About Cooking On A Charcoal Grill
While grilling with charcoal doesnt offer the instant gratification of cooking on a gas grill, the results are more than worth the extra time and effort youll put in. The meat will sear more evenly, and a charcoal fire will impart more rich, smoky flavor than a gas flame. This difference isnt as noticeable if youre grilling pre-cooked sausages such as bratwurst, but when youre using the grill for long, slow cookingas with this smoked beef back ribs recipeyoull definitely appreciate the boost in flavor.
Look for charcoal with as few additives as possible. If its advertised as additive-free, thats the kind you want. Avoid any match light varietiesthese contain lighter fluid additives that will adversely affect the flavor of your meat. You should also steer clear of briquettes that advertise real mesquite flavor or something similar. If youve done your work properly, the meat will achieve that flavor on its own.
If you can find lump charcoal, consider using this in your smoker instead of briquettes. Lump charcoal is actually wood that has been fired into charcoal, so it burns more cleanly and produces less ash than briquettes, which are typically formed out of sawdust. It also burns hotter, but this shouldnt be a problem as long as your smokers adjustable air vents are in good working order.
How Much Rub To Put On The Ribs
Estimate 1 tablespoon per pound of ribs. My ribs below are about 3.5 pounds each, so I put on 3.5 tablespoons of rub to each rack.
Rubbed on the left, not rubbed on the right
After it is rubbed down, put it back into the fridge until its time to smoke. We want the ribs cold when they go on the smoker. Colder meats take longer to cook, which allows for more smoke absorption.
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How Long To Cook Ribs On The Grill
Ive found that the sweet spot for cooking ribs on the grill is about one hour. Yes, many barbecue restaurants will cook for hours and hours. This is more of a slow-cooking method and theyve got pitmasters to watch those grills like a hawk for hours at a time.
I personally dont have time for that. So if you want to cook pork ribs on the grill at home, I recommend grilling them for 45 minutes with just the dry rub, then dousing them with bbq sauce, flipping them over, and grilling for an additional 15 minutes.
If youre cooking grilled beef ribs, you may need a little more time simply because beef ribs are typically bigger than pork ribs. Adjust your initial cooking time by adding about 15 minutes. If the ribs have an internal temperature of between 200 and 203 degrees F, theyre done and you can move onto the saucing step!
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How Long Should I Grill My Ribs
Grill your ribs for about 3-4 hours, or until they are cooked to your liking. Grill your ribs for a long time if you want to cook them well. Grilled ribs are a great choice for any cook because they are juicy and tender. grill your Ribs for 3-4 hours on medium-high heat and they will be cooked to perfection.
Grilling Ribs Soon Learn How To Grill Ribs As We Share Our Step
Although we love great burger recipes, a seared steak or even a weeknight chicken cookout, ribs on the grill are the ultimate treat. Theyre messy, indulgent, delicious and turn an ordinary summer afternoon into a festive occasion.
When learning how to grill ribs, it may seem intimidating because they require more time over the coals than many other types of meat. Heres the truth: Because they cook low and slow, they actually have a wider window of perfection than something like, say, a T-bone steak that relies on a savvy sense of timing and temperature. If you take some time to prep ribs correctly and learn where to cook on the grill, theyre easy enough even for beginners.
Lets start by covering the basics of how to cook ribs on the grill.
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Should You Remove The Membrane From Ribs
For the best results when preparing pork ribs, take a few seconds to remove the tough membrane. Leaving the membrane attached to your ribs will result in less-flavorful ribs and a tough texture. If you are cooking on a grill or smoker, the membrane will prevent the ribs from fully absorbing the smoky flavor.
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How To Grill Ribs On A Charcoal Grill
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While every grilled food has its own individuality, the experience of grilling ribs and then devouring it with all the indulgence is difficult to match. People love to eat grilled ribs but shy away from preparing them for a simple reason i.e. they dont know how to grill ribs to perfection.
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How To Prepare The Ribs
The key to any good round of ribs is proper preparation. This stage can make or break the success of your meal and neglecting good prep will give you bland, inferior ribs. Simply throwing them as you bought them onto the grill isnt going to cut it.
For your rib choice, I suggest going for pork. And then there are 2 varieties: Spare or baby back ribs.
Personally, I prefer spare. Theyre cut from the belly-end of the ribs, so are much meatier. Baby back are a little shorter but still an excellent choice. Cooking time tends to be about 4-5 hours for spare and 3-4 for baby back.
