The trick to making perfect grilled baby back ribs every time is to cook them low and slow in the oven before grilling them. Trust me, it works!
The Best Grilled Ribs Recipe
This weekend we’re packing the coolers, loading up the truck with big boy toys and heading out of town with friends to the mountains. It’s one of our favorite weekends filled with deep breaths in the stunning outdoors, leisurely morning coffee time on the aspen tree-lined deck, and way too much laughter. More than most could possibly bear.
After all, we’re a funny and sarcastic group. Or at least we think so.
Besides hanging, hiking, and harassing, it’s the perfect occasion to get together and cook. Our grocery list takes precedence over the contents of our weekend-packed bags. Memorial day calls for chillin’ and grillin’ and nothin’ says grillin’ like RIBS!
My husband has spent many a day trying various methods to create the most succulent pork baby back ribs to suckle and savor upon. So what’s his big secret?
Take them to the oven before they ever hit the fire. Most think baby back ribs need to be cooked over an open grilled flame, but using the grill as a finishing agent instead of your main cooker is the key.
We season then refrigerate, and bake the ribs low and slow until its time for an introduction to the open flame. Sounds like most dating gigs right?
What’s in Grilled Baby Back Ribs?
This grilled ribs recipe requires a handful of ingredients, many of which are spices. The key ingredients are the pork ribs, apple cider, barbecue sauce, and the pork rib rub.
This pork rub is from my brother-in-law, a Virginian cum Texan with a penchant and passion for grilling and smoking. We first tasted this pork rib rub over Easter two years ago and it’s been a go-to for us ever since. I think my husband dreams of this rub as he covets my brother-in-law’s ultimate smoker.
How to Cook Ribs on the Grill
If you’ve never grilled ribs before, don’t be scared! It’s a straightforward process anyone can master. Simply whisk together the homemade pork rub and rub it liberally over the surface of the ribs. Refrigerate the ribs for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Once the ribs have chilled, place them on a high edged baking sheet that’s been lined with a wire rack. Pour 1 cup of apple cider into the baking sheet and bake the ribs low and slow for 90 minutes. Add more apple cider to the ribs and bake for another 90 minutes before grilling them.
You’ll need to grill the ribs over medium-high heat for roughly 10 minutes per side. Remember: you’re just looking to get some color on them, they don’t need to cook any longer.
Can I Use Pork Spare Ribs Instead?
Most likely, yes. Pork spare ribs aren’t as thick as baby back ribs, so you may need to reduce the amount of time the ribs are in the oven. You’ll know the ribs are ready to be grilled when the meat easily pulls away from the bones.
What Barbecue Sauce Should I Use?
You can use your favorite barbecue sauce in this recipe. It doesn’t matter what style of barbecue sauce it is as long as you love the taste! If you’re itching to make your own barbecue, try making my Raspberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce.
Tips for Making Ribs on the Grill
Make sure you’re using apple cider and NOT apple cider vinegar for this grilled ribs recipe. You want non-alcoholic cider that hasn’t been flavored with cinnamon or other spices.
It’s also important that you place a wire rack in the baking sheet, as you want some of the fat to drip off the ribs. Plus, you don’t want them cooking directly in the apple cider.
Finally, when grilling the ribs, heat them on the grill first, then baste with sauce. If you add the sauce too early you’ll be sure to end up with blackened crusty outtards thanks to the potential for burning the sugar in the barbecue sauce rather than the savory and delicious variety we all crave.
More Easy Grilling Recipes You’ll Love
- Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken
- Grilled Swordfish with Smoked Paprika and Herb Fruit Salsa
- The Best Grilled Chicken Breast Recipe
- How to Grill the Best Ribeye Steak
- Mediterranean Grilled Pork Chops with Tomato Salad
- The Best Grilled Salmon
Grilled Baby Back Ribs
- 4 racks baby back pork ribs 9 to 12 pounds
- 2 cups apple cider*
- ¼ cup sweet paprika
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons pepper
- 1 tablespoon chile powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 2 teaspoons celery salt
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Your favorite barbeque sauce
- Combine all dry ingredients and generously rub over surface of ribs. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Place room temperature ribs on high edged baking sheet lined with wire rack. Pour 1 cup apple cider in baking sheet, place ribs on rack and cook for 1 ½ hours. Add another 1 cup cider and cook for another 1 ½ hours or until meat pulls apart from bones.
- Preheat grill to medium high. Grill ribs for 7-10 minutes each side, basting with barbeque sauce. Remove and serve.
- *Make sure you're using apple cider and NOT apple cider vinegar for this grilled ribs recipe. You want non-alcoholic cider that hasn't been flavored with cinnamon or other spices.
- Recipe from Ardie Davis and Paul Kirk
Summer Side Dishes to Make
Ribs, they’re the main event, right? But we all need a little somethin’ extra to complement the Q. Here’s a complete Q-fest menu, ready to be prepped, rattled and rolled into your awaiting belly.