How To Cook Pork Ribs On A Pellet Grill
A pellet grill gives you the consistent temperature and reliable smoke flavor to make the best ribs on the block.
If you can automatically adjust the temperature of your pellet grill like you can with a Traeger you won’t have to worry about opening the grill to add charcoal.
Because your pellets are constantly added to the fire, you don’t need to open the grill to add more pellets. Those pellets are just working away, keeping your grill at the proper temperature and delivering natural smoke flavor to the ribs.
Just follow the instructions above for tender, delicious, perfectly-colored and evenly cooked pork ribs.
Doneness Cues For Your Baby Back Ribs
Bone Tips: When the ribs are close to being done, the meat will begin to retract, exposing the rib tips. U Shape: Hold the ribs in the middle with tongs. When they are ready, the rack will sag in a reversed U shape. The meat may crack, too, which is a good sign. Rib Twist: Grab an exposed bone tip with your tongs and gently twist. If the bone turns easily, the ribs are done. Toothpick Test: The meat is tender when a toothpick easily penetrates the meat between the ribs.
How To Grill Baby Back Ribs
Plan for about one pound of baby back ribs per person. The ribs can sometimes come with a membrane along the backbone that you can remove, or you can have your butcher remove it for you.
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Grilling Ribs On A Gas Grill
Gas grills are more suitable for hot and fast cooking they arent ideal for low and slow cooking, but you can surely make it work.
What you need to do is create a two-zone fire by igniting only half the burners. Once the temperature is at a steady 225 degrees Fahrenheit, place the meat on half of the grill away from the burner.
When the meat is on the grill, it should take about the same time as a charcoal grill . Again, you must rotate the meat throughout the cook and wrap it in foil following the same guideline we mentioned above.
Avoid Ribs If You Dont Have Time
Great food requires time, effort, sweat, and sometimes tears . Its a process that simply cant be rushed and that goes primarily for ribs. Ribs require time and attention from the moment they hit the grill. You have to observe the temperature or you could end up with inedible char.
Under-cooked ribs are tough and chewy. Just imagine grandpa gnawing his way through some chewy ribs not a pretty sight and definitely not something you should ever serve your guests.
Over-cooked ribs will fall off the bone maybe youll lose some down the grates as you remove them from the grill. Keep in mind, though; were making ribs, not pulled meat!
Preparing ribs also isnt a quick-fix process. You must prepare the ribs early to give yourself ample cooking time.
As you prep the ribs, youll have to remove the membrane, trim, rinse, dry, and season the meat so dont skimp on time with this process.
Getting the temperature and timing right is crucial if you want juicy, tender ribs or chewy, burnt and charred ribs.
In the following guide below, we will take you through the different phases and times of grilling and smoking ribs to perfection. However, before we dig in, lets take a quick look at the various ribs available.
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Internal Temp For Ribs
The fat on pork ribs begins to break down at about 185-190 degrees. Cooking the ribs past this point helps to assure that the fat has rendered.
Without the fat rendering, the meat may not be as juicy, it might be a little chewy, and it wont pull off the bone easily.
Measure the temperature by probing between the bones. Try to get directly between the bones in the thickest part of the ribs. Doing so will help you get an accurate reading.;
The perfect internal temp for ribs is 203 to 205 degrees F. This temperature works regardless of your cooking method.
Youll find that these ribs are so juicy, tender, and nearly fall off the bone. Theyre perfect for summer backyard barbecues!
Use A Two Zone Grilling Set Up
You want to use a two zone grilling set up when grilling ribs, essentially turning your grill into a convection side cooker where your food is cooked with indirect heat.
Indirect heat cooking will lead to even, tender, and tasty results when it comes to low and slow cooking on a grill.; Using direct heat will mean that you run the risk of over cooking the outer layer of your ribs before the inside has had a chance to properly cook.; The end result of that would be a charred outside and a tough, chewy inside.
You can read more about indirect heat grilling here, but essentially you should turn on the burners on only one side of your grill, and place your food on the other side of the grill to cook.
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Selecting Your Rack Of Ribs Affects Your Grilling Time
Most of the time when people refer to ribs theyre referring to pork ribs.
