Baby Back ribs... my favorite! And the reason we came up with The Rub. Below shows my good-old-fashioned, every-backyard-barbecue grill version of how to make GREAT ribs! Not everyone has a smoker, Big Green Egg, or Traeger Grill... so, get out the briquettes, get your ingredients, and fire up that grill!
Get the grill going
Your grill is yours… you know it well. I prefer the drum style of grill, charcoal fired, with a smoking box. I also own a smoker and Big Green Egg, but I still prefer my tried'n'true grill. A traditional drum style grill with a side smoke box.
Now, I prefer to get my coals going in a flat layer across the bottom, no more than 2 coals high. This will allow for a faster ‘to grill time’ and allow for even heating of the grill right away. Be sure to have a pile ready to go about 2 hours into it, replenishing the ones burning out. Chimney style coal lighters work best, as they have a handle to assist with placing them in the grill.
If you don’t have a smoking box, side box, or charcoal caddy, soak some wood chips in a plastic bag for 1 hour to soak, then place them in heavy duty aluminum foil. Tear off a piece about 12 inches long, then roll them twice in the foil, sealing the ends by double folding them.
You should have a pouch like bag…. Then, prep it by poking small holes about 2 inches apart in the foil, all the way around, and place the pouch on the far left or right of the ready coals, preferably next to the air intake. This allows the smoke to move around easier. (yes, some people have put the chips in BEFORE lighting the coals… not a good thing to do!) Make sure the coals are completely burning, and have a spray bottle handy for any flair-ups.
I put a thin layer of grapeseed oil on the grill top just before placing the ribs on. Helps keeps them from sticking to the grill. Grapeseed oil is one of the oils with a very high smoke point, with a minimum flavor residue, leaving your meat tasting like the spices!
Preparing and Applying Rub
I am traditional when it come to how
Get your ribs on the fire!
Place your ribs on the grill meat side down. Immediately close the lid, closing the vents to about 30% and wait there about 3-5 minutes to watch for flair-ups. Spray the flames with enough water to stop the flair-up, but not douse the coals. Usually within 20 minutes all the loose fat and oils will have dripped out, so the flames will not come back. Flip the ribs at 20 minutes, or when a good char is set on the meat. Watch for more flair-ups at this point too.
Once you have flipped the ribs one time each, close down the top vent completely. Let the ribs go for another hour, checking them every 15 minutes – or if you see too much smoke (that isn’t from the wood chips.) Prepare more coals now, and if the fire temperature drops below 200, add some more. A good temp to keep them at is about 200-250 degrees.
After 2 hours, you will be ready to wrap them in heavy duty aluminum foil. I normally will tear off about 24 inches per rack. Remove the ribs from the fire, only one at a time, and wrap them in the foil lengthwise. Place each rack back on the grill before removing the next…
Close down the grill completely, leaving them on the grill at about 200 degrees or less for an hour. This will get them good and tender, but not so much to fall off the bone. You want them to have a little tug to them when you bite into the meat. Pull from the heat and let rest for 30 minutes in the foil.
Sides, sauces and slaws!
I am traditional when it come to how I serve my ribs, and what I serve my ribs with. When it comes to Baby backs, I don’t use any sauce to serve them with. There are many vinegar ‘moppin’ sauces you can put on the ribs when you take them out of the foil, so I recommend experimenting with what you like best. (pssst! Apple Cider vinegar is the best to use!) Just don’t serve it as a dipping sauce! Now, pork spareribs are a whole different story… keep your eyes peeled for that recipe. Coleslaw is my favorite side with Baby backs, with a good potato roll. Grilled zucchini is great too.
Serving the best ribs ever! You will need to prep the ribs before serving. Get a sharp knife, and pre-slice between the ribs most of the way down; thinnest to thickest for ease of eating. Since most people can only handle about a half-rack, cut all the racks into 2 equal pieces for serving, after pre-slicing.
THE Rub Jar
Our Original Rub, THE Rub!
The best BBQ and All Purpose spice blend you can get. Low in Salt, Full in Flavor! NO-MSG, All Natural, and lasts a long time!. Balanced, full flavor, not overpowering, and with only 2% salt, you can feel good about serving it to anyone.
Originally designed for Baby Backs Ribs, this spice rub actually works on almost anything!
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