How To Prepare The Grill
Our main aim here is to turn our grill into a smoker. This actually takes a bit of skill because we need to keep a good, constant heat of about 250F/120 C. Not only will this require the use of a good meat thermometer, but also a little knowledge of indirect cooking.
If youre unfamiliar with indirect cooking, its a method that places charcoal lumpwood under one half of your grill grate, leaving the other side clear. You then put your meat on this clear side, allowing the heat inside the grill to cook it rather than the direct heat from the flames.
For a full guide check out my guide to indirect grilling.
With this approach, were going to be a bit creative and call on the help of a disposable aluminum pan. Were going to fill it with water and use it to add moisture to our grilling environment, in turn helping to regulate the temperature. More on this in a moment.
Make sure your BBQs grates and drum are both thoroughly clean before cooking. There are a lot of benefits to having a spotless BBQ, so if your grill is dirty then Id put aside half an hour to really clean it.
Once clean, remove the cooking grate and light the charcoal. There are a few methods to this, so if youre not sure how to do this then take a look at my guide on how to light a charcoal grill.
Youll need enough charcoal to cover half the grate area, and also enough to create 2-3 layers of charcoal.
How Do You Tenderize Pork Ribs Before Grilling
Ribs should be cooked slowly to obtain the optimum tenderness. Often ribs are boiled or oven-steamed before grilling to help tenderize the meat. To oven- steam ribs, place ribs in a large baking pan, fill with about 1 inch of water, cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 50 minutes in a 350-degree oven.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Who’s ready for grilling season? If you’re like me summertime means grilling and grilling means ribs! And of course ribs means cooking in the oven and heating up the house…
Not anymore, these tender spareribs are cooked on the grill!
- No slow cooker, pressure cooker or cooking the rack in the oven first!
Yes, you heard me right these ribs are cooked entirely on the grill. It’s super easy to do, the hardest part is waiting for them to be done.
Ok… so today we’re talking spareribs. But these aren’t made in the pressure cooker, these are made entirely on the grill. That’s right, no oven, no pressure cooker… no problem!
If you don’t have a gas grill this can certainly be done on a charcoal grill, just cover and monitor the temperature of the grill with a heat thermometer.
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How To Wrap Ribs
Another hour later, check on the ribs. We want them to curve slightly without breaking. If theyre yet to reach this point, allow them to cook for a little longer. However, if they are bending nicely then double wrap the ribs in aluminum foil. We do this to help increase the internal temperature of the meat while also holding in moisture, making them extra juicy.
Place the wrapped ribs back on the grill. Check on the coals and water again. Dont add more wood chunks this time as the ribs will have absorbed enough smoke.
Two Ways To Apply Bbq Sauce
Sauce & Sizzle
To sauce & sizzle, apply the BBQ sauce to one side of your ribs then place the ribs, sauce side down, on the grill grate directly over the charcoal in your Slow N Sear. Sizzle it no more than 30 seconds. Sugary BBQ sauces can easily burn and char- pay attention! While its sizzling and caramelizing, paint the sauce on the top side. Repeat the 30 second sizzle on that side. Now serve those ribs!
Sauce & Set
To sauce & set, apply the BBQ sauce to one side, then the other, then keep them on the indirect side where theyve been for about another 30 minutes. This will allow the sauce to cook onto the meat and begin to slowly caramelize.
Side of BBQ Sauce
Butwho says you even have to sauce them? The choice is yours! You can warm up a bowl of BBQ sauce and serve it on the side. If you use a well-seasoned rub on your ribs, serving them dry with sauce on the side is a popular choice so your dinner guests can use as much or as little as they like.
For more on saucing strategies, check out the AmazingRibs.com Sauce Strategies article.
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Tips To Remember About Your Ribs
Youve probably heard this before, but ribs should not fall off the bone.
When perfectly grilled, they should be tender and moist. You should be able to cleanly bite the meat, or pull it from the bone with your fingers, but the meat should not just fall off. When you take a bite, some meat should stay on the bone.
Ribs that fall off the bone are an indication that theyve been boiled and steamed, or way overcooked, leaving them with a mushy, flavorless texture.
Here are more pointers to make the best ribs:
- Buy Baby Backs For the novice chef, try baby backs first. They are fast and easy to cook, tender and well-marbled.
- Remove the Membrane The membrane is tough and prevents smoke and rubs from seasoning your meat.
- Maintain consistent temperature Temperature is very important and worth mentioning again. For smoking, stabilize the temperature between 225 °F to 250 °F and for finishing, browning and sealing in the sauce glaze increase it between 325 °F to 350 °F
- Add time for sauce Allow at least 30 minutes near the end of your cooking time. Start by brushing on the barbecue sauce then closing the lid to let the sauce dry. Re-apply every 5 to 8 minutes until you build up that beautiful shiny glaze that is the signature of a perfect rib.
You cant hurry ribs no matter how hungry you are. Only the ribs can tell you when theyre done. Be patient and use one of the methods weve shared above. Theyll be worth the wait.
Grilling Ribs On A Charcoal Grill
How long the ribs need on a charcoal grill depends on the temperature. Ideally, the grill will remain at a consistent temperature of 225 degrees Fahrenheit .
Keep in mind, were aiming for low and slow cooking here, and even at 225 degrees Fahrenheit, the ribs will still need at least five hours maybe even six hours to finish.
