Choosing Ribs For The Grill
There are four different cuts of pork ribs , and any will work. However, the easiest cut is baby back ribs, which are cut to cook evenly, so youll have great results every time.
Personally, I like spareribs which are a bit meatier but slightly harder to cut apart after cooking. If you go with a meatier cut like this one, you might need to be on the upper end for timing on each step in the recipe to make sure the ribs have enough time to break down.
How To Prepare The Ribs
The key to any good round of ribs is proper preparation. This stage can make or break the success of your meal and neglecting good prep will give you bland, inferior ribs. Simply throwing them as you bought them onto the grill isnt going to cut it.
For your rib choice, I suggest going for pork. And then there are 2 varieties: Spare or baby back ribs.
Personally, I prefer spare. Theyre cut from the belly-end of the ribs, so are much meatier. Baby back are a little shorter but still an excellent choice. Cooking time tends to be about 4-5 hours for spare and 3-4 for baby back.
Its also important to bear in mind that your grill will dictate the size of the rack that you can cook at once. We want as much of the ribs to be exposed at once, so its not a good idea to pile them on top of each other. As a result, you will probably only be able to fit one rack of spareribs on the grill or two racks of baby back. Keep this in mind when preparing your ribs.
You will then need to cut the ribs down to just the rib rack. If you havent done this before, check out my full guide on how to trim spare ribs.
Start by removing the membrane from the rack. Not a lot of grillers do this, but doing so removes this thin skin off the back of the ribs, allowing them to be tender and packed full of flavor.
Are Grilled Ribs The Same As Bbq Ribs
You may be wondering if grilling ribs is the same as barbecuing ribs. Technically, theyre two different types of ribs using very different techniques.
Barbecue comes from the Spanish word barbacoa, which originated with the Taino people one of the native inhabitants of the Caribbean islands before the arrival of Europeans. The Tainos would cook meat over smoking embers for a long period of time so that the meat would be infused with the smoke flavor and remain tender. That technique evolved to our modern form of American barbecue, but the essential technique has remained the same: you are basically smoking the meat over a very long period of time. While you can do this at home, it is a long, labor-intensive process that can sometimes take a full 24 hours and uses a lot of fuel. As well, you need special equipment to cook BBQ ribs.
Grilling, on the other hand, means to simply cook food over flames covered with a grate. You can grill pretty much anything very quickly. The only problem is that for tougher cuts of meat, like ribs, you need long, gentle cooking to get the meat tender. The solution for most home cooks is to boil, braise, or bake the ribs first until theyre tender and then grill them to get a nice smokey char. As long as you have a grill any type of grill you can grill ribs quite easily.
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How To Grill Ribs In 4 Easy Steps
Grilling ribs should not be intimidating. Follow these tips for fall-off-the-bone tender ribs then watch your guests fall over for them.
With a focus on fine meats and how to cook them, our series A Cut Above will guide you to become the ultimate grill master. Fire up the grill and cook enough food to feed a crowd with this easy ribs recipe from Nick Evans of Macheesmo.
Is there anything more impressive at a summer BBQ than bringing out a huge plate of succulent and saucy ribs? Heck no! Cant you already hear the oohs and aahs? But as delicious as ribs are, making them can be intimidating, and the last thing you want to do is mess them up after an entire day of slow grilling.
There are many expert rib recipes out there, and some require specific grills and smoker methods. Of course, those are wonderful, but not everyone has pitmaster-level equipment. If you have just a standard grill, here are my quick tips for making easy yet delicious ribs.
Liquid Smoke Is Real Smoke
Now we get to the real question: How do you get smoky flavor into ribs without actual smoke? Some sous vide recipes use a hybrid method, either starting or finishing the ribs in the smoker to add real smoke flavor to them. To me, this seems to miss the point. If I’m willing to fire up the smoker, then there are any number of traditional recipes out there that don’t necessarily require sous vide for great results. I want a method that allows me to cook the ribs indoors from start to finish, no actual fire necessary.
