How To Cook Pork Ribs On The Grill

How to Cook Pork Ribs on the Grill

When it comes to barbecue, there’s nothing quite like a plate of juicy, tender pork ribs. The rich flavor and fall-off-the-bone texture make them a popular choice for backyard cookouts and summer gatherings. While cooking pork ribs on the grill can seem intimidating, with the right tools and techniques, you can achieve an impressive result that will have your friends and family coming back for seconds.

Choosing the Right Ribs

Before you start cooking, it’s important to choose the right type of ribs. There are two main types of pork ribs: baby back and spareribs. Baby back ribs are shorter and leaner, while spareribs are larger and meatier. Both can be cooked on the grill, but the cooking times and techniques may vary. You can also choose between bone-in or boneless ribs, depending on your preference.

Preparing the Ribs

To get the best results, it’s important to prepare your ribs properly before cooking. Start by rinsing them under cold water and patting them dry with a paper towel. If you’re using spareribs, you may need to remove the membrane from the back of the ribs for a more tender result. You can do this by using a small knife to loosen the membrane, then pulling it off with a paper towel.

Next, season your ribs with your favorite dry rub or marinade. A simple rub made from brown sugar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and salt is a great choice for a classic barbecue flavor. Rub the mixture all over the ribs, making sure to coat them evenly. You can also let the ribs marinate in the seasoning for a few hours or overnight to let the flavors penetrate the meat.

Preparing the Grill

Before you start grilling, it’s important to prepare your grill properly. Start by cleaning the grates with a wire brush to remove any leftover debris or food particles. Then, light the grill and preheat it to a medium-low heat.

If you’re using a gas grill, turn off one or two of the burners to create a cooler area for indirect cooking. If you’re using a charcoal grill, move the coals to one side of the grill to create a cooler area.

Cooking the Ribs

When your grill is hot and ready, it’s time to cook the ribs. Start by placing the ribs on the cooler side of the grill, with the bone side facing down. This will help them cook evenly without burning. Cover the grill and let the ribs cook for about an hour, checking them occasionally to make sure they’re not burning.

After an hour, it’s time to start basting the ribs with your favorite barbecue sauce or glaze. Use a brush to apply the sauce to the meat side of the ribs, then flip them over and baste the bone side. Cover the grill and let the ribs cook for another 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F.

If you’re using baby back ribs, they may cook faster, so it’s important to check them frequently and adjust the cooking time accordingly. You can also use a meat thermometer to ensure that they’re fully cooked.

Resting and Serving

Once your ribs are fully cooked, remove them from the grill and let them rest for 10-15 minutes. This will allow the juices to distribute evenly throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender and juicy result.

When the ribs are rested, it’s time to slice them and serve them up. Use a sharp knife to cut the ribs into individual servings, then serve them with your favorite BBQ sides, such as coleslaw, baked beans, or corn on the cob. If you have any leftover ribs, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.


Cooking pork ribs on the grill may seem intimidating, but with the right tools and techniques, you can achieve a result that’s sure to impress. Start by choosing the right type of ribs, then prepare them properly with your favorite seasoning or marinade. When grilling, be sure to create a cooler area for indirect cooking, and baste the ribs with your favorite BBQ sauce or glaze. With a little practice, you’ll be serving up mouth-watering pork ribs that are sure to be a hit at your next backyard cookout.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Cooking Pork Ribs on the Grill

How do I prepare pork ribs before grilling?

Before grilling, you should remove the silver skin from the back of the rack of ribs (this can be done with a butter knife or by hand). Then, season the ribs generously with your preferred dry rub or marinade and let them sit in the fridge for at least a few hours, or overnight if possible, to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.

How long does it take to grill pork ribs?

Grilling time for pork ribs can vary depending on a few factors such as the temperature of your grill, the thickness of the ribs, and your desired level of doneness. As a general rule, it should take around 2-3 hours to grill pork ribs over indirect heat (meaning the heat source is off to one side of the grill, not directly underneath the ribs) at a temperature of around 225-250°F. Use a meat thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature of the ribs reaches at least 145°F before removing them from the grill.

What are some tips for getting perfectly grilled pork ribs?

Here are a few tips to help make sure your grilled pork ribs turn out perfectly:

  • Use indirect heat and a consistent temperature.
  • Baste the ribs with a flavorful sauce or glaze during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
  • Keep the lid of the grill closed as much as possible to maintain the heat and smoke.
  • Wrap the ribs in foil and let them rest for at least 10-15 minutes after taking them off the grill to allow the juices to redistribute and the meat to become tender.

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