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How to Cook Ribs on the Grill

Cooking pork or beef ribs on the grill gives them a delicious, smoky flavor. Start with a dry rub or marinade, and cook the ribs at a low temperature for an hour so. For the low-heat part of the cooking, you can choose between the oven, an instant pressure cooker, a smoker, or the grill. Then, finish them over direct heat on the grill.



Preparing the Meat


Pick the right meat for the grill. Most pork ribs will do well on the grill, as long as you prepare them correctly and pre-cook them at a low temperature for an hour or two. However, baby back ribs and spare ribs are the easiest to cook. You can cook beef back ribs the same way you cook pork ribs. However, if you want to cook beef short ribs, you'll need to spend much longer cooking them in the low-and-slow portion, as long as 6-8 hours.

  • If your ribs are frozen, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight.


Remove the silverskin with a sharp knife. The silverskin is the membrane on the concave side of the ribs. Stick a knife under the membrane on one end of the ribs. Once you get the edge up, peel up the membrane with your hands. Use a paper towel to grab it if you're having trouble holding on to it.

  • Try not to pierce the membrane or the ribs when inserting the knife.
  • Toss the membrane when you're done peeling it off.

Soak the ribs in a marinade overnight for extra flavor. A marinade is just a flavorful mixture of liquids and spices. You can use a combination of ingredients, such as soy sauce, chicken broth, worcestershire sauce, vinegar, lemon, lime sugar, cumin, garlic, onion powder, chile powder, oregano, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.

  • For a simple marinade, try 0.75 cups (180 mL) of chicken broth, 0.75 cups (180 mL) of soy sauce, 0.5 cup (100 g) of sugar, 6 tablespoons (89 mL) of apple cider vinegar, and 6 tablespoons (89 mL) of olive oil. Add 3 cloves of minced garlic, and stir to combine. Pour 2/3 of the marinade over the meat in a shallow dish and let it sit overnight, flipping the meat occasionally.
  • Some cooks swear by marinades, while others prefer dry rubs. The truth is, you can use both when cooking ribs. The marinade will soak into the main part of the meat, making it flavorful and juicy, while the dry rub will work on the outside of the meat.
  • If you don't have time to marinate the ribs overnight, give them at least a couple of hours.

Pat the ribs dry and dispose of the marinade. Pour off the marinade. Use paper towels to dry off the meat so that the spice rub will adhere.

  • You don't need to save marinade, as you only used 2/3 of your recipe. Use the rest of it while cooking.

Apply a spice rub. For the rub, use a combination of spices and other flavorful ingredients, such as garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, oregano, cayenne pepper, stone-ground mustard, and brown sugar. Combine the ingredients, and use your hands to rub it on the meat before you start cooking it.

  • For an easy rub, try 3 parts kosher salt, 2 parts chili powder, 2 parts dark brown sugar, 2 parts paprika, 1 part garlic powder, and 1 part ground mustard. A dash of black pepper would also be tasty.



Pre-cooking the Ribs Low and Slow


Heat the ribs in the oven at 300 °F (149 °C) for an easy method. Cover a baking tray with aluminum foil, then set a wire baking rack in it. Place the ribs bone-side down in the tray, and heat them for 30 minutes. Brush marinade on both sides of the ribs and turn them over. Keep brushing the ribs with the marinade and turning them every 30 minutes or so for 2-4 hours.

  • Check that the internal temperature reaches 145 °F (63 °C).

Use an instant pressure cooker to quickly cook and tenderize the meat. Pour some marinade in the bottom of the pot. Lean the ribs against the inside of the pot and each other so they're standing on end. Place the lid on the pot, and bring the pot to high pressure for 9 minutes, and then let it slowly release pressure over 10 minutes.

  • Carefully release the rest of the pressure by opening the valve on top. Keep your hands and face out of the way of the steam.

Place the ribs in a smoker at 225 °F (107 °C) for extra smokiness. Put the ribs bone-side down in the smoker. Brush the ribs every hour or so with the marinade. Cook the ribs for 4 to 5 hours, until they reach an internal temperature of 145 °F (63 °C).

  • Any kind of smoker will work for this process, as long as you maintain a constant temperature. Try cherry, apple, or mesquite wood for a flavorful smoke.

Grill over indirect heat for one-method cooking. Oil the grill first. To create indirect heat, either pile the charcoal on one side or light only one part of the grill. Set the meat bone-side down off to one side. Do not place it directly over the heat. Cook each side of the meat for 30 minutes, applying marinade several times. If the ribs aren't fork-tender yet, cook them for longer.

  • Aim for 225 °F (107 °C) for a gas grill.
  • You can soak wood chips in water and place them on the charcoal or in the bottom of the gas grill if you want the meat to have a smokey flavor.


Finishing the Ribs over Direct Heat


Move the ribs to direct heat on the grill. Whatever method you used to cook your ribs low-and-slow, you can move them to the grill at this point. Heat an oiled grill to about 225 °F (107 °C) or a bit higher before setting the ribs over the direct heat.

Baste with barbecue sauce or marinade. You can keep using the same marinade you've been basting with all along. However, you can also finish with a barbecue sauce. Brush the sauce on every 5-10 minutes to start building up a thick coating on the outside.

  • You can use store-bought barbecue sauce or make your own.

Cook the ribs 20-40 minutes more to reach peak tenderness. Flip the ribs occasionally during this process, every 10 minutes or so. That way, the ribs will heat evenly on both sides, browning the sauce as you go.

  • To check for doneness, pierce the meat with a fork. It should slide through the meat fairly easily.

Slice the ribs between the bones. Let the ribs rest for 5-10 minutes under tented foil. Use a sharp knife to cut the rib rack into individual ribs by cutting the meat between the bones.


Post time: Jan-18-2022