How To Choose The Best Ribs For Grilling
The best ribs for grilling really depend on your tastes and needs. In most parts of the United States, pork ribs are preferred, and they are the most common types of ribs. However, beef ribs, which are larger and have a deeper flavor, are also popular in places where BBQ beef is king, like Kansas City and many parts of Texas. Both of these take well to American-style barbecue sauces. Lamb ribs are also a great alternative, but theyre not as commonly eaten in North America as pork and beef ribs. Lamb has a gamier flavor that requires different seasonings that pork and beef ribs. There are many mouthwateringly delicious lamb rib recipes in Middle Eastern and East Asian cuisines that feature cumin, coriander and a lot of garlic.
Among pork ribs, there are several common varieties to choose from:
Feel Free To Marinate The Ribs Before Grilling
If you really, really need tender grilled ribs, then you need to marinate them.
This is done mostly so the meat will remain tender, and also replace a dry rub .
When marinating, youre going to let the ribs sit in there for a whole day before grilling them.
An example of a good marinade for grilled baby back ribs would be :
- half cup beef stock, or 2 beef boullion cubes
- 5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons mustard seeds, powdered
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
Remember, this mostly replaces the dry rub. The flavors will have time to penetrate the meat and make it nice and savory to the bone.
The marinade will also tenderize the meat, as the vinegar is a mild sort of acid. The meat will remain tender, since the vinegar will very slowly break down its bonds.
This method also works with red wine, but it wouldnt suit grilled ribs.
Now, get a very large bowl, and mix all the ingredients. Place inside the bowl the ribs, and make sure to completely cover them.
If youve got good, large Ziploc bags, use those instead of the bowl. Add the ribs in the bags, evenly distribute the marinade in each bag, and do your best to push out all the air in those bags before closing them.
But if youre using a bowl, you just need to saran wrap it very well, and make sure no air escapes.
Whichever method youre using, you need to store the meat in the fridge for up to 24 hours. A minimum of 8 is needed.
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 Baby Back Ribs On The Grill
Follow these tips for cooking ribs on the grill, and you will have perfect, fall-off-the-bone ribs every time.
- There are many different thoughts on this, but I have made this recipe thousands of times and have never removed the membrane from the ribs. You simply do not need to do this when grilling BBQ baby back ribs.
- Rub both sides of the ribs very well with the rib dry rub. Its called a rub for a reason so rub rub rub and pat pat pat it down!
- Youre going to be cooking baby back ribs on the gas grill for an hour on low, so make sure you have propane in your tank.
- Only baste with BBQ sauce in the last 15 to 20 minutes of grilling, or the sugar in the sauce will burn.
- Let your grilled baby back ribs rest for at least 15 minutes before cutting them. If you skip this step, the ribs will lose their juiciness and become dry.
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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Best Dry Rub For Ribs
- Packed brown sugar
- Salt; preferably Himalayan sea salt
- Chili powder
- Mustard powder
When you dry rub baby back ribs, our Rib Rub Recipe is therub to use. Its part of what makes this the best baby back ribs recipe! You can use the dry rub of your choice, but we highly recommend giving this recipe a try.
How To Gas Grill The Best Pork Ribs Ever
So now, let’s get to this delicious grilled pork rib recipe! I know that grilling pork ribs can seem intimidating. I hesitated to grill ribs for a long time. I just thought there were too many steps and that I needed to learn how to use a smoker or to create some sort of makeshift smoker. All of that is well and good, but it’s not absolutely necessary to create delicious, tender, flavorful pork ribs. And yes, you can do it on a gas grill! Just make sure your propane tank is full and I’m gonna show you how you can do this without any fancy tools or tricks.;
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Baby Back Ribs Vs Spareribs
When shopping for baby back ribs, you may also see pork spareribs at the butcher counter. Whats the difference between them? Can you substitute spareribs for baby back ribs in recipes?
The biggest differences between baby back ribs and spareribs are size, cook time, and fat content. Baby back ribs are cut from the top of the ribs, while spareribs are cut from the bottom area. Baby back ribs are leaner and more tender than spareribs, which are fattier and tougher. The last major difference is pricebaby back ribs tend to be more expensive than spareribs.
While you can substitute spareribs for baby back ribs, youll need to adjust the cook time accordingly. Because spareribs are a larger cut of meat than baby back ribs, theyll take longer to cook. For example, at the same oven temperature, you can expect spareribs to take up to an hour longer to cook than baby back ribs.
Can I Cook Baby Back Ribs In The Oven
Yes! Heres how to cook our;Smithfield baby back;ribs in the oven:
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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.
How Long Do You Cook Pork Ribs On The Grill
Normally I would recommend using an instant read thermometer to gauge the doneness of meat on the grill; however, that method can be a little tricky with this method.; Its recommended that pork is done around 145°F, but you need to cook pork ribs to around 190°F to 200°F to really break down fat and collagen, resulting in a tender finished texture.; Also, given that the ribs are wrapped in foil, its hard to figure out where to put the thermometer without unwrapping the ribs.
Ive tested this recipe several times and have found that 1 hour over direct medium heat will give you tender ribs that dont fall off the bone .; Just make sure youre maintaining 350°F 400°F within the covered grill, and the ribs will turn out great every time.