Even though there are also beef short ribs, and even lamb ribs, the vast majority of smoked barbecue ribs are pork. And there are three popular types you can buy:
Learn how to tell your different pork ribs from each other in this video from the BBQGuys:
Baby backs refer to loin or pork loin back ribs. They are cut from where the rib meets the spine. The upper portion is named baby backs because theyre shorter in length compared to spares.
There are about 10 to 13 curved ribs from 3 to 6 inches in length. Theyre usually tender and lean.
St. Louis-style and spareribs are cut from the pork belly .
The slab shape is rectangular because the hard breastbone and cartilage are removed. Its flatter in shape compared to the baby back ribs and theyre easier to brown because they contain a higher amount of fat.
Theyre moist, juicy and very flavorful if cooked properly.
All pork ribs require low and slow cooking, otherwise theyll be hard and chewy.
Does it make a difference to the cooking time which cut you choose?
Yes, if you cook spares instead of baby backs, you will need to add more cooking time because baby backs are smaller compared to spares.
For example, if you cook both at 225°F:
Guy Fieri, American restaurateur, author, and television personality,
How To Cook Ribs On A Gas Grill
It can be challenging to get an authentic BBQ flavor when you cook ribs on a gas grill. The reason is that gas grills are perfect for fast and hot cooking, but getting delicious and tender ribs requires slow grilling at a low temperature.
However, you can still use a gas grill for ribs provided you take specific steps to grill it low and slow. You should indirectly cook your ribs, so the grills heat is not directly under the baby back ribs but instead on the grills other side. Otherwise, the ribs may burn with high temperatures.
Ensure that the gas grill you would be using contains at least two burners and is spacious enough to hold the rack of ribs on one side with sufficient space on the other.;
A full rack of trimmed spareribs is used in this guide. However, you can still apply the same method to a baby back rib or other types of ribs you like.;
While the trimmed spareribs take between;an hour and a half;to two hours to cook, you would need to reduce the cooking time for baby back ribs by about 5 minutes per step.
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Grilled Ribs On Gas Grill
Preheat your gas grill to 350 degrees F. and prepare your ribs. Remove the membrane if you wish, add a marinade to your ribs, or even a dry rub. Plain ribs are just fine here, too. Pre-marinated ribs work excellent as well!
Remove the ribs from the refrigerator at least 20 minutes prior to cooking.
Heres where it gets really easy.
Now that you have your ribs sauced, BBQ pellets going, and grill preheated, its time to cook the ribs!
Note: Charcoal users, you may have to refresh your charcoal to maintain the heat.
Using a grill grate thermometer will help.
I have one of these thermometers to measure meat and grill temps at the same time!
Slow Cooking Pork Ribs On A Gas Grill
The benefit of low and slow cooking pork ribs on a gas grill is that a gas grill can monitor temperature for you. Low and slow works best for grilling pork ribs, and you can quickly turn up or turn down the burners to make adjustments. Using gas grills can be much easier compared to traditional charcoal grills.
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How Long Is This Good For:
Serve: You can keep the ribs at room temperature for no longer than 2 hours before they will need to be refrigerated.;
Store: Store leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days.;
Freeze: Place the cooked ribs in an airtight container or freezer-safe Ziploc bags. Stored this way, they will keep for about four months in the freezer.;
To Reheat: Thaw the ribs in the refrigerator overnight. Then, wrap them in foil and warm them on a grill heated to medium heat, or in an oven preheated to 325 degrees F for about 20 minutes.;
How To Cook Ribs On A Charcoal Grill
Smoking with charcoal is tricky. The main difficulty is maintaining a low temperature. Most charcoal grills are designed to give you a hot fire for cooking burgers and steaks, not for hours and hours of cooking.
You also have to set up your charcoal grill for indirect heat that means the charcoals stay on one side of the grill, and the ribs stay on the other.
Measuring and arranging the charcoal briquettes is key. If you add the same amount of charcoal you would for cooking burgers, the grill will be way too hot. Also, if you light all of the charcoal at once, it may not stay hot long enough to smoke your ribs. One recent innovation to help solve this problem is the snake method, where you arrange the briquettes in a line that slowly ignites as you smoke.
