. 

What Temp Do You Cook Ribs on a Traeger?

Precooked ribs on a Traeger only need around 200 to 225 degrees for 15 to 30 minutes or until they are warmed through. 

If you are going to smoke raw, uncooked ribs, it is best to use the 3-2-1 method at a temperature of 225 to 250 degrees. 

The 3-2-1 method calls for smoking the ribs, uncovered at 225 to 250 degrees for three hours or until they reach an internal temperature of around 170 to 180-degrees. 

Then you wrap the ribs in heavy-duty aluminum foil with a splash of apple cider vinegar to keep them from drying out.

Cook the foil-wrapped ribs for two more hours, or until they reach 190-degrees. 

You then uncover them, and lightly glaze them with your favorite barbecue sauce, or let them finish over dry heat like you would for Memphis pork ribs or Texas-style beef ribs. 

Are Costco Pork Ribs Good?

The pre-cooked pork ribs at Costco are good, for quick weeknight meals where you want to scratch the itch for barbecue ribs in less than an hour. 

Though this short smoke treatment in a 225-degree Traeger won’t have the depth of flavor or smoke ring that you would get from smoking raw ribs for hours. 

How Hot Do You Cook Ribs on a Traeger?

For precooked ribs that are sauced, you want to target a temperature of around 200 to 225 degrees for 15 to 30 minutes or until they are properly reheated. 

You don’t want to go any hotter than 225 degrees as you risk burning the barbecue sauce rather than caramelizing it. 

With raw, uncooked ribs, you want a slightly higher temperature range of 225 to 250 degrees or as much as 275-degrees for Memphis style. 

It will then take three hours or more to render the connective tissue in the ribs enough that you can finish them off and sauce them how you like. 

Wood for Ribs on Traeger

Some barbecue purists will insist on using specific woods for traditional styles of barbecue ribs. 

Though for the most part hickory, oak and applewood are the top contenders, with mesquite often being used for Texas-style beef ribs. 

Traeger makes their own blended wood pellets with accents of wood fibers of hickory, apple, and mesquite. 

Though purists might want to consider using Kingsford wood pellets which are made from 100% of the named wood. 

Seasoning for Ribs on Traeger

A general-purpose spice rub for making ribs on a Traeger calls for using: 

1/4 C light brown sugar

1/4 C sea salt

1/4 C smoked paprika)

2 T black pepper

2 T onion powder

2 T garlic powder

1 T fresh ground cumin

1/4 T ground nutmeg

Traeger also offers their own special spice blends and rubs that are designed to both flavor the meat, as well as draw out some of the water-soluble proteins. 

This helps deliver more of the smoky flavor deep into the ribs throughout the course of a long 3-hour smoking session. 

Ideally, you want to apply a seasoning rub at least four hours before smoking, if not overnight. 

This will allow the spices to hydrate with the moisture of the meat and draw more of the flavor into the fat and meat fibers. 

Final Thoughts

A Traeger wood pellet grill is a great way to smoke precooked and fresh ribs. 

If your ribs are pre-sauced, you want to keep the temperature range in the 200 t0 225-degree range to prevent the sauce from burning. 

If you are making pork or beef ribs, for Kansas City-style or Texas barbecue a temperature range between 225 to 250 degrees is best. 

Though Memphis-style ribs typically call for a slightly higher temperature of 275-degrees. 

Costco sells precooked ribs in dry or sauced varieties. 

They tend to be a great option for weeknight family meals where you want to enjoy barbecue ribs in less than an hour. 

However, barbecue purists will tell you that smoking fresh ribs from scratch is best. 

This can be done with your own custom homemade seasoning rub or use one of the specially formulated seasoning blends that Traeger offers.

You can then set your Traeger grill to a temperature of 225 to 250-degrees to smoke the ribs for 3 hours with Traeger signature, hickory, applewood, or mesquite wood pellets for around 3-hours. 

Once they reach 170 to 180-degrees, wrap the ribs in heavy-duty aluminum foil to finish for two hours or so, before saucing or serving directly.