Its also important to bear in mind that your grill will dictate the size of the rack that you can cook at once. We want as much of the ribs to be exposed at once, so its not a good idea to pile them on top of each other. As a result, you will probably only be able to fit one rack of spareribs on the grill or two racks of baby back. Keep this in mind when preparing your ribs.
You will then need to cut the ribs down to just the rib rack. If you havent done this before, check out my full guide on how to trim spare ribs.
Start by removing the membrane from the rack. Not a lot of grillers do this, but doing so removes this thin skin off the back of the ribs, allowing them to be tender and packed full of flavor.
How To Start A Charcoal Grill
- Remove the grates and open any vents
- Pile in the charcoals and arrange across the barrel
- Carefully squirt lighter fluid all over the unlit charcoal and let it sit for 10 minutes or so
- Light the charcoals with a match and when the flame dies down put the grill grates back on
- Adjust the vents to reach a temperature of 250°F
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Is It Better To Cook Ribs Slow Or Fast
The answer to this question depends on the persons personal preference. Some people prefercooking ribs slow, while others prefer cooking them fast. However, the two methods of cooking ribs are not interchangeable. Slow cooking allows the meat to cook slowly in a crockpot or oven, which gives the Ribs a chewier texture and a more tenderloin-like character. Fast cooking can make the Ribs spicier and tougher, making them less tender and more like chicken breasts.
Do You Wrap Ribs In Foil When Grilling
Wrapping the meat with aluminum foil will reduce the amount of smoke that accumulates on the surface of the meat, resulting in a better color and flavor in the final product as a result. Place the ribs, flesh side down, on a bed of sugar, honey, and butter, and bake for 1 hour. Sprinkle a light layer of brown sugar over the bone side of the ribs and three lines of honey on top of the ribs before cooking.
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The Best Pork Ribs On A Gas Grill
My favorite meat ever will always be pork. Always. From ham, pork chops, pulled pork to delicious pork ribs like this recipe I am sharing today. I grew up near pig farms so its always been a familiar and comforting food to me. However, I had no idea, until recently that one-third of all the pork raised in the U.S. comes from Iowa! I have a good pork farming friend in Iowa. She has taught me a lot about how her modern family farm works.
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Cooking Our Smoked Spare Ribs
Every half hour to hour we sprayed it with apple cider and added more chips and charcoal.
One thing we did learn was the importance of keeping the heat LOW.
After about the first hour the heat spiked a bit and sped up the cooking. Our ribs were nearly done at about 2 hours, when they should have taken longer.
We decided to lower the heat and leave them on for just a bit more, to see what would happen. Unfortunately, the ribs got a bit darker than we were hoping.
But, even with the darker color, after 2 1/2 hours we had some incredibly delicious ribs.
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Putting The Ribs On The Grill
With the grill set up for smoking, we can add the ribs. At most, you will probably be able to fit two racks of baby back ribs or one rack of spareribs. Alternatively, you can buy a rib holder that props up the ribs so they stand on end so that you can fit more ribs at a time. Of course, this really depends on the size and type of charcoal grill you are using. What is important is that the ribs are not set on top of each other. It is important to expose as much of the surface of the rack to heat and smoke as possible.
At this temperature, it is going to take about 3 to 4 hours to cook the ribs completely. We are looking for a final temperature of around 180 F to 185 F/80 C to 85 C. This is the point of maximum tenderness before the meat starts falling off the bone. Remember that great ribs have bones in them and don’t fall into a pile of meat when cooked. That whole “falling off the bone” thing was created by bad restaurants that boil ribs.
Place the rack of ribs on the cooking grate of the grill, rib side down, next to the water pan. No part of the ribs should be directly over the fire. We will turn the ribs in a little while to provide for even cooking.
How To Charcoal Grill Ribs
Now that our grill is ready, its time to get this rib cook-off going! Place the racks on the grate of the grill, ensuring that theyre placed on the half of the grate without charcoal underneath it, next to the water pan. Place them with the rib side of the rack facing down.
Aim to cook for 3-4 hours for baby back ribs, or 4-5 hours for spare ribs.
After one hour check on the ribs, making sure that the charcoals are burning nicely and keeping the grill hot. Also check that theres enough water in the pan to maintain a healthy supply of steam.
Add a few more wood chunks to the coals and turn the ribs over to help give you a more even cook.
Check out our guide to smoking ribs on a gas grill
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What Is The 2 2 1 Method For Ribs
The 2 2 1 method for ribs is a cooking method that uses two pots: one for frying the meat and one for simmering the juices. The objective of this cooking method is to cook the meat until it is very tender, without overcooking it. The 2 2 1 method can be used on either an all-purpose or a high-quality ribeye steak.