J. Kenji López-Alt
Liquid smoke gets a bum rap, but it shouldn’t. The good brands, such as Wright’s or Colgin, are quite literally nothing more than smoke and water in a bottle. To make it, manufacturers burn hardwoodjust like you would in your smokerthen run the moist smoke through a condenser, where water vapor condenses and traps the smoky constituentsjust like how water vapor condenses and deposits smoke flavor on the surface of meat. This water drips down and is collected and packed into bottles.
According to flavor and fragrance experts Leffingwell & Associates, the vast majority of compounds that lend smoke its unique aromasmoky phenols derived from burnt wood lignin, and burnt caramelscented cyclopentenones from cellulosemake their way into those liquid smoke bottles as well. In taste tests I’ve held, most folks cannot tell the difference between truly smoked meats and those treated with judiciously applied liquid smoke.
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How Do I Season A Rack Of Ribs For Grilling
I add canola, grapeseed, or avocado oil all over the top and bottoms of the ribs, as an adherent. I like to put only one rub on the bottom of the ribs. Try not to use a rub with a lot of sugar. That sugar can burn and taste bitter. I always use the Head Country Original Championship Seasoning. On the tops of the ribs, I like to layer the flavors, so I use 2-3 seasonings there. I always put the Original Championship down first, and then I put High Plains Heat on second. Then, I spritz it and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
How To Charcoal Grill Ribs
Now that our grill is ready, its time to get this rib cook-off going! Place the racks on the grate of the grill, ensuring that theyre placed on the half of the grate without charcoal underneath it, next to the water pan. Place them with the rib side of the rack facing down.
Aim to cook for 3-4 hours for baby back ribs, or 4-5 hours for spare ribs.
After one hour check on the ribs, making sure that the charcoals are burning nicely and keeping the grill hot. Also check that theres enough water in the pan to maintain a healthy supply of steam.
Add a few more wood chunks to the coals and turn the ribs over to help give you a more even cook.
Check out our guide to smoking ribs on a gas grill
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Prepare A Great Barbecue Sauce
It doesn’t matter which cooking method you’re using: Barbecue sauce is an essential element of any great rack of baby back ribs. However, a major mistake many people make when preparing ribs is putting on the sauce way too early, resulting in burned bits of sauce and undercooked meat. For optimal results, brush your ribs with barbecue sauce during the last 30 to 40 minutes of cooking time . Start off by brushing on a few thin coats, always keeping an eye on the rack. That sugar in barbecue sauces will add beautiful caramelization and flavor, but if it cooks too long or at too high of a heat, it will burn. Just before serving, it’s OK to add even more sauce.
How Long Does It Take For Ribs To Cook On The Grill
Baby back ribs on low temperature heat take about 3 to 3 1/2 hours to cook. Ribs are cooked at 145° but they start to fall off the bone around 200°
RIBS WILL FALL OFF THE BONE WHEN THEY ARE COOKED TO ABOUT 200°
PRO TIP: If you dont have a thermometer to know when the ribs are done, the best way to tell is to use tongs to lift the ribs. If when you lift them, the bones pull away from the meat you know they are done.
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Optional: Make Smoke Bombs For Added Flavor
Because gas grills burn fuel relatively quickly, they dont release as much smoke as charcoal or pellet grills.
Meat cooked on a gas grill wont have that same smoky flavor.
Thats where the smoke bombs come in. Wrap the half-cup of damp wood chips in a single layer of aluminum foil. Poke several holes in the foil.
Place the smoke bombs under the cooking grate as close as possible to the lit burners.
When you see smoke coming out, place the ribs in the grillbone side downand close the lid.
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.
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The Best Way To Grill Uncooked Ribs
The key is to keep the heat low and cook the ribs slow. Indirect heat is preferable, at a temperature between 250F to 300F. A rack of back ribs will take between 1 1/2 -2 hours to cook , and you should flip them approximately every 20 minutes. Baste with BBQ sauce each time you flip. To check for doneness and tenderness, insert a sharp-knife between two ribs, it should insert without any resistance.
Originally published July 2014.
How Much Rub Should I Use
Theres no hard and fast rule, but you should make sure to have enough rub to generously cover the entire surface of the rib rack. Its better to go slightly overboard than to skimp on this step. Try to have at least 1/4 cup of rub on hand for each full rack of ribs.
