Cooking baby back ribs, beef short ribs, or pork spare ribs is really a labor of love for your friends and family.
Most BBQ ribs recipes
aren't hard to make but barbecuing ribs to perfection can take up to 5 hours. We'll show you the "low and slow" method and also how to
bbq ribs in just 1 hour.
Basic BBQ Ribs Recipe Ingredients
Rack of Beef or Pork Ribs
(plan on 1 lb per person)
BBQ Rib Rub (store bought, or homemade)
The process of keeping the ribs moist over the long grilling period is called "mopping".
To do this, periodically spray them with liquid (apple juice, beer, water).
And/or brush on a basting sauce.
A popular mopping technique is to place the ribs on the upper rack of your grill with
a drip pan on the lower rack filled with liquid (apple juice, beer, etc.)
If you lack an upper rack on your grill, you can place a mini-rack on top
of a drip pan. Just make sure it's big enough to hold your ribs.
This way you can use the drippings from the ribs to baste them with their
own juices during the grilling process, and the steam from the liquid in the drip pan helps keep everything moist.
(store bought, or homemade)
Grill Prep and Tools for
Meat cleaver (or sharp knife)
Spray bottle of apple cider vinegar
Charcoal Chimney Starter
(Skip if using quick method or gas grill)
Heavy-duty heat resistant gloves
(for handling chimney starter, skip if using quick method or gas grill)
(optional: hickory, apple, maple, mesquite)
Basting Brush for Sauce
Grill-safe baster and drip-pan (optional if using drip-method for basting, see under ingredients: mopping sauce)
Instant-read meat thermometer
How to BBQ Ribs
Low and Slow Method
Every bbq ribs recipe should begin with removing the membrane, cutting-off excess fat, and trimming the end points.
You want to remove the membrane so that your barbecue rib rub and sauce are sure to seep down into the meat.
To remove the membrane use a sharp knife at one end
of the rib rack and cut away the membrane from the meat. It's slippery, so use a paper towel to get a grip on the membrane and then pull it off the
rest of the way.
Lightly spray rib racks with apple cider vinegar. This will tenderize the meat and open up its pores so that your bbq spices and sauce will soak
Coat ribs generously with barbecue rub. For easier handling, use a meat cleaver or sharp knife to shorten the rack of ribs by splitting it in half.
Prepare your grill for high heat (500 degrees F) by filling a charcoal chimney starter completely full. Once pre-burned, pour coals onto one side of the grill.
For this low and slow method bbq ribs recipe, plan on going through about 1 1/2 chimneys of charcoal (lasts up to 5 hours).
Barbeque ribs over direct heat, uncovered, for about 2 - 3 minutes per side. This will sear the ribs to seal in flavor and moisture. Now move the ribs to indirect heat (the other side of your grill where there are no coals) and stack them on top of
Stacking your bbq ribs helps to keep them moist while grilling and naturally bastes them in their own juices.
Add a handful of wood chips to the coals. Place a grill thermometer on the grate or through one of the vents in the lid. Cover the grill and adjust the vents until the internal grill
temperature reaches 225 - 275 degrees F.
Temperature is extremely important when it comes to grilling ribs on the barbeque. Don't guess, use a thermometer. You want to keep the temperature as constant as possible, between 225 - 275 degrees F.
You can maintain the right temperature by checking your grill thermometer frequently, adding charcoal as necessary, and adjusting the
grill vents accordingly: opening them up will increase cooking temperature while closing them decreases it.
When adding coal, NEVER use unburned coal! Always pre-burn them first in a charcoal chimney.
Continue grilling ribs, covered, for about 3 - 5 hours depending on the amount of ribs you're grilling. Every 30 minutes, apply mopping sauce (see options under ingredients) and restack ribs so the bottom ones are on the top and the top ones are on the bottom.
They are done when and instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the ribs registers about 155 degrees F.
If you're using wood chips, throw a handful of chips in as necessary (about every hour).
You only want to use enough wood chips so you can see some light smoke escaping through the vents. You don't want thick smoke pouring out or you will ruin the ribs with an overly-smoked flavor.
Wrapping the wood chips in aluminum foil with some holes poked in the bottom will prevent them from burning down too quickly but still lend your bbq ribs that great smokey flavor.
The last 15 minutes of grilling, use a basting brush to apply your favorite BBQ sauce to the ribs. You don't want to do this step any sooner because
the BBQ sauce will burn.
Just before removing your ribs from the grill, brush on some more bbq sauce and place them over direct heat. Grill each side to caramelize the bbq sauce and add a little char to the edges. Now comes the best
part, eating your perfectly grilled bbq ribs with family and friends.