Have you ever wished you could make Grilled Baby Back Ribs? Keep reading and learn the secrets to making tender, juicy and perfectly seasoned ribs every time.
When I started dating my wife I was on a non-red meat diet. She loved baby back ribs and it was one of those foods I had never gotten into.
I had never worked at a restaurant that served ribs, so I never needed to learn how to cook them. That meant unless we went out to dinner, Lisa was stuck eating precooked packaged varieties of ribs that were sold at the grocery store.
I’m almost ashamed to admit that…sigh.
But I have learned the secret of Grilled Baby Back Ribs and how amazingly easy they are to prepare. And I’m going to share what I’ve learned with you so can get the best pork ribs every time you grill, using your gas grill or charcoal.
What do I need to make Grilled Baby Back Ribs?
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make Grilled Baby Back Ribs. In Chef Speak this is called the Mise en Place which translates into Everything in its Place.
Not only does setting your ingredients up ahead of time speed the cooking process, but it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
If you’re not in the mood to grill my easy-to-make Oven-Baked Baby Back Ribs are delicious!
These are the ingredients used to make my dry rub rib recipe:
- baby back ribs
- barbecue sauce
- brown sugar
- sea salt
- black pepper
- chili powder
- smoked paprika
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- dry mustard
Remove the membrane from the back of the rack of ribs
The ribs I purchased already had the membrane removed from the back of the racks so I didn’t have to do this before coating them with my dry rub seasoning mixture. It’s important to remove this part of the ribs before putting the ribs on the grill.
- Use a cutting board with a damp paper towel under the cutting board for stability..
- Slide a dinner knife under the membrane and over a bone at one end of the rack.
- Lift and loosen the membrane until it tears.
- Grab the edge of the membrane with a paper towel and pull it off.
- The membrane may come off in one whole piece, or you may need to remove it in smaller pieces.
Do I need to make a dry rub for my Grilled Baby Back Ribs?
That’s a tricky question because you don’t have to make a dry rub, but you have to season the ribs. So the short is yes you do.
What is a Dry Rub?
A dry rub is a mixture of spices, salt, sugar, herbs, zest and just about any other aromatics you’d like to flavor meat and poultry with.
It can be as simple as you like or layered with complex flavors for a perfect bite every time.
Remember, this is your dinner, make it like you want it to taste.
After preparing the dry rub, the next step is placing a generous coating of the rub on the ribs and actually rubbing it in a bit. Coat both sides of the ribs with the dry rub.
Believe it or not you’re almost ready to put the ribs on the grill!
Cut 8 sections of foil approximately 15 inches by 18 inches. (or if you’re using the 12-inch roll of foil, make the sections 12 inches by 15 inches). Place the ribs on the foil, bone side down.
Wrap each section in one piece of foil, tucking the end pieces in to make a package.
Repeat this process with another piece of foil for each half rack. Place the rack in the opposite direction so the seams aren’t running the same way.
*I like to cut the racks in half before cooking because it makes it easier to serve the individual pre-cut portions. And the smaller racks are easier to flip during the final grilling process when you sauce and brown the ribs.
How do I cook the ribs and how high should the grill temperature be?
Place the double-wrapped ribs on the preheated grill (350 degrees F). You’re going to use indirect heat to cook the ribs for 2.5 hours.
This means the heat will come from the grill elements on each side of the ribs, not directly under it. This makes your grill more like an oven, allowing you to slow roast the ribs until that perfect stage of tenderness where they almost fall apart on their own.
*Chef Dennis Tip
If you have trouble regulating the temperature of the grill, you may have to adjust your cooking time. A 400-degree grill will only take 2 hours, and a 300-degree grill will take an extra 30 minutes to cook. So keep an eye on the grill temperature!
I absolutely love my Meater Plus | Smart Meat Thermometer It takes all the guesswork out of cooking meats in the oven, on the grill, or in a smoker.
*Chef Dennis Tip
Rotate the foil packages halfway through the process, switching the ribs in the front with the ribs in the back. Don’t open the grill often to check on things, trust in the process.
After carefully unwrapping the ribs, coat them with your favorite barbecue sauce and place them back over direct heat on clean and oil-coated grill racks to finish the grilling process.
If there is any juice in the foil packets, add it to your barbecue sauce before coating the ribs.
*Chef Dennis Tip
The ribs will be fall-apart tender at this point so make sure to either oil the grill or use grill pan spray before placing the sauced ribs on the grill to brown and get those lovely grill marks.
Can I cook the Baby Back Ribs in the Oven?
Yes, you can. The process is exactly the same for the grill or for the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and plan on the ribs taking about 2.5 hours. Check the internal temperature it should be from 180-190 degrees for fall off the bone ribs.
Place a sheet pan under the foil packets to catch any juice that may find its way out of the packet.
Finish the ribs under the broiler after saucing. You won’t get the pretty grill marks under the broiler but the barbecue sauce will still caramelize adding extra flavor to the ribs.
You can also finish the ribs on your grill if you want to make everyone think you made Grilled Baby Back Ribs.
Any way you cook up these ribs, they’re going to be fall-apart tender, moist and oh so delicious. Making ribs at home will not only save you money but impress your friends and family will your grilling prowess!
And after tasting them, I’m sure you’ll agree this is the best baby back rib recipe you’ve ever used.
Wrapping seasoned ribs in foil will limit the amount of direct heat and smoke on the surface of the meat, yielding a better color and flavor on the finished product.
While grilling gives a distinct flavor to the ribs, baking is also a good option for cooking ribs.
Baking gives you more control over how quickly the ribs are cooked. Ovens have controlled temperature which helps you determine the correct temperature so your ribs are overcooked or undercooked.
Cook the foil-wrapped ribs over indirect heat. That means no coals or flame directly under them. Cook over indirect heat until the internal temperature of the ribs reads 180 – 190 degrees.