Think about your best BBQ memories. I bet they involve grilled ribs with the meat falling off the bone. It makes your mouth water just thinking about it. Hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken may seem easier to grill, but cooking ribs don’t have to be intimidating.
You don’t need any special equipment to cook your ribs on a grill, and you don’t have to be a pitmaster either. Just follow these steps on cooking ribs on a gas grill, and you will be the BBQ rib talk of the neighbourhood.
1. Cook the Meat
You have options with ribs, and you should try them all. Usually, people like to grill pork, but beef and lamb are good. Here is a quick list of rib types:
Baby Back Ribs
No, not from baby pigs. They are the upper back ribs with less fat and are very tender.
These ribs are lower on the pig and wrap around the belly. They are thick and meaty, where the animal takes the bacon.
Country Style Ribs
Country style is a rib that comes from the end of the lion and is made boneless.
Short ribs come from a cow and are taken from the chuck area.
St. Louis Ribs
This name comes from the way they are cut. They are a trimmed-down version of spare ribs.
Flanked Style Ribs
These ribs are cut across the bone and are higher in fat.
Lamb is another great source for ribs, and they come off the sparerib. They are very meaty with a small fat layer.
These are your common cuts of ribs. Now let’s prep for grilling.
2. Clean the meat
Once you get your fresh ribs home or unfreeze them, you need to remove the membrane off the rack. This peritoneum is the connective tissue that doesn’t soften when grilling and acts as a barrier for your rubs and sauces, not allowing them to penetrate the meat. It is easy to remove, though. Just flip over your ribs and insert a knife under them at the end. Then simply peel it off and throw it away.
3. Apply Your Rub
This is when you infuse the flavour into your ribs. Either buy your favourite rub or create your own. This seasoning should be “rubbed’ all over the meat, making sure not to leave any area untouched. You can drizzle olive oil on the meat first and press in the rub if you want, but it should stick to the meat pretty good on its own. Let it sit for an hour or so to penetrate the meat.
Some additions cover the rack with brown sugar and salt or soak it in apple juice. You decide what is best because it’s your flavour. Keep it in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
4. Prep the Grill
Now you can get your gas grills ready while the rub is infusing into the meat. After heating it to clean, bring the temperature down to around 107C or 225F for grilling. Some people pre-cook their ribs to save time slow-grilling the meat and make them more tender. You can do this, but it isn’t a have-to rule. Baking, boiling and using a slow cooker are options.
5. Start Grilling
You are ready to put your ribs on and start the grilling:
- Put them bone side down and leave them undisturbed for 30 minutes, so you don’t lose temperature.
- Open up and move the ribs around to get even cooking but leave them with the bone-down for another 30 minutes.
- It’s time to turn them over for 30 minutes of meat side down. You can put on your homemade or store-bought BBQ sauce now. Get good coverage and let them cook another 30 minutes.
- Flip them onto the bone again and put on your sauce.
- Let them go for another 30 minutes before they reach a temperature of around 85C or 180-190F.
Other methods are wrapping them in tinfoil for grilling or roasting pan. You can make a smoke bomb by wrapping damp wood chips in tin foil and adding them to the grill for a smoky flavour. Make sure to poke holes in the foil to allow smoke to come out. When the meat is done, you can wrap it in tin foil with some apple or pineapple juice to make them more tender.
There are many different techniques, but it’s all about infusing that flavour and getting the meat tender. Experiment with direct grilling and in foil to see what you prefer and make different rubs and sauces to have a different grilling experience. Now, you know what it takes to be a grill master for ribs. Follow these steps and see how much your family and friends love how delicious your grilled ribs are.