How To Grill Pork Ribs

How To Grill Pork Ribs

Grilling is one of the most popular cooking methods, and it’s especially great during the summer months. When it comes to grilling meat, pork ribs are always a crowd-pleaser. However, grilling pork ribs can be tricky, and without the right technique, it’s easy for them to dry out or become tough. In this article, we’ll show you how to grill pork ribs to perfection, every time.

Choosing the Right Ribs

Before you start grilling, you need to pick the right ribs. There are two main types of pork ribs: baby back ribs and spare ribs. Baby back ribs are smaller and leaner, while spare ribs are bigger and fattier. Baby back ribs are easier to cook and are more tender, while spare ribs require more time and effort to cook but can be more flavorful.

When choosing ribs, look for meat that is pink and marbled with fat. Avoid ribs that are grey or have a strong smell. Fresh ribs should be pliable and should break apart easily. If the ribs are stiff, they’re likely old and won’t cook properly.

Preparing the Ribs

Once you’ve got your ribs, it’s time to prepare them for grilling. The first step is to remove the membrane that covers the bone side of the ribs. This membrane is tough and doesn’t soften during cooking, so it’s important to remove it to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.

To remove the membrane, use a sharp knife to loosen the edge of the membrane, then use a paper towel to grip it and pull it away from the bone. If you’re having trouble gripping the membrane, you can use a pair of pliers to help you.

After removing the membrane, season the ribs with your favorite rub or marinade. You can use a store-bought rub or make your own by mixing together salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and other spices. Apply the rub generously to both sides of the ribs and let them sit for at least 30 minutes before grilling.

Grilling the Ribs

When it’s time to grill the ribs, preheat your grill to medium heat. If you’re using a gas grill, turn on all the burners to high for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to medium before adding the ribs. If you’re using a charcoal grill, wait until the coals are gray before adding the ribs.

Place the ribs on the grill, bone-side down, and cook them for about 30 minutes. Then, flip the ribs over and cook them for an additional 30 minutes on the meat side.

To keep the ribs moist, you can baste them with a barbecue sauce during the last 10-15 minutes of cooking. However, be careful not to apply the sauce too early as it can cause the ribs to burn.

When the ribs are done, check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Pork ribs should have an internal temperature of 145°F. If the temperature is lower, continue cooking the ribs until they reach the proper temperature.

Resting and Serving the Ribs

After grilling, it’s important to let the ribs rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute and helps to keep the meat tender and flavorful. Place the ribs on a cutting board and cover them with foil. Let them rest for about 5-10 minutes before cutting into them.

To serve the ribs, cut them into individual portions and place them on a platter. You can garnish them with fresh herbs or sliced onions for an extra burst of flavor.

Cleaning the Grill

After you’ve finished grilling, it’s important to clean your grill to prevent bacteria and other harmful substances from building up. Let the grill cool down completely before you start cleaning it.

Start by removing any food debris from the grill grates using a wire brush. Then, use a wet cloth to wipe down the grates and surrounding areas. If there are stubborn stains or grease buildup, you can use a grill cleaner or degreaser to remove them.

After cleaning, make sure to rinse the grill with water and dry it thoroughly before storing it.


Grilling pork ribs can seem daunting at first, but with the right technique and preparation, anyone can achieve tender and flavorful ribs. Remember to choose the right ribs, prepare them properly, and grill them to perfection. With these tips, you’ll be grilling up mouth-watering ribs in no time. Happy grilling!

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How do I prepare pork ribs for grilling?

Step 1: Choose the Right Ribs

Select ribs with as much meat as possible, and avoid ribs with lots of fat. St. Louis style ribs, baby back ribs, and spare ribs are all good options.

Step 2: Remove the Membrane

Flip the ribs over and use a knife to loosen the membrane, then use a paper towel to grip and pull it off.

Step 3: Season the Ribs

Brush the ribs with oil and apply a dry rub mix of your choice. Let the ribs sit for at least an hour before grilling.

How do I grill pork ribs?

Step 1: Preheat the Grill

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (around 375°F to 400°F).

Step 2: Set Up Your Grill for Indirect Heat

If you have a gas grill, turn off the burners on one side and leave the other side on. For a charcoal grill, place the coals on one side of the grill. This will create a hot zone for searing and a cooler zone for slow cooking.

Step 3: Grill the Ribs

Place the ribs on the cooler side of the grill, bone side down. Cover the grill and let the ribs cook for around 2 hours (depending on the thickness of the ribs), flipping once every 45 minutes.

Step 4: Baste the Ribs

During the last 30 minutes of cooking, baste the ribs with barbecue sauce every 10 minutes, until they develop a sticky crust.

How do I know when pork ribs are done?

Use a Meat Thermometer

The best way to ensure pork ribs are done is to use a meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat (not touching the bone). The internal temperature should reach 145°F for pork ribs.

Look for Other Signs

If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can check for signs of doneness. The meat should start to pull back from the bones, and when you insert a toothpick or probe into the meat, it should feel tender and not resist.

Rest the Ribs

Once the ribs are done, remove them from the grill and wrap them tightly in foil. Let them rest for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

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