Tip: The amount of rub or seasoning is entirely up to you and your liking. Apply seasoning to your taste and watching out for seasoning such as pepper, kids do not like too much pepper.
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How To Grill Ribs On A Propane Grill
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A propane grill is a must-have asset for every kitchen. Grilling ribs is an exciting outdoor activity that gives you a chance to prepare finger-licking recipes.
A propane grill is efficient, cleaner, and safer than other fuel sources.
The crucial step about grill ribs is the grill set up. If you get it right, you are almost done with your grilling experience.
Unfortunately, if you dont get it right, you can count the chance gone wrong and try another time.
When using a propane grill, you use indirect heat. The will be no flame to burn the meat directly over the burner.
This is true for all grills, no matter how different it may be.
So, delve into learning the skill, and using any other grill will be the same, save for the recipe.
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.
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How To Make Tender Ribs On The Grill
- The first tip when cooking ribs is to always remove the silver skin membrane. Take a sharp knife and lift up the membrane at one end on the backside of the baby backs. If you use a paper towel once you start to pull it up it will come up super easily. You can check out this video from Barbecue Tricks to see the exact way to do it.
- Rub the dry spice rub onto both sides of the ribs to add flavor to every bite.
- Grilling on indirect heat at a low temp for a longer time also adds to the tenderness the ribs breakdown, but doesnt dry out and get burned by being on high heat.
- Grill the pork back ribs on indirect heat. Turn on the burners to low temperature heat. If you have a large grill, turn on the two outer burners and then set the ribs on the section where there are no flames. If you have a smaller grill, heat one side and leave the other side of the grill off.
- You may want to cut a full rack of ribs to smaller racks to fit on a smaller grill so they are completely off of any flame while slow cooking.
- If you want you can create a drip pan by making a foil pan with aluminum foil underneath them. Since its indirect heat you can lay the tray just below the ribs underneath the cooking grate where there is no flames to catch the drippings.
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.
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Smoking Ribs For Beginners Recipe
This recipe is aimed at Smoking Ribs for Beginners but that doesnt mean I dont have a few pro tips included as well
This guide will give you all the knowledge you need to confidently smoke ribs that will be the talk of the neighborhood. We will discuss how to season the ribs.
How long to smoke the ribs and what temperature to smoke ribs along with lots of details to up your barbecue game.
How To Apply Bbq Sauce
When the ribs are approaching done, apply your BBQ sauce. Be careful here: as tempting as it might be to thickly paste on the sauce, I strongly recommend spreading it in thin layers. Doing this will give us the satisfying and sticky surface of our ribs.
If we apply it to thickly then it wont have the chance to dry, giving us a disgusting wet coating.
Layer carefully by applying a thin layer on one side, before turning over and doing the other side. Once both sides are coated, close the lid on your grill and leave for 5 minutes before repeating the process again. Repeat 4-5 times in total. Once done, remove from heat and put to one side.
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How To Make Bbq Ribs On A Gas Grill
Want great BBQ Ribs but only have a Gas Grill? This is the best method for making the most of the equipment you have.
Not using a Gas Grill? See:
Barbecue is a process of cooking meats at low temperatures for long periods of time in a smoky environment. Gas grills are not known for their ability to produce much smoke flavor, but making delicious ribs that have barbecue flavor is possible. Follow these instructions for the best barbecue methods as these steps will produce tender, flavorful ribs that might not win any competitions, but will certainly satisfy your appetite.
For the purposes of this article, I am using a single rack of pork spare ribs. If you want to use baby back ribs, reduce the cooking time by 5 minutes per step. For spare ribs, the total cooking time should take about one and a half to two hours. Use a grill large enough to indirectly cook the entire rack. Small, two-burner gas grills typically dont have enough space. If the heat source is on one side only, make sure to rotate the ribs every thirty minutes for even cooking.
What you need:
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- Aluminum foil
Buy the A-Maze-N 12 inch Pellet Tube to make smoke on a gas grill.
Time needed: 6 hours.
How to Make BBQ Ribs on a Gas Grill