Fall-off-the-bone ribs drenched in sweet and tangy barbecue sauce, these Grilled Ribs are bound to be a summertime staple in your house!
Summer is on its way which means it’s time to start grilling! I love summer because of how much we get to eat outside and how often we get to use our grill. One of my absolute favorite go-to summer dinners is Grilled Ribs.
They’re so easy to make and they taste like an experienced pitmaster smoked them for DAYS. Serve them up with some classic ambrosia (another of my favorite summer recipes), and you’ve got yourself a backyard barbecue meal that the whole neighborhood will envy!
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Ribs have always been one of my favorite summertime meals. As a kid, I loved ribs simply because they were MESSY and I loved anything I could eat with my hands. Now as an adult, I love ribs just as much (if not even more…). I love them not only because I still like eating with my hands, but because the flavor of ribs is simply mouthwatering.
Typically most people think of backyard barbecues as having burgers, hot dogs, maybe some grilled chicken. Not at our house! If you’re coming over during the summertime, you are almost guaranteed to be eating some baby back ribs on the grill.
This is one of my favorite grilled ribs recipes. The ribs fall off the bone, the dry rub is slightly spicy but not enough to turn anyone away, and they’re doused in my homemade sweet n tangy barbecue sauce.
Some people are intimidated by making homemade ribs, but don’t be! Cooking ribs on the grill couldn’t be easier and they definitely come out tasting like you’re chowing down at your favorite BBQ restaurant! I challenge you to try to make these bbq ribs on the grill this summer, you won’t be disappointed.
Ribs – When making this grilled ribs recipe, I usually use 2 racks of pork ribs. But, if you’d rather make grilled beef ribs, go for it. They taste equally delicious and are just as simple to cook.
Dry Rub – The secret to good ribs on the grill is having a great dry rub to coat them with. I’ve tried a few different dry rubs in my day (homemade AND store-bought). This combination of spices including cumin, paprika, cayenne, and brown sugar is my all-time favorite. It’s sweet and slightly spicy and the flavor seeps into the meat perfectly.
Sauce – So you’ve got your ribs all dry-rubbed and ready to go, but you need some gooey barbecue sauce to drench your grilled ribs in, right? You can absolutely use your own personal favorite bbq sauce, but MY go-to sauce is this sweet n tangy bbq sauce. It’s got the perfect amount of sweetness with just a hint of spice. We always have a homemade batch on hand in the fridge for summertime grilling.
How to cook ribs on the grill
So you’re ready to take the dive into the (easy) world of cooking ribs on the grill? I promise it’s easy and you’ll be obsessed with the finished product. You’ll need about 15 minutes of prep time and an hour of cooking time. So, make sure you account for that when planning out your meal!
You’ll want your grill preheating to low heat for about 15 minutes before you’re ready to throw the ribs on. I use a propane grill, so 15 minutes is all I need. If you’re using a charcoal grill, you’ll need more time for it to preheat, so plan accordingly.
You also don’t want to put ribs on the grill that just came out of the fridge, or else the meat might get shocked. So, while your grill is heating up, let the ribs rest on the counter for about 15 minutes.
- You’re going to start by mixing up your dry rub. Combine all the dry rub ingredients in a bowl and give them a good stir.
- When your ribs have warmed up a bit on the counter, remove the ribs from the package. To remove the membrane, turn the ribs bone-side up and pull up a little section of the membrane at one end of the rack. Then continue to pull up until the whole thing comes off. Then discard the membrane before moving on to the second rack of ribs.
- Next, rub all sides of the ribs with the rub. You’ll have some extra dry rub that you can save for another recipe.
Pro Tip: Use one hand to sprinkle the rub and the OTHER hand to rub it onto the meat. That way you won’t contaminate the dry rub in the bowl with the same hand that touched the uncooked meat.
- Once the ribs are all coated and the grill is heated up, place the ribs on the grill with the meat side down.
- Let those ribs cook with the lid closed for about 45 minutes. Try not to check on them. You want that heat to stay in and really cook the ribs to perfection. I promise they’re good out there on the grill 🙂
- After 45 minutes of cooking, brush the ribs with the barbecue sauce and flip over and brush with more barbecue sauce – get them really saucy. The sauce will caramelize and make the most delicious gooey coating!
- Leave the ribs to cook bone-side down for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Once cooked, take the ribs off the grill and cover them loosely with aluminum foil. Let them rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Slice the grilled ribs into smaller pieces of 1 to 2 bones and serve with more bbq sauce.
How long to cook ribs on the grill?
I’ve found that the sweet spot for cooking ribs on the grill is about one hour. Yes, many barbecue restaurants will cook for hours and hours. This is more of a slow-cooking method and they’ve got pitmasters to watch those grills like a hawk for hours at a time.
I personally don’t have time (or patience) for that. So if you want to cook pork ribs on the grill at home, I recommend grilling them for 45 minutes with just the dry rub, then dousing them with bbq sauce, flipping them over, and grilling for an additional 15 minutes.
If you’re cooking grilled beef ribs, you may need a little more time simply because beef ribs are typically bigger than pork ribs. Adjust your initial cooking time by adding about 15 minutes. If the ribs have an internal temperature of between 200 and 203 degrees F, they’re done and you can move onto the saucing step!
Should you cook ribs before grilling?
Another option to preparing your grilled ribs is to bake them in the oven or slow cooker and simply finish them up on the grill. This ensures that the ribs are tender but also have that great smokey char that the grill gives off.
I’ve found that with this grilled ribs recipe, the ribs come out tender every time even if cooked on the grill from raw. I love the flavor that cooking the ribs on the grill for the full hour gives, but that’s just a personal opinion. Really, either method works great for delicious bbq ribs!
Need more grilling inspiration? Try out some of these other Real Housemoms summertime classics!
- Honey Mustard Chicken Kabobs
- Grilled Chicken Fajita Foil Packet
- Tequila Lime Grilled Chicken
- Grilled BBQ Pork Roast
- Grilled Honey Hot Wings
- more DINNER recipes…
Tools used to make Grilled Ribs
Gas Grill: I love cooking with my gas grill – the heat is consistent and even, giving the best cooked meals!
Food Prep Bowls: this set of small bowls is perfect for mixing up your dry rub or your barbecue sauce!
*This post originally posted on 07/07/2014.
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 racks pork ribs
- Sweet N Tangy Barbecue Sauce
- Combine all of the dry rub ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Preheat the grill on low heat for 15 minutes. I use a propane grill, you will need more time to preheat if using a charcoal grill.
- Pull the ribs from the refrigerator for 15 minutes before grilling so the meat doesn't get shocked when placed on the heat. Remove the ribs from the package and then pull the membrane off the back of the ribs and discard it.
- Rub all sides of the ribs with the dry rub. You will have extra so be sure to use one hand to sprinkle the rub over the meat and the other to rub it in. This will ensure that you don't contaminate the rub.
- Place the ribs on the grill with the meat side down. Cover the grill and cook the ribs for 45 minutes.
- Brush with the barbecue sauce and then flip the ribs over before brushing with more barbecue sauce. Cook the ribs bone side down for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove from the grill and cover loosely with foil on a sheetpan. Rest the ribs for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Slice into 1 or 2 bone sections and serve warm with more barbecue sauce on the side.
Becca from It's Yummi! says
The sign of amazing photography = you post photos of ribs and make me lick my fingers without even eating them! 😉