How to Cook Ribs on the Grill: The secret to cooking BBQ ribs on the grill is not about the sauce. Check out these Best BBQ Ribs Ever! Seriously. They are the best barbecue ribs on the grill you’ve ever tasted.
Where I come from, BBQ is like grits and sweet tea–it’s a Southern summertime staple. During the warmer months, someone is always cooking a pig or sharing their secret BBQ sauce– along with their opinion on who makes the best–sweet, spicy, or somewhere in between them.
Now there’s always been a debate about which state has the best BBQ sauce, and in South Carolina, there’s also debate about which type of sauce we should really be known for: mustard based or sweet.
However, for me, I don’t really care what the sauce is if the ribs aren’t cooked right. In fact, when you cook the ribs to fall-off-the-bone perfection, the sauce is then left up to you. When you know how to cook ribs on the grill perfectly, your taste testers won’t even care about the sauce. And you shouldn’t, either. You want to spend your time creating that wonderful, juicy and tender meat.
How to Cook Ribs on the Grill
Here’s the best BBQ ribs you’ll ever have- seriously. Are you ready? The secret is in the prep time, long before those ribs hit the grill.
The key to how to cook ribs on the grill is how you handle them ahead of time. It’s the prep work that makes the difference. And just the right tweaks will give you perfect ribs every time.
#1 Prep Your Ribs
I prefer cooking my ribs, and I prefer baby backs, as a whole slab while others like to cut the slab in half or even into smaller pieces. Regardless, you first need to prep the ribs by removing the membrane to ensure a great taste.
The membrane is like grabbing a juicy hamburger from your favorite burger joint and eating it while still wrapped in the paper wrapping. I guess if you’re hungry enough–but I prefer my burger without the paper.
Just flip the ribs over (meat side down), work your fingers under, and pull the membrane away from the bone. Now your ribs are ready for all those spices and seasonings to be worked into the meat.
#2 Then Give Your Ribs a Rub!
But it’s up to you what rub you choose.
Just don’t skip this step! Take the time to work the rub all over the ribs before cooking. Just like removing the membrane, it greatly improves the end result.
#3 Bake Beforehand
Now this is one of those steps that is also debated. For me, I like baking my ribs in the oven low and slow before the grill time. Oven first or complete grill time? I’ve tried them both and my oven baked before adding to the outdoor grill always come out the way I prefer them. However, this step is up to you and how much time you have for grilling. Again, the prep is really where the magic happens, but I share how I add this extra baking time in the printable recipe below.
Other Recipes You May Enjoy
Print how to cook ribs on the grill using my fall-off-the-bone recipe below:
- 2 slabs of baby back ribs
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Paprika
- 1/2 Tablespoon Chili Powder
- 1/2 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 Bottle of BBQ Sauce (your choice of spicy or sweet)
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Remove the membrane (as mentioned above in the post).
- Salt and pepper each side.
- Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl for rub.
- Generously rub mixture all over both sides.
- Using foil, cover the bottom of a baking sheet and crimp the edges. Sort of like a pocket to trap the heat and juices while baking.
- Bake the ribs for 2 1/2 hours or until the meat is shrinking from the bone.
- Remove from the oven and allow the ribs to rest while you prep your grill.
- While grilling, brush on the BBQ Sauce of your choice, grilling each side until desired crispness--that's up to you since the ribs are already done.