how to grill ribs cover photo

How to Grill Ribs Techniques

This post covers how to grill ribs with three different cooking techniques not recipes for them. I was not a big fan of ribs until I found the proper barbecue sauce to go with them. For me that sauce was Corky’s, for you it may be something else. The perfect balance between sauce and meat made me fall in love with ribs.

Part 1

This first grilling method is used by a famous barbecue joint for their “Dry Rub” style ribs, but it should be easily adapted to sauced ribs.

First you need to prepare a mop: For this you’ll need a 50/50 mix of white distilled vinegar (you should be able to sub another vinegar type) and water and add enough of your rub for flavor. Do not rub the ribs before cooking it will just wash off with the mop anyway.

Preheat your grill: You are looking for around 325 to 350, this should be low to medium heat. Place the ribs directly over the heat on the upper rack (up to 18″ above the heat or as high as you can get). Bone side down until bone side is golden brown (around 30 minutes) . Baste every 10 minutes or so, get them good and wet. Flip the ribs and cook until the meat is to hot to touch and mop one more time.The meat should also be pulling away from the bone at this point.

Cut slabs of ribs suaced on gas grill

Now I have always been a fan of low and slow but if this works I could be cooking ribs every night. This technique is for loin back ribs times would need to be tweaked for spare ribs. I would modify this by adding sauce the last 10 minutes on the grill.

Charlie Vergos Rendezvous Famous Memphis Barbecue Dry Rub Seasoning (4.5 oz) *2-Pack*

Part 2

This technique is from yet another famous barbecue restaurant and is used for sauced ribs or wet ribs. It is designed for use with St. Louis style ribs but could be tweaked for baby backs.

After you have prepared your ribs (rinsed, removed the membrane and added your rub). Place on a 250 degree grill set up for indirect heat, grill meat side up for 3 hours. After the first 3 hours flip the ribs to meat side down and increase the temperature to 300 degrees for another 2 1/2 hours. Then sauce the ribs for the last 30 minutes of cooking time.

Note: there is no basting or moping of any kind here, also they do no mention the type of wood used to cook them, if any. I guess all great chefs like to have their secrets.

This method may produce awesome ribs but I will probably never find out. I consider myself to be a patient man, but no way am I waiting 6 hours to sink my teeth into ribs. I can wait for 4 hours, but I amready to eat them after two.

How to grill ribs: Part 3

This technique is what I use, I read about this from the author of a cookbook and tweaked it to suit my taste. This is best suited for baby backs but may be tweaked for larger slabs, cooking time 3 to 4 hours.

Take your prepared ribs and place them, meat side up on a 225 degree grill set up for indirect heat. Use a drip pan filled with 50/50 water and vinegar for steam. Add apple wood chips in a smoker box for smoke. Baste the ribs with the water/vinegar mix every half hour.

Let them cook this way for 2 hours. Then wrap the ribs tightly in foil with some of the water vinegar mix place back onto the grill for another hour. If you like your ribs “fall off the bone” remove from foil place over direct heat and add barbecue sauce. Let that cook in for 3 to 5 minutes.

If you prefer some chew to your ribs place them back over the indirect heat for another hour max. This tightens the meat back up. They may be removed at anytime during that hour to get the texture you desire. Then move to direct heat and add your sauce. The water vinegar mix may be replace with apple juice.

Experiment with different grilling techniques until you find the one that produces the best tasting ribs for you.


aka Sultan of Sizzle

I have been blogging about and selling grilling tool for over 12 years. A Certified Food Safety Professional, KCBS member, award winning writer and have over 10 years experience in the food service industry.

“I have experienced some of the best food this country has to offer and nothing is better than the food that comes off my own grill!”

This page contains links to 4thegrill’s products and/or revenue generating sponsored links and ads from Amazon and/or Google adsense. 4theGrill is not responsible for the content of the off site links we provide.

How to Grill Ribs
Article Name
How to Grill Ribs
This post covers how to grill ribs with three different cooking techniques not recipes for them. I was not a big fan of ribs until I found the proper barbecue sauce to go with them.
Publisher Name
Publisher Logo
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: