How Long To Cook Pork Ribs On Grill


Grilling is one of the beloved American pastimes, and one dish that many grill enthusiasts love to prepare is pork ribs. However, cooking pork ribs on the grill can be a bit daunting for the inexperienced cook. The biggest question that they may have is undoubtedly, “how long to cook pork ribs on the grill?” Cooking meat to perfection is not an easy feat, but with a bit of practice and the right technique, it is possible. In this article, we will delve into the ins and outs of how long to cook pork ribs on the grill to ensure that your next barbecue turns out perfect.

The Different Types of Pork Ribs

Before we can determine how long to cook pork ribs on the grill, we must first understand the different types of pork ribs. There are two kinds of pork ribs that we’ll be looking into, baby back ribs and spare ribs.

Baby back ribs come from the pig’s top loin. They are shorter, meatier, and a bit more expensive than spare ribs. They are also more tender because of the shorter bones.

Spare ribs come from the belly of the pig, and they have a higher fat content than baby back ribs. They’re also bigger and have a meatier flavor. Spare ribs have more bone than meat, which makes them a bit trickier to cook.

Preparing Your Ribs for Grilling

Before you put your ribs on the grill, you’ll need to prepare them correctly. Firstly, you’ll need to remove the membrane on the underside of the ribs. It’s easy to do: start at the end of the rack and slide a butter knife under the membrane. Then, pull the membrane off the meat with a paper towel or pliers. This will allow the rub or marinade to penetrate the meat better.

Next, you’ll need to choose what kind of rub to use. You can choose to use a store-bought rub or make your own. Whatever rub you choose, be sure to massage it into the meat thoroughly. Let the ribs sit for at least an hour, preferably overnight in the fridge, to allow the flavors to seep in.

How Long to Cook Baby Back Ribs on the Grill

Cooking baby back ribs on the grill is relatively straightforward, and it is perhaps the easiest type of pork rib to cook. Preheat your grill to low heat (about 250°F). You’ll be cooking your ribs indirectly, with no direct heat hitting the meat. This method allows the meat to cook slowly, resulting in tender, juicy ribs. Place your ribs on the grill, bone side down, and close the lid. Cook the ribs for approximately 2-3 hours, or until the meat is tender and pulls away easily from the bone.

How Long to Cook Spare Ribs on the Grill

Spare ribs are a bit bigger and require more time and attention compared to baby back ribs. Firstly, remember to cook your ribs indirectly, with no direct heat hitting the meat. Preheat your grill to low heat (about 250°F). Place your spare ribs on the grill, bone side down, and close the lid. Cook for approximately 5-6 hours, or until the meat is tender and pulls away easily from the bone.

How Do I Know When My Ribs Are Done?

The general rule of thumb is to use time and temperature as a guide. However, this isn’t always accurate. Every grill is different, and every cut of meat is different, so it’s always best to check the meat’s internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer.

For baby back ribs, the internal temperature should read 145-150°F, and for spare ribs, it should be around 165-170°F. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can also do a bending test. Pick up the ribs with a pair of tongs, and the meat should start to crack or split, indicating that it is cooked.


Grilling pork ribs is a favorite pastime for many Americans, but it can be a bit intimidating for the inexperienced cook. Understanding the different types of pork ribs, how to prepare them, and how long to cook them on the grill is key to achieving perfect ribs. Remember to cook low and slow, use a good rub or marinade, and keep an eye on your temperature. With a bit of practice, you’ll soon become the king or queen of the grill.

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How long should I cook pork ribs on the grill?

Cooking time for pork ribs on grill

Pork ribs should be grilled for about 2-3 hours over low heat. It’s important to cook the ribs slowly to allow the meat to tenderize and the flavors to develop. To ensure the ribs are cooked to perfection, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. The temperature should reach at least 145°F for safe consumption.

How do I prepare pork ribs for grilling?

Preparing Pork Ribs for Grilling

To prepare pork ribs for grilling, remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. Rub the ribs with your favorite dry rub or marinade and allow to sit in the fridge for at least a few hours, or preferably overnight. This allows the flavors to soak in and the meat to tenderize. Allow the ribs to come to room temperature before grilling.

Can I grill pork ribs on a gas grill?

Grilling Pork Ribs on a Gas Grill

Yes, you can grill pork ribs on a gas grill. Preheat the grill to medium-low heat and place the ribs on the grill. Cook the ribs for about 2-3 hours, or until they are cooked to the desired temperature. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the ribs. Baste with your favorite sauce during the last 30 minutes of cooking for added flavor.

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