Should I Cook Ribs Bone Side Up Or Down
Cooking ribs bone side up or down can depend on a variety of factors, including the size and shape of the ribs, the cooking method used, and the oven temperature. Some people prefer to cook ribs bone side up because they think it gives them a more tender texture and flavor.
Others prefer to cook ribsbone down because they believe it results in less sticking and better evenly cooked meat. Ultimately, its up to the individual to decide which way theyd like their ribs cooked.
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Choosing Ribs For The Grill
There are four different cuts of pork ribs , and any will work. However, the easiest cut is baby back ribs, which are cut to cook evenly, so youll have great results every time.
Personally, I like spareribs which are a bit meatier but slightly harder to cut apart after cooking. If you go with a meatier cut like this one, you might need to be on the upper end for timing on each step in the recipe to make sure the ribs have enough time to break down.
Selecting Your Rack Of Ribs Affects Your Grilling Time
Most of the time when people refer to ribs theyre referring to pork ribs.
Even though there are also beef short ribs, and even lamb ribs, the vast majority of smoked barbecue ribs are pork. And there are three popular types you can buy:
Learn how to tell your different pork ribs from each other in this video from the BBQGuys:
Baby backs refer to loin or pork loin back ribs. They are cut from where the rib meets the spine. The upper portion is named baby backs because theyre shorter in length compared to spares.
There are about 10 to 13 curved ribs from 3 to 6 inches in length. Theyre usually tender and lean.
St. Louis-style and spareribs are cut from the pork belly .
The slab shape is rectangular because the hard breastbone and cartilage are removed. Its flatter in shape compared to the baby back ribs and theyre easier to brown because they contain a higher amount of fat.
Theyre moist, juicy and very flavorful if cooked properly.
All pork ribs require low and slow cooking, otherwise theyll be hard and chewy.
Does it make a difference to the cooking time which cut you choose?
Yes, if you cook spares instead of baby backs, you will need to add more cooking time because baby backs are smaller compared to spares.
For example, if you cook both at 225°F:
Guy Fieri, American restaurateur, author, and television personality,
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How Long To Smoke Baby Back Ribs On A Charcoal Grill
Cooking ribs on a charcoal grill takes about three hours. First, set up the grill for indirect cooking over low heat, about 300 F. Once coals are blazing red, push them to one side and place a drip pan in center of grill. If using wood chips, scatter about one cup directly over the coals, then replace the top grate. Arrange ribs on the center of the grate, close the lid and cook for about three hours, or until ribs are tender. Replenish the charcoal as needed to maintain a steady temperature, adding about 10 new coals every 45 minutes of cooking time. During the final 30 minutes of cooking time, brush several coats of barbecue sauce onto the ribs every 10 minutes.
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Smoking Meat Without A Smoker
If you ever thought you had to have a big, fancy smoker to achieve the tender, flavorful meat that only comes from low and slow smoking. Stop right there and let this sink in:
You can smoke meat in your charcoal grill.
Sure you can. But, its got to be super complicated and bothersome. Thats what we thought when we heard it was possible to smoke in a grill. But, with Tims love of smoked meats, and the purchase of a smoker not in our near future, we decided to give it a try with what we had.
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How Do You Know When Your Ribs Are Done
Pick them up with your BBQ gloves and give them a slight bend. When the ribs easily start to break you know you are about finished. This should take upwards of 5 or 6 hours. In fact, dont be surprised if this takes 10 plus hours. It all depends on your average temperature and when you smoke on a charcoal grill you will have violent temperature fluctuations. The dome temperatures can easily fluctuate from 225, 250, 300, 275, and 177 after 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 hours of cooking respectively. So if you average in the lower 200s you will need extra time. If you average 250 or 275 you can finish your ribs in about 6-7 hours or maybe less. Just dont average over 300 degrees of you will lose the tender fall off the bone effect that makes this meal worth it!
When you have almost 1 or 2 hours left, start making your barbecue sauce. You can use any sauce you like but Ill share this sauce because it is simply the best. The recipe comes from my BBQ mentor Joe.
Ingredients in Joes barbecue sauce:2 cups ketchup¼ cup apple cider vinegar¼ cup worcestershire sauce1 tsp ground white pepper1 tsp ground ginger 1 golden delicious apple which has been peeled, cored and finely grated 1 small onion
Cut them up and they are ready to serve! Perfect baby back ribs!
If youre looking for an easy side dish to make with your ribs check out these BBQ Grilled Spaghetti Squash Rings
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