How To Grill Spare Ribs

How To Grill Spare Ribs

Grilling spare ribs is the perfect way to enjoy a succulent, smoky flavor that can’t be found with any other cooking method. However, to get the best results, it’s crucial to know how to cook these ribs the right way. In this article, we will guide you through the process of preparing and grilling spare ribs to perfection.

Preparing The Ribs

The first step in preparing spare ribs is to select the right kind of meat. Look for pork ribs that have a good balance of meat and fat, as this will help to keep the ribs moist and flavorful during cooking.

Next, remove the thin, papery membrane that covers the back of the ribs. The membrane can prevent seasonings and smoke from penetrating the meat, so it’s essential to remove it. To do this, gently slide a butter knife under the membrane and pull it off with a paper towel.

Once the ribs are prepared, it’s time to add some flavor. Start by generously coating the meat with a dry rub. A good rub should contain a blend of spices and seasonings that complement the natural flavor of the pork. Some popular options include garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, brown sugar, cumin, and chili powder.

After applying the rub, wrap the ribs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least two hours, or up to 24 hours. This allows the flavors to penetrate the meat and will result in a more flavorful final product.

Grilling The Ribs

When it’s time to grill the ribs, preheat your grill to 250-275°F. To achieve this temperature, you can use charcoal or gas, but make sure to set up your grill for indirect heat cooking.

Once your grill has reached the desired temperature, it’s time to cook the ribs. Place the ribs on the grill, bone-side down, on the side of the grill that is not directly over the heat source. This is known as the “indirect heat” side of the grill.

Close the lid and let the ribs cook for about two hours. During this time, resist the temptation to check on the ribs too often. Every time you open the lid, you let heat escape, which can result in longer cooking times and drier meat.

After two hours, check the ribs to see if they are ready. To do this, use a pair of tongs to gently lift one end of the ribs. If the meat bends easily and the bones look like they are starting to separate, the ribs are ready.

Adding Sauce

Once the ribs are cooked to perfection, it’s time to add some sauce. There are many different types of barbecue sauces to choose from, so pick one that you enjoy. Some popular options include sweet and tangy, spicy, and smoky.

Brush the sauce onto both sides of the ribs, being careful not to brush off the dry rub that was applied earlier. This will add flavor and help to keep the meat moist.

Finishing The Ribs

After adding the sauce, it’s time to finish the ribs. Place them back on the grill, bone-side down, on the direct heat side. This will caramelize the sauce and give the ribs a nice, crispy exterior.

Cook the ribs for about 5-10 minutes, or until the sauce has caramelized to your liking. Be sure to keep a close eye on the ribs during this time to prevent burning.

Once the ribs are finished, remove them from the grill and let them rest for about 10-15 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and will result in a more tender final product.


Grilling spare ribs can be a fun and delicious way to enjoy a summertime meal with friends and family. However, it’s important to take the time to properly prepare and cook the meat to ensure the best possible results. With the tips and techniques outlined in this article, you can cook tender, flavorful spare ribs that will impress even the biggest barbecue critics.

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How long should I grill spare ribs?

Grill the spare ribs for 1.5 to 2 hours over indirect heat. The internal temperature should be between 180°F and 200°F.

What’s the best way to prepare spare ribs for grilling?

Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs, and marinade them for at least 4 hours in a blend of your favorite spices and sauces. Pat them dry before grilling.

How do I know when spare ribs are done?

Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the thickest part of the ribs. They’re done when the temperature reaches between 180°F and 200°F.

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