There are various recipes for cooking ribs with various ingredients. Pork ribs are very popular items to cook and you can find details of basic grilling techniques for getting perfect ones. You will find some recipes use hickory chips to get a unique smoky flavor in the ribs while some use dry rubs on the ribs. While you may wonder how to grill ribs, here we will talk about some basic principles to get delicious grilled ribs.

How to Grill Ribs


Buy the Ribs

Baby back ribs and spare ribs are the 2 most popular types of pork ribs and there are quite significant differences in the two cuts. Choose one according to your taste.

  • ŸThe Baby Back ribs range from 3–6 inches in length and have more meat. They are from the top part of the rib cage.

  • ŸSpare ribs have tenderer meat due to high fat content and they are taken from the under the portion of the back ribs.


Remove the Membrane

A thin skin or membrane is present on the bone side of the rack, which is a tough barrier and should be removed prior to cooking. It does not allow flavor to permeate the meat. The membrane can be removed using a blunt or butter knife. The knife should be moved around a little membrane first so that it gets loosened. Once you get a good grip you can remove the membrane.


Prepare the Ribs

Once the membrane is removed, trim off any excess tissue from the ribs and rinse it in cold water to remove any loose matter. And then prepare a dry rub with brown sugar, black and white pepper, paprika and other spices, or use a ready one. Pour the mix on both sides of the ribs and rub it into the meat Place it on a plate, covered with tin foil and refrigerate for an hour.


Prepare the Charcoal

The type of wood you use to smoke the meat will give it a distinctive flavor. Mesquite or hickory wood chips are the most popular types. It is recommended that you immerse the wood chips in water for 30 minutes before smoking.


Heat Up Your Grill

When grilling, it is important to slow cook the ribs so that the meat turns out tender. You should wait till the ash is formed, after which the briquettes should be moved to one side of the grill. Wood chunks should then be placed on the coal and a small baking pan with 1 inch of water should be placed in the cooler side of the grill. The steam generated from the water helps in keeping the meat moist and tender.


Grill the Ribs

Spare ribs take longer time to cook than back ribs, and it becomes difficult to regulate the heat intensity in a charcoal grill. Recipes give different time for time taken to grill the ribs. Given below are some ways to determine if the ribs are ready.

  • ŸUse meat thermometer. The rib meat cooks at 180 degrees F, but it can difficult to determine the accurate the temperature since the meat is quite thin on the ribs

  • ŸBelieve your eyes. When done, ribs will achieve a rich brown color and will be slightly crusty.

  • Test for the tenderness. Pick up the ribs at the center of the slab using tongs. When the ribs are ready, the meat will slump and crack from the bone.


Brush the Sauce

If you want to sauce your ribs, you should do it when the ribs are nearly done. Brush a thin layer of the barbeque sauce on the ribs, turn them over and apply on the other side. In this manner, you will get a sticky surface on the ribs rather than a thick wet coating. The lib should be closed for five minutes and then repeat process.


Serve the Ribs

After the ribs are removed from the grill, they should be rested for 5–10 minutes. Carve and serve the ribs. They taste best when they are served after the resting period. You can wrap them tightly to keep them warmth if you plan to serve them later.


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