How To Grill Ribs
At last, youre ready to throw those ribs on the grill. Believe it or not, this is actually the simplest part. Because your ribs are already fully cooked, tender, and flavorful, all youre really doing is a reverse sear to get some color and roasty-toasty flavor. This is also when you coat your ribs in a BBQ sauce, which will caramelize and become sticky on the grill.
You can use a gas or charcoal grill for this.
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.
Remove The Silver Skin
One thing you have to remember about preparing ribs is that theres a thin silver skin or membrane along the back of the ribs that must be removed. The membrane is a thick skin that will prevent the ribs from actually falling off the bone.
Its not great to leave it on, because the ribs will be less tender and not as fun to eat.
To remove it is easy. Just turn the ribs over and look for a piece of the membrane around the edges of the meat that you can grab hold of. You can also slide a small knife blade between the silver skin and the ribs and pull up to loosen it.
It is silver in color and forms a very thin layer over the back. When you catch a piece, pull it back, like peeling off a piece of tape. If you get it just right, you can pull the entire membrane off in one piece. Heres a pictorial to help.
Note: If you cant locate the membrane, its possible the butcher has already removed it.
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Dry Rub Grilled Baby Back Ribs : Step By Step Process
Have you ever wished you could make Grilled Baby Back Ribs? Keep reading and learn the secrets to making tender, juicy and perfectly seasoned ribs every time.
When I started dating my wife I was on a non-red meat diet. She loved baby back ribs and it was one of those foods I had never gotten into.
I had never worked at a restaurant that served ribs, so I never needed to learn how to cook them. That meant unless we went out to dinner, Lisa was stuck eating precooked packaged varieties of ribs that were sold at the grocery store.
Im almost ashamed to admit thatsigh.
But I have learned the secret of Grilled Baby Back Ribs and how amazingly easy they are to prepare especially using Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil!And Im going to share what Ive learned with you.
How Long To Cook Baby Back Ribs
How long do baby back ribs need to cook, exactly? The exact cook time for tender baby back ribs depends on the recipe and cooking method. In most cases, ribs cant be rushed in order to become tender. So if youre planning to make them for a crowd, allot more time than you think youll need.
For traditional methods that use the oven or the grill, budget about 3 to 4 hours of total cook time. For speedier methods like the Instant Pot, ribs can be ready in as little as 25 minutes.
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What Our Readers Are Saying
If you dont believe that our recipe helps you achieve perfect oven baked ribs at home, take a look at what our readers are saying about the recipe! More reviews are in the comments section below.
These are the best ribs Ive ever made! Nick
My first time making ribs and it couldnt have been easier or tastier. M.B.
This is the best recipe for ribs that I have found. It is so easy and absolutely delicious! Jackie
Quite literally fall off the bone goodness. Jessica
OMG! These ribs are incredible!!! Lupita
Tips For Grilling Baby Back Ribs
Grilling baby back ribs isnt rocket science, but you do have to be careful about a few things.
Mostly its knowing when the meat is almost done, so you know when to slather on the sauce, as this cant be done when the ribs are still cooking.
If you want very juicy and tender ribs, youre going to need a very low flame, and to have a lot of patience. High heat will contract the muscle, and it will only harden the meat, make it tough to eat.
Slow roasting/grilling will ensure you get a tender rack of ribs.
Scoring the meat will help cook it faster, if youre in a hurry. Even slicing down the side of the ribs, all the way to the spine, will make the ribs cook faster since they will separate easier.
For very flavorful ribs, youre going to want spare ribs. Those are meatier, have more fat, and have more bone as well. Theyre a bit harder to grill, since youre going to need to adjust the grill time for their size.
If this is your first time grilling ribs, I recommend you go with the baby back ribs, since theyre easier to handle.
There are a few things you can do, aside from figuring out which ribs to use as well.
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Bake The Baby Back Ribs
To make baked baby back ribs in the oven, you need to create the perfect environment for them to steam cook.
Cut off a piece of tin foil thats large enough to make a packet for the ribs. They need to be completely encased in the foil. Crimp the edges together to keep the steam in. This is how the ribs become so tender.
Place the baking sheet in the oven at 275° F. This is a bit of a set it and forget it exercise. The exact amount of time it needs to cook depends a great deal on the size of the rack of ribs youre cooking.
- It will take around 2 to 2.5 hours for a small rack or ribs.
- Medium rack will take around 3 hours. A large rack could take up to 4 hours.
- It needs to cook in the oven for a minimum of 2 hours before you check it for the first time. After that time, give it a peek.
The meat should have significantly pulled back from the edges of the bones. If youre not sure if its done, insert a fork into the meat and give it a gentle tug. It should give easily.
If it doesnt, put it back into the oven for another 30 minutes. Remember, it could take up to 4 hours to cook the ribs to perfection, depending on the size of the ribs youre cooking.
Be careful not to over do it. Its harder to pick up the bones to eat when its too tender.
What Cut Of Meat To Use For Grilled Baby Back Ribs
There are 2 main types of ribs you can use when grilling.
First, there are baby back ribs. The original cut, though theyre only called baby because theyre smaller than the second type .
Higher in demand, thus a bit more expensive. Less bone than the second type, and also less fat.
Theyre the most tender, but really both types will work well enough when grilling.
Second, we have spare ribs. These have a little more bone, and a bit more fat, which translates into a more delicious and flavorful meal, if you cook them right.
Theyre a bit cheaper than baby back ribs and larger, so keep this in mind when grilling for a large gathering.
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How To Cook Ribs In The Oven
The easiest barbecue ribs besides slow cooking!
- Prepare ribs as above, then pat them dry with a sheet of paper towel.
