Pork Ribs On The Grill
You guys, it has been HOT here in San Diego over this past week.; Like rolling black out hot.; So Ive been grilling almost every dinner, trying to avoid using my oven as much as possible.; These Pork Ribs on the Grill, sponsored by the National Pork Board, have perhaps been the tastiest thing Ive thrown on the grill all summer long.
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When making pork ribs, I would normally wrap them in foil and cook them low and slow in the oven, and then finish them on the grill.; Since Ive been avoiding my oven, I thought it would be fun to see if I could cook pork ribs 100% on the grill.; Spoiler alert:; It works !
Remove The Membrane From The Back Of The Rack Of Ribs
The ribs I purchased already had the membrane removed from the back of the racks so I didnt have to do this before coating with my dry rub. Its important to remove this part of the ribs before cooking.
- At one end of the rack, slide a dinner knife under the;membrane;and over a bone.
- Lift and loosen the;membrane;until it tears.
- Grab the edge of the;membrane;with a paper towel and pull it off.
- The;membrane;may come off in one whole piece, or you may need to;remove;it in smaller pieces.
How To Prep Ribs
The key to making the best ribs ever starts with knowing what to look for when buying your ribs, and the proper way to prepare them for the grill or smoker.
- When shopping for ribs, choose the ones that have an even layer of meat across the ribs. You dont want a large amount of meat on one end and little to no meat on the other end.
- Shy away from slabs with exposed ribs, known as shiners, which means they were cut too close to the bone and the bone may fall out during the cooking process.
- Look for the meat to have a light pink pale color, with even marbling across the ribs.;
- Avoid ribs that are enhanced , meaning they have an added solution of 10-15 percent of its weight. You dont want to pay for water! The ideal weight of a slab of ribs is approximately 2- 2 ½ pounds and will contain 12 to 13 ribs.
- You will need a cutting board large enough to handle the ribs, a sharp knife, and a kitchen butter knife.
- Open your package of ribs, pat them dry with a paper towel, and lay them out on a cutting board meat side up.
- Inspect your ribs; with a sharp knife trim off any dangling meat, excess fat, loose rib bones on the ends, and any silver skin you might see.
- Turn the ribs over to remove the membrane covering the rib bones. Its important to remove this membrane so your rub can get into the meat.
- Start by inserting the dull butter knife on top of a rib bone on the small end of the rack; push the knife upwards to loosen the membrane.
RUBBING THE RIBS
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What Do I Need To Make Grilled Baby Back Ribs
Lets start by gathering the ingredients we need to make Grilled Baby Back Ribs. In Chef Speak this is called the Mise en Place which translates into Everything in its Place.
Not only does setting your ingredients up ahead of time speed the cooking process, but it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
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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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 Use The Rib Rub
When you’re ready to use the rub, be sure that the ribs are dry to the touch; use paper towels to wipe the ribs dry before applying the rub evenly and generously. As a general rule, the amount of rub that sticks to the meat is perfect; stop adding it once the spices begin to fall off. The dry rub is designed to be cooked slow and low . While a smoker is preferred in Kansas City, you can also prepare the ribs on a charcoal grill, gas grill, or in the oven.
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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.
Score Some Boneless Short Ribs
Sure, bones add deep flavor when you’re slow-cooking short ribs. But when you’re sizzling them in a flash, it’s all about exposed surface area. When the robust direct heat of the grill meets the abundant fat in beef short ribs, you’ll get irresistibly crispy bits on the outside. Even better, the marbling means that the interior stays juicy after it’s hit with medium-high heat.
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How Do You Prep Ribs
To ensure you are serving the best ribs EVER, you do need to do a little prep work, ideally you would do this the day before you are cooking them. You will need to remove the membrane if it is still intact, you can also ask your butcher to do this for you. They need a dry brine and rub to really help to tenderize them, and they should be left for at least 8 hours before you start to cook them.
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.
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Getting The Ribs Ready To Cook
Finish The Ribs On The Grill
To get that delicious char on the ribs, I finish them on the grill. Once you remove them from the oven, brush your favorite BBQ sauce on the top. On a medium heated grill , place the ribs top side down . While that side chars, brush more BBQ sauce on the ribs. Char the ribs for about 10 minutes total, flipping halfway through and adding BBQ sauce as needed.
