Smoked Ribs are a succulent Sunday supper. You'll love them, especially with your own custom spice rub.
Ribs. Just that one single word alone inspires so much love (and debate) among grill aficionados. There are literally thousands of ways to prepare ribs, but most of the differences boil down to rubs and sauces.
Once you master the basics behind grilling and smoking ribs, then you can play with various seasonings until you create your own perfect secret blend of spices. I’ve personally been making ribs for years, and I still enjoy playing with different rubs and sauces. But today, I am featuring my go-to recipe and techniques for grilling the perfect rack of ribs.
Warning: please refrain from licking your screen while reading this post!
If you’ve ever shopped for ribs before, then you know there are lots of different options. Pork or beef? Spare or baby back? The choice here will come down to personal preference, but I recommend going with pork baby back ribs… especially if this is your first time smoking ribs.
The first rule for ribs is understanding that slower is better. Ribs aren’t the best option if your long-lost college roommate calls and wants to stop by for dinner in an hour! (If you are in a time crunch, you might want to go with this Smoky Whiskey Burger.
A good rule for the amount of ribs to purchase is between 1/2 -1 rack per person. When I make ribs, my wife and I split one rack and then serve them with a side dish, and it’s plenty of food for us! Also, plan on purchasing your ribs at least one day before you hit the grill, as you will want to apply the spice rub and then let the ribs sit overnight in the refrigerator.
I know the charcoal versus gas question is always an important one when it comes to grilling. Honestly, I’ve made these ribs on a gas grill, and they taste good. But they taste absolutely amazing on a charcoal grill. The smoke flavor comes through much stronger, and the flavor is all around better. But if you only have a gas grill, then you can totally go that route. Your ribs will still be delicious!
The key to grilling fall off the bone ribs is temperature. You want to go low and slow. Like 5-6 hours slow. And you don’t want to open the grill lid more than a 2-3 times. As the old saying goes, “If you’re lookin’, you aren’t cookin’!”
If you are using charcoal, then put in a full load of lump charcoal and two handfuls of wood chunks. You’ll notice that I prefer lumps and chunks, and it’s because these burn slower than the briquettes and wood chips. Both are relatively common, and I usually end up getting them at a home improvement type store.
If you are using gas, then make sure your tank isn’t almost empty…or have a spare on hand. You’ll want to set your grill to about 225-250 degrees and then walk away. Seriously, don’t even open the lid for the first 3 hours. Go mow the grass, read a book, give the dog a bath… anything but opening the lid of the grill to check on your ribs.
Cooking ribs to perfection is a slow task. But the result is well worth your effort. Enjoy!
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