Baby Back Ribs on the Grill

Purpose:

To make ribs on a hot Memorial Day day without using the oven on in the apartment.

Protocol:

Materials:

  • Rack of baby back ribs (extra meaty!)
  • Rub:
    • Salt
    • Black Pepper
    • Garlic Powder
    • Chili Powder
    • Italian Seasoning
    • Dried Oregano
    • Onion Powder
    • Cumin
    • Smoked Paprika
  • Mop sauce:
    • Apple cider vinegar
    • Lime Juice
    • Sweet tea
  • BBQ Sauce

Equipment:

  • Grill (standard Weber kettle grill)
  • Charcoal (~72 pieces)
  • Charcoal chimney
  • Tongs (for charcoal)
  • Foil
  • Brush
  • Knife

Procedure:

Ribs, like a lot of barbecue, is best done “low and slow.” I wanted to set up my charcoal grill to last about 6 hours at around 200-230 degrees Fahrenheit, so I used the “snake method” (link to video). I just used some random extra firewood as the smoke wood, since I didn’t really care too much about smoke flavor.

Prepare the ribs

  1. Pat the ribs dry with paper towels.
  2. Make a small slit in the membrane on the bony side of the ribs. Use your fingers to remove this membrane. My trick is to separate the middle part of the membrane as far as I can before pulling it off. This way you get do it in one piece.
  3. Salt the ribs on both sides.
  4. Mix the other ingredients (about 1 T each..just wing it) in a bowl.
  5. Rub the mixture all over the ribs on all sides.

Prepare the grill:

  1. Arrange two rows of 20 charcoal briquettes along one edge of the grill. Place another row of briquettes on top. Add some wood chips or blocks too if you want some smoke.
  2. Light 8 pieces of charcoal in a chimney.
  3. When the charcoal is fully gray and glowing, add them to one end of the charcoal “snake.” Make sure a few of the hot briquettes are touching the snake, obviously.
  4. Put the cooking grate on the grill, and place a piece of foil on the far side of the grill from the heat source.
  5. Place the ribs bone side down on the foil.

Prepare the mop sauce.

  1. Mix some vinegar, tea, and lemon/lime juice in a bowl.
  2. Every 30 minutes, use a brush to brush the liquid on the ribs.

Wait.

  1. Rotate the ribs 180 degrees at the 2 and 4 hour marks.
  2. Occasionally rotate the whole grill rack to keep the ribs on the far side away from the heat.
  3. After around 5 hours and 30 minutes, brush on some barbecue sauce for the final glaze.
  4. After a final 20-30 minutes, transfer to a cutting board, slice, and serve!

Results and observations:

Ribs

Pictures at 0h, 3h, 6h, 6.25h. Nom. I forgot to add sauce to the bony side of the ribs at the end, but it wasn’t a big deal since I added sauce on my plate. I’ve heard mixed reviews on the actual utility of mop sauces while slow-cooking on the grill, so I’ll probably do more research on that next time. Apparently my charcoal setup was enough to last another hour or so, which would be good for bigger ribs or if I were doing two racks.

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