Since the ribs will be SO tender coming out of the oven, they may split when grilling. I use two sets of tongs, one on each side, to flip them and help them from falling apart.
The best way to cut baby back ribs is curved side up. This allows you to see the bones and make even slices. Use a good sharp knife to do so. Serve with extra BBQ sauce on the side.
These slow cooked oven ribs are literally fall off the bone. I hope you enjoy these juicy, tender, fall-off-the-bone dry rubbed ribs!
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Video: How To Make Baby Back Ribs
To see the entire process from start to finish, be sure to watch the video in the recipe card at the bottom of this post!
While I have several rib recipes already here on the site, I figured it best to start at the beginning.
The key things to remember are start with a dry rub , baste with a mop sauce while cooking and glaze with barbecue sauce until sticky and tender.
How to remove the membrane from baby back ribs:
First, start with removing the thin, papery membrane from the back of each rack by inserting a knife under it. The best place to start is on one of the middle bones. Using a paper towel, or pliers to secure a grip and peel off the membrane. Most times your butcher has already done, this , but its good practice to make sure!
Then dry rub your ribs with spices for at least 2 hours, but overnight is best.
As they grill, brush with the mop sauce and perfection awaits. Brush again after theyre tender and cooked through with your favorite BBQ sauce, or not, and grill the ribs until the BBQ sauce is browned and bubbling, a couple minutes per side.
Remove from the grill and let the ribs rest for a few minutes, then cut the ribs. Its that easy.
What Are Baby Back Ribs
Did you know that the two most commonly sold types of ribs are Baby Back Ribs and St. Louis Style Spareribs. Baby Back Ribs also go by the names pork loin back ribs, back ribs, or loin ribs.
Why do they call them baby back ribs?
The upper ribs are called baby back ribs, but not because they come from a baby pig, but because they are shorter in relation to the bigger spareribs.
St. Louis Style Spareribs are meaty and cut from the belly. They are usually trimmed down by cutting away the breastbone so the slab is more rectangular in shape.
Are baby back ribs from pork or beef?
They are from the pig, so they are pork.
How long does it take to grill BBQ ribs?
- This recipe is for 6 pounds, or 2 racks, of baby back pork ribs. Preheat gas grill or smoker to 225°F and grill for 4 1/2 to 5 hours total. See recipe below for details.
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How Long Does It Take To Cook Ribs On A Grill
Total, 5-1/2 to 5-3/4 hours. To start, you will cook the ribs for 3 hours at 300 degrees with no foil or covering. Spritz it about every 30 minutes , just to make it moist. This will keep a hard bark from developing. At 3 hours, youre ready to wrap. Youll put the rack from the grill onto the foil. At this point you will add a light coating of brown sugar over the top of the ribs. Then, I add 3-4 ounces of Coca Cola per rack. Fold the aluminum foil in a A-frame shape, crimping the foil at the top. Load the ribs back onto the grill and cook for 2-1/2 to 2-3/4 more hours, decreasing the temperature to 250 degrees F. Then, if desired, its time to glaze. Lightly use a brush, distributing the glazeI often just use Head Country Apple Habaneroback and forth across the ribs. The ribs go back on the grill at 250 degrees for about 5 minutes, to let the glaze set. Pull the ribs off the grill and allow them to rest for 5 minutes before slicing from the top to the bone-side with an electric knife.
What Is A Dry Rub
A dry rub is a mixture of spices, salt, sugar, herbs, zest and just about any other aromatics youd like to flavor meat and poultry with.
It can be as simple as you like or layered with complex flavors for a perfect bite every time.
Remember, this is your dinner, make it like you want it to taste.
After preparing the dry rub, the next step is placing a generous coating of the rub on the ribs and actually rubbing it in a bit. Coat both sides of the ribs with the dry rub.
Believe it or not youre almost ready to grill the ribs!
Cut 8 sections of foil approximately 15 inches by 18 inches.
Wrap each section in one piece of foil, tucking the end pieces in to make a package.
Repeat this process with another piece of foil for each half rack. Place the rack in the opposite direction so the seams arent running the same way.
*I like to cut the racks in half before cooking because it makes it easier to serve the individual pre-cut portions. And the smaller racks are easier to flip during the final grilling process when you sauce and brown the ribs.
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