You won’t be able to regulate the temperature at the touch of a button. If the fire dies out, you’ll need to open the charcoal grill and add more briquettes. In a worst-case scenario, you’ll need to take the ribs out and relight completely. In both cases, the meat will cool down, drastically increasing your cook time.
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To Precook Or Not To Precook
The rationale behind pre-cooking ribs is to tenderize the meat before it hits the grill. Then the grilling portion of the cooking process is more to add the char and adhere the sauce to the ribs. But is it;necessary? If youre making side ribs, then yes, its;a very good idea. As mentioned earlier, side ribs tend to be tougher than back ribs and benefit from some low-heat cooking to tenderize the meat.
Pre-cooking back ribs is optional; it can make for an exceptionally tender rib, but it can be bypassed if youre not interested in cooking for hours. Do not precook country-style ribs if you intend on grilling them or they will be very dry.
What Kind Of Ribs Should You Get
A vast majority of people, when they talk about ribs, mean to say pork ribs, and that is what we are going to talk about today. However, if you go to your local butcher shop and ask for pork ribs, they will ask you: baby rack or spareribs?, and we will prepare you for that question right away. The types of ribs that you can get are divided into two major groups:
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How Long To Grill Ribs On A Gas Grill
A gas grill is hot and suitable for fast cooking, not so much when it comes to low heat grilling. But, you can do it by making a 2-zone fire by turning off half the burners.
Once you are sure the temperature is steady at 225°F , the cooking times should be the same as the charcoal grill, about 6 hours.
Be sure to rotate the meat and wrap it in foil using the same time guideline as above.
How To Ready The Grill For Ribs
You can choose to use a charcoal grill or a gas grill for your ribs; both will cook them well. If youre using a charcoal grill, heat the grill until the charcoals are covered with gray ash and then separate them into two sides of the grill while leaving the center empty. Before putting the meat on the grill, add soaked wood chips among the coals. If youre using a gas grill, turn it on high. Then, wrap the soaked wood chips in aluminum foil with several punctured holes and set them under the cooking grate close to the flames. Wood chips will help add that smokey flavor to your meat just like if you were to grill the meat on top of a cedar plank.
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How To Braise Ribs
Braising ribs is similar to boiling ribs except you are using a smaller quantity of more flavorful liquid. This is a preferred way to infuse your ribs with more flavor because the liquid in which they cook is usually a lot more concentrated than the liquid you use to boil ribs. Again, the skys the limit as far as what you can add to your braise for flavor, but many people simply slow-cook their ribs in barbecue sauce.
You can braise your ribs on the stovetop by bringing the barbecue sauce to a simmer over medium heat, adding the ribs, covering them, reducing the heat to low and cooking for a few hours. Check every hour or so for tenderness. This is an excellent opportunity to use a slow cooker, too.
Alternatively, you can braise them in the oven. The advantage of this is that in an oven, the heat is cooking the ribs from all sides, making for much more even cooking. As well, you can cook more ribs in the oven than you can on a stove top simply because you have more space. You also have the option of precooking a whole slab of ribs rather than cutting the rack down into smaller pieces, which can be necessary for stovetop cooking
You can either use a large roasting pan or even buy a disposable aluminum roasting pan to cook enough ribs for a crowd. Heres how:
How To Remove The Membrane From Ribs
You do not have to remove the membrane from the ribs, but I prefer the texture. If you dont see it, it is sometimes its already removed when you purchase them.
To remove it, slip a knife under the edge of the thin skin on the back of the ribs. Grip the edge of the membrane and gently pull it away from the meat. Discard the membrane.
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How To Cook Ribs In Oven
- Preheat your oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit, place the seasoned ribs onto a baking sheet and cover with foil. Then cook ribs for 3 hours.
- Remove the foil and carefully pour the liquid out. Brush the ribs with a generous amount of barbecue sauce and bake on broil setting for 3-4 minutes until the sauce begins to caramelize.
Sweet And Spicy Barbecue Sauce
You can use any barbecue sauce you like, but for us, we like to cook up our quick sweet and spicy sauce it only takes a few minutes. It combines ketchup, brown sugar, chili sauce , and spices. Weve shared how to make it in the;recipe.
I like making a double batch of the sauce and keeping it in the refrigerator. It will last up to 5 days. The sauce is perfect with chicken, on a burger, or as a dip for fries.
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