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How Long Smoke Costco Ribs? (Explained)

How Long Smoke Costco Ribs? (Explained)

How Long Does It Take To Smoke Costco Ribs?

Costco’s Kirkland pre-cooked ribs might only need 45-minutes to an hour at 250-degrees to warm through and caramelize the sauce. However, fresh uncooked Costco ribs might need 5 to 6 hours at 225 to 250-degrees to absorb smoke and become fully tender. 

It’s important to understand that there is a difference between ribs being “Done” at an internal temperature of 145-degrees and being “Ready” at 190 to 205-degrees. While pork, in general, is considered safe to eat, it is only a low, slow cooking temperature of 225 to 250-degrees that will make them tender and juicy. 

Slow and low smoking helps render the fat and connective tissues in the meat into succulent gelatin. If you push the temperature of your smoker higher than 250 to as much as 275-degrees, you risk ending up with dried-out, tough rib meat. 

Can You Smoke Costco Ribs?

You can smoke Costco’s Kirkland pre-cooked ribs for around an hour at 250-degrees to cook them through. Ideally, you want to remove them from the smoker when they hit an internal temperature of 190 to 205 degrees in the thickest part of the meat. 

How Long Should I Smoke My Ribs at 225?

In a smoker set to 225-degrees pre-cooked ribs will warm through in around 45-minutes to an hour. 

Costco’s pre-seasoned or unseasoned raw ribs will need 5 to 6 hours in a smoker set to 225 to 250-degrees. This calls for wrapping them in aluminum foil after 3 hours to keep the ribs from drying out. 

After two hours in foil, you can open the pouch and sauce the ribs for Kansas City-style barbecue. Then give them around an hour to caramelize the sauce and carry the thickest rib meat over to an internal temperature of 190 to 205-degrees. 

How Long Should Ribs Smoke at 250?

When you increase the temperature of the smoker to 250-degrees a rack of fresh ribs will get done in roughly 4 to 5-hours. Though you still shouldn’t pull them from the heat until they reach an internal temperature of 190 to 205 degrees. 

Also note that when you are smoking ribs at a temperature of 250 to 275-degrees, you run the risk of drying out the meat. You can compensate for this with a thicker Memphis-style coating of seasoning, mopping the ribs with vinegar or mustard sauce like Lexington-style barbecue, or simply wrapping the entire rack in aluminum foil after three hours in the smoker. 

How Does Temperature Play Into the Length of Time for Ribs?

The higher the temperature you smoke ribs the faster they will reach a safe doneness temperature. However, there is a major difference between ribs being “Done” and ribs being “Ready” to eat. 


Technically ribs, like all pork meat, are considered “Done” at 145-degrees. However, at this temperature, the meat will still be very tough and chewy. 

Most barbecue pitmasters consider ribs to be “Ready” when they reach a temperature between 190 to 205-degrees. This takes significantly longer than simply heating the rib meat to 145-degrees. 

Smoking ribs for several hours at a low temperature allows the touch of connective tissues in the meat to render it into succulent juicy gelatin. It also helps the natural intramuscular fat to render to create more flavor, as well as absorb more smoke. 

When you smoke ribs at a high temperature it can dry them out, burn the surface, and leave them tough, even when they do finally reach a “Ready” internal temperature of 190 to 205 degrees. 

Final Thoughts

You can usually reheat Costco’s pre-cooked, Kirkland ribs to an internal temperature of 190 to 205 degrees in around 45-minutes to an hour at 250-degrees. Though the fresh uncooked ribs that Costco also sells might need 5 to 6 hours at 225 to 250-degrees for them to be completely tender. 

There is a profound difference between ribs reaching a safe-to-eat internal temperature of 145-degrees and being “Ready” at 190 to 205-degrees. Slow smoking ribs at a temperature of 225 to 250-degrees until they reach an internal temperature of at least 190-degrees ensures that they will be juicy and tender. 

If you try to smoke ribs at a temperature higher than 250 to 275-degrees, it can cause the rib meat to shrink and dry out. This can leave you with a tough rack of ribs even once they reach 190 to 205-degrees.