In this recipe, the ribs go back on the grill uncovered for 10 to 12 minutes longer to allow them to soak up hickory smoke and a barbecue sauce baste.; Youre not really cooking the ribs during this phase just infusing them with flavor.
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How To Tell When The Ribs Are Done
The ribs are done when the meat easily flakes with a fork. They will be tender, and much of the fat will be cooked out or easy to separate from the lean meat. As you can see from the photo below, these fully-cooked ribs still have browning from the grill, but they were made tender by slow cooking in the oven. Dont be confused by ribs being done with being tender. Theoretically, these ribs can be eaten when they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees F, which means they are cooked when they finish on the grill. However, ribs need to cook longer at a low temperature to tenderize the meat. And this recipe makes very tender ribs!
If you cook only one rack of ribs instead of the two listed in the recipe, you may have to shorten the oven cooking time by a few minutes. When cooking one rib rack, check it after 1 1/2 hours of oven cooking time to see if it is tender and easily flakes with a fork.
The ultimate test to see if the ribs are tender is to take a bite. If they are not to your liking, place them back in the oven and cook them a little longer.
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.
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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.
Tips For Making Smoked Baby Back Ribs On A Pellet Grill:
The key to the perfect baby back ribs on the pellet grill is to cook them low and slow.; These ribs will be cooked at 225*F for about 4 to 5 hours.
Remember these will take a while to cook, do not expect them to be done early.
Its best to get the internal temperature to about 185*F.; This is a great temperature to get a combination of ribs that fall off the bone slightly, but not completely.; This temperature makes the meat perfectly tender and it just really melts in your mouth.
I suggest doing the brown sugar rub in the recipe card or your own choice of rib rub to give them some additional flavor, then when they are cooked, add a nice layer of barbecue sauce before serving.
Let the ribs rest for about 10-15 minutes before cutting them and serving.
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How To Make A Dry Rub
A rack of baby back ribs is nothing without a good spice rub! A quality rub should not only help to tenderize the meat, but it should also impart a deep, complex flavor profile. Although store-bought rubs can be delicious, I often find theyre either too salty or missing a little something. By throwing together a homemade rub we can ensure its well-balanced and tasty as all-heck!
Lets dig through the pantry together:
- Brown Sugar- sugar is a natural tenderizer, which means moist, supple meat. The caramelized, molasses-like flavor also pairs well with BBQ sauce.
- Onion & Garlic Powder- both are sweeter and less-assertive versions of their natural counterparts. They add roasted, caramel like undertones.
- Smoked Paprika- ribs love to be coated in anything super rich and smoky!
- Kosher Salt & Pepper- salt helps to develop flavor and tenderize meat. Pepper kicks up the smoky goodness.
- Cumin- earthy, nutty and somewhat bitter, cumin is perfect for adding dimension and aroma.
- Cajun Seasoning- boosts the smoky, garlicky, peppery flavor elements that we associate with barbecue and grilling.
- Chili Powder- adds a mild, herby heat.
- Mustard Powder- mustard has a clean, tangy flavor that is a perfect counterpoint to rich ingredients like beef.
- Cayenne Pepper- heat aint ever hurt nobody! Well, at least not a few dashes of it anyway.
There Is A Distinct Difference Between Grilling And Barbecuing
The main difference? Time. Barbecuing is a long, slow process over low heat, producing deliciously tender, juicy meat from cuts that may be tough and dry when cooked more quickly. Grilling is reserved for chicken breasts and burgers, which are cooked over high heat for a short period of time.;
Now, I understand that I am lucky to live in the great state of Texas where we know good barbecue from bad and most people have the luxury of space to hold at the very least a charcoal grill. Which is what we have in our backyard, alongside the trusty gas grill.
While it might be ideal to BBQ ribs in a smoker, those are a little harder to come by, even for Texans. The amount of use a smoker would get in our backyard just doesn’t justify the cost or amount of space it would take up. So the charcoal grill will do just fine. And that’s how we made these delicious baby back ribs.
I say ‘we’ because I am not the resident griller in the Table household. That job is for Mr. Table. He enjoys drinking a cold beer, manning the fire and cooking meat all day. And he’s good at it. So in this case, I’m just here to prep the food and explain what’s happening.
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Learn How Simple It Is To Make Smoked Baby Back Ribs On A Pellet Grill
I am becoming a pro at using our pellet grill.; My husband has ALWAYS been the one that grills and smokes different meats but lately after we purchased the pellet grillits made it so easy, I am using it regularly too.
It really is a cheating way to smoke and grill things, but it works and its so simple.;
Smoked Baby Back Ribs are a wonderful choice to make on a pellet grill.; If you prefer to make them indoors, try these Ninja Foodi Baby Back Ribs.;
How Long Does It Take To Cook Baby Back Ribs On A Charcoal Grill
Cook for about 2 hours, rotating every 30 minutes or so to expose different edges to the hot side of the fire. After 1 ½ to 2 hours, wrap the ribs tightly in foil and place back on the grill to seal in the juices while you continue cooking for another 30 minutes or so.
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