- Rub with our dry rub mixture . I like to drizzle some olive oil over them for the best juicy, tender and crispy results.
- Arrange them on a lined baking tray. You can use foil or parchment paper.
- Bake for a couple of hours, then slather with our BBQ sauce mixture. Use a brush or spoon to spread it evenly over the tops.
- Broil for an additional 2-5 minutes to get crispy, charred edges.
Can I Make Baby Back Ribs In My Slow Cooker
Absolutely! If you dont have an Instant Pot, these can be made in the slow cooker with just a few adjustments namely the amount of liquid and the cooking time. Slow cookers require less cooking liquid so youll want to reduce the water or broth to ½ cup. Plan to cook your ribs for about 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high or until tender.
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Can I Finish The Ribs On The Grill
Yes, you can! In fact, finishing them on the grill is a great option when you dont want to heat up the oven, if the oven is already in use, or if you want to add a smoky flavor to them. We love to finish these Instant Pot pork ribs on our Traeger wood-fired pellet grill because they taste like youve been tending the grill all day. And honestly, if you didnt tell them that you didnt, no one would ever know.
How To Prep Baby Back Ribs
Making baby back ribs can be an all-day affair, so make sure to read your recipe closely before diving in. Decide what tasks need to be done ahead of time, and what can be saved until the day of your cookout or meal. Below, find a breakdown of tasks and ingredients you might want to prepare before you start cooking your baby back ribs.
How To Cook Baby Back Ribs
If you want to cook perfect baby back ribs, you need one very important thingtime. To go from tough and chewy to luscious and tender, baby back ribs need to be cooked low and slow over indirect heat, whether its in the oven or on the grill or smoker. The one exception to this is a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, both of which significantly speed up the process.
Can Instant Pot Pork Ribs Be Made Ahead
Yes. You can make the ribs up to 2 days in advance by cooking them in the Instant Pot then storing them in a covered container in the fridge until youre ready to finish them off by adding the sauce and broiling or grilling to reheat them.
For the ultimate reheat and eat convenience, prepare the ribs as directed, then cut the ribs into individual ribs before storing the fridge. Baby back ribs can be reheated in the microwave or toaster oven for a quick and easy meal.
My Go-To Method for Making-Ahead + Reheating Ribs
1. Cook and cool the ribs . Refrigerate up to 3 days.2. Place ribs in roasting pan or large baking dish, overlapping them as needed. Add a little broth to the bottom of the pan and cover with a lid or foil.3. Place in a preheated 350F oven and bake until heated through , adding more liquid as needed to keep the pan from boiling dry.4. Transfer ribs to a large baking sheet, brush with sauce and either broil or grill them until the sauce starts to caramelize.
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Preparing Your Smoker Grill To Smoke Baby Back Ribs
Before tossing your ready-to-go ribs on your Silverbac or other Grilla Grills smoker, do yourself a favor and clean it well. Make sure those grates are shining and tidy. The less built-up muck from other smokes, the better.
Because cooking ribs on the grill can get a little messy with drips, either add a drip pan or cover the bottom of the smoker grill with something to catch the juices. Believe us when we say you will be happy you took a few additional steps. Easy scrubbing afterwards means you can enjoy the bounty!
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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How Can I Support Family Farms
When you pick up some pork ribs at Walmart or Kroger you are more than likely buying pork that was raised in Iowa by a family that has been doing it for generations. How cool is that?! Plus, I think it is super important, as a consumer, to know where my food is coming from and how it is being raised. It’s comforting to know that families, who care about us and their animals, are producing this food that I am enjoying.
Ingredients For Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs
- Pork Ribs Baby back or St. Louis style ribs will both work well in this recipe.
- Broth or WaterBeef broth or chicken broth will infuse the ribs with a little extra flavor but if you dont have any on hand, water also works great.
- BBQ Sauce Use your favorite bottled barbecue sauce or make your own with our Homemade BBQ Sauce recipe. For a Whole30-friendly option try Primal Kitchens Classic BBQ Sauce.
For the Spice Rub*
- Salt and pepper
* Feel free to use your favorite pre-made rub, if desired.
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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.
How Long To Grill The Ribs
The length of time ribs should use in a grill varies depending on the grill and type of ribs. Therefore, there is no exact time for grilling a rack of ribs.
However, if you follow the standard grill temperature range, the estimated cooking time for medium-sized meat should be about 3 hours. For smaller-sized ribs, the estimated time to get it cooked is about two hours. A thick slab of ribs requires a cooking time of about 4 hours while you would need to add about 30 minutes to an hour to the cooking time for a thick slab with a vertical rack.
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How To Pick The Best Baby Back Ribs For The Pellet Grill
Although having the right wood pellet smoker grill and a great traditional baby back ribs recipe on hand matter, so does the cut of ribs you choose.
Our pitmaster recipe recommends that you opt for St. Louis-style spareribs if possible. They tend to have a consistency that works quite well on the smoker. Plus, they cook fairly evenly, which you and your hungry guests will appreciate.
When choosing baby back ribs for your pellet grill, select ones with a balanced level of marbling. Marbling simply means fat interlaced with meat. When you cook your traditional baby back ribs low n slow, the fat will help break down and naturally tenderize the meat. Of course, you want to avoid a totally fatty set of ribs with far too little meat.
If you can find whole slabs of St. Louis-style baby back ribs, go for them. Whole slabs have not been cut in half by your butcher. They allow you to complete an entire rack of ribs at once. Besides, showing off a huge, long slab of baby back ribs makes you look like jungle royalty.
Finally, take a no bones about it approach. That is, pick ribs with lots of meat and fat covering the bone. Exposed bones will start to fall out and cause your cooking to happen non-uniformly. That can mess up your cooking times and cost you some of your savory ribs.