Unlike grilling steaks, the ribs internal temperature wont determine whether theyre done or not. Of course, when cooked to the safe internal temp of 190 degrees Fahrenheit, the ribs will be safe to eat however, they might not be delicious just yet.
In fact, it takes a significant amount of time for the connective tissues to break down and become tender. Most of the time, we need to cook the ribs to an internal temperature of 205 degrees Fahrenheit to become tender.
A basic timeline could look similar to this:
- Unwrapped smoking: Three hours.
- Cooking wrapped in foil: Two hours.
- Unwrapped at a high temperature: One hour.
Depending on your grill, your ribs might require slightly more or less time than mentioned above. Its essential to rotate the ribs occasionally throughout the cook you must also check on the fire, smoking wood and the water pan every 30 minutes or so.
Always test for doneness, dont go by time or temperature. Were going to cover how you can test for the perfect doneness in a minute.
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The Grilling Process To Cook Pork Spare Ribs With Grilled Peaches
The secret to grilling ribs is to pre-bake them in the oven first for about 3 hours at 300 degrees F. You will be able to tell when theyre ready to come out of the oven, because the bones should move easily, but not so easily they fall apart.
First, sprinkle both sides with salt and the rub. Wrap in lots and lots of foil. Make sure to place a sheet of foil on the bottom to catch any accidental drippings, and there probably will be some.
You can prep your ribs the day before. Once out of the oven, the ribs can be refrigerated overnight and then grilled on medium high heat without the foil the next day. .
If you want to make the ribs on the same day, pre-bake them early, and let them completely cool off before grilling, to prevent them from falling apart. Grill for about 20 minutes and apply the barbecue sauce in the last ten minutes.
Thats its. If you want to cook pork spare ribs on the grill, its that simple. Its doesnt get any easier, and when that meat falls off the bone, be prepared to beam from the compliments you will receive.
When feeding a crowd, I like to cut the ribs to 4 -6 bones each, making it easy for folks to grab a serving. Look how beautiful these ribs are, and they tasted even better. These were all pre-cut before I rubbed, wrapped and baked them. However, you can grill whole racks. Its your choice, but when making more than one rack, small sections are easier to manage and to turn over on the grill.
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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How Long To Grill Beef Short Ribs
Beef short ribs are a prized cut of BBQ pit masters around the country. Theyre known for being high in fat and full of incredibly robust and delicious beefy flavor.
Additionally, the meat is all on top of the bones when it comes to the short rib section. With this cut, well want to cook them low and slow on the grill at 225°F.
The amount of time it takes to cook beef short ribs has more to do with the thickness of the beef layer on top of the bone. Most cuts will have 1 to 2 inches of beef on top.
- For 1 inch thick beef: cook at 225°F for about 1 hour for medium rare results
- For 1 1/2 inch thick beef: cook at 225°F for about 1 1/2 hours for medium rare results
- For 1 inch thick beef: cook at 225°F for about 2 hours for medium rare results
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.
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How To Boil Pork Spare Ribs To Make Them Tender
Boiling pork spare ribs before placing them on the grill or in the oven gives you more control over the cooking temperature. This helps ensure the ribs will be tender and juicy. Boiling not only shortens the cooking time but makes the meat easier to chew and digest.
Video of the Day
One way to tenderize pork spare ribs is to boil them, which should take about one and a half hours per pound of meat or less for boneless ribs. Ideally, cook the meat until it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
What Comes Before The Grilling
As opposed to sausages, steaks, and burgers, ribs require special attention before you actually put them inside an offset smoker or for example, a small bbq grill. When you buy a fresh rack of ribs, you cant just go on and put them on a hot grill grate expecting to be flavorful and juicy. Rib preparation includes:
Preparing a nice slab of ribs is not hard and there are no special requirements in terms of equipment, besides a solid grill. But, like everything in life, it requires the best ingredient of them all: patience. If you plan to do it fast, the best thing would be to reschedule the rib cookout, because there is simply no way to just storm through it.
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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:
What Temperature Should Ribs Be Cooked At
Ideally, the internal temperature of the ribs should be between 190 and 200 degrees when youre finished. If you dont already have a meat thermometer, go ahead and invest in one. You can find one for under $20. Perfectly cooked ribs will pull apart easily, but be careful, overcooked ribs will become mushy.
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If You Dont Have The Time Dont Grill The Ribs
Other than grilled cheese sandwiches, quality cooking takes time.
When it comes to ribs, they need time and attention from start to finish. If you dont watch the temperature, they could be burnt and inedible.
If you dont cook them long enough, they will be tough and chewy. Dont treat your family or friends like dogs, growling and gnawing bones to get the meat off.
If you cook them too long, the meat falls off the bone. Remember, were not doing pulled pork, people.
You need to prepare the ribs early and give yourself plenty of cooking time. Preparation such as removing the membrane, trimming, rinsing, drying and seasoning are crucial to the finished product, so give yourself enough time.
Next, comes the grilling and smoking time. The temperature and length of cooking time determine whether your ribs are juicy, moist and tender or burnt, charred and tough.
Knowing how long to grill them and when the meat is ready is the only way to accomplish a quality end result.
Im going to cover the different times and phases of smoking and grilling tender ribs so that you can be consistently good at it. But before we move on, do you know which type of ribs youre using?