The moment you are in the mood to grill ribs, you are most likely after a magical and savory meaty experience, and there’s a reason why people call grilled ribs the best. Well textured and smoky grilled ribs are all that you want.
Grilling your ribs over an indirect heat gives them a crispy exterior bark, while the meat stays tender, leaving you with the perfect amount of chew.
Getting that authentic barbecue flavor while grilling ribs on a gas grill can be difficult as gas grills are designed for hot and fast cooking, hence are not so efficient when you need to turn a rack of ribs into that tender and smoky barbecue.
This shouldn’t worry you though, for we got you covered with some little tricks you can use to barbeque ribs!
Baby back ribs are the most common grilled rib type due to their tender meat and are readily available in any supermarket as well. Always go for the smaller racks as they tend to have even more tender meat.
Our recipe uses a full rack of trimmed spare ribs, but it also works well with baby back ribs, you just have to reduce the cooking time about 5 minutes per stage. This gives a total cooking time of between 1 ½ and 2 hours.
What You’ll Need
A large enough grill with at least two burners will be ideal since the ribs are going to be cooked indirectly. This means that the heat will not be below the rack of the ribs, but instead will be off the side. The ingredients you will need include:
For the Marinade
¾ cup of soy sauce.
1 cup of sugar, divided.
¾ cup of chicken broth.
6 tablespoons olive oil.
3 garlic cloves, minced.
6 tablespoons cider vinegar.
For the Meat
2 racks of baby-back ribs (about 4 ½ pounds).
For the Spice Rub
2 teaspoons salt.
¼ tablespoon garlic powder.
½ teaspoon chili powder.
1 tablespoon paprika.
½ teaspoon pepper.
Optional barbecue sauce.
Step 1: Prep the Meat
Most ribs bought from the store have a silver-skin, which is a membrane over the underside of the ribs. You have to remove it before you cook. It is pretty much simple, so you don’t have to get worried.
Insert a knife between the membrane and the meat at one end of the ribs. Take care not to pierce the membrane. You can use your fingers by working them under the skin to loosen it. Next is tugging it off.
Use a paper towel wrapped around your hand, for a good and comfortable grip. You then gently pull off the silver-skin which should peel off quite cleanly.
Once done with the trimming, rinse your rack of ribs with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
Step 2: Make the Marinade
Marinating ribs before cooking on a charcoal grill enhances the flavor. It adds a deep taste that makes the meat more satisfying and delicious, which means you won’t need to douse it in barbecue sauce unless you prefer it that way.
Making the marinade is easy, you just stir together with a variety of your liquid spices and let the meat soak in them overnight.
For this recipe, mix the marinade ingredients which includes the soy sauce, olive oil, chicken broth, garlic and the ½ cup of sugar in a bowl or measuring cup with a pour spout for pouring it over the ribs.
Place the ribs in a shallow baking dish and pour two-thirds of the marinade all over the meat. Turn for the coating to cover both sides and then refrigerate overnight.
You need to keep turning the neat occasionally which ensures the meat is marinating evenly. Turning before bedtime and again in the morning is enough.
Step 3: Rub the Ribs
Just as making the marinade, rib rub is also a simple prep. You just toss some ingredients together in a bowl, in this case, we use the remaining ½ cup of sugar, plus salt and seasonings.
Get the ribs out of the fridge, drain and discard the marinade and pat the ribs dry for the spice rub to stick. Then, rub the spice mixture over all sides of the ribs, while patting with your fingertips to enhance its adhesion.
Apply the rub evenly over the meat. This means back and front, as well as the sides and ends. Let the excess fall way as the moist ribs will hold just enough rub that you need.
Get the ribs to the grill within 10 to 20 minutes after applying the rub, as the longer the rub stays, affects the meat texture.
Step 4: Grill
Low and slow cooking is ideal for ribs as for most of the cooking, the ribs stay over indirect heat. a too-hot grill will dry your meat out.
While generating proper smoke on a gas grill while cooking at lower temperatures is a real challenge, you can try and give the ribs a hint of smoke, but they are not going to have a strong smoke flavor. That is the sacrifice of using a gas grill.
The easiest and cheapest way to generate smoke on a gas grill is by throwing in a couple of smoke bombs onto the grill.
Grill placement is the most important part, as you need indirect heat to cook ribs without having to dry them out or overcooking them.
The target is about 375oF/190oC. using tongs, place the ribs right on the grill and set them into place. Cover the grill and grill over indirect heat for 30 minutes on each side.
After grilling for an hour, remove the ribs to direct heat and cook 20-40 minutes longer, or until the pork ribs are tender.
Occasionally, you need to turn and baste with reserved marinade or barbecue sauce, whichever works for you.
Step 5: Test Whether it is Done
You don’t want your ribs to fall off the bone. As such, once the meat starts pulling away from the ends of the bones, you need to start testing for doneness. Pierce the meat using a fork. You should observe the tines gliding through easily.
Twisting a rib bone a little bit also works. You should be able to feel it give easily but not fall apart from the meat. If the meat falls off the bone, it means the ribs are overcooked, and you have to immediately remove the heat and make sure to have sauce just in case they’re dry.
Step 6: Serve
Your appetite is now built up. All you need to do now is to split the ribs into manageable positions, preferably into two-bone sections, using a sharp chef’s knife. Make the cuts as close to the bone as possible so there’s a lot of meat on each one.
Serve with barbecue sauce as it adds an authentic flavor as well as adds to the surface texture of the meat.
Grilling ribs soon? This step by step recipe of grilling the best baby back ribs will do you justice! Enjoy your next cookout of baby back ribs courtesy of our in-depth recipe of how to grill ribs!