Last Updated on November 29, 2021 by Joseph Clements
Barbecue season is probably our favourite season of the year. It feels good when you take out your grill on a summer afternoon. And grill food and enjoy it with your family and friends. To make this season much more enjoyable for you, we recommend you get a gas grill. As it is more efficient and economical. For more information regarding gas grills, check our article on the best gas grills under $1000.
Also, the kinds of meat you can barbecue are many. If you have a good gas grill, why not explore with different meats, right? Limiting yourself to only burgers or steaks should never be the case.
One of our favourite things to make in a gas grill is pork back ribs. Although getting the traditional barbecue taste in the ribs is a tad bit difficult. So you can follow some quick and easy tips which will make your pork ribs tender and juicy. To help you with that, we have come up with a recipe for you. And follow all our instructions to get the best possible results. Further, we will tell you how to barbecue ribs on a gas grill.
How to barbecue ribs on a gas grill?
We have bought all the details you will need to know about grilling pork ribs on a gas grill. Be sure to follow all the steps.
Choosing the ribs
You should know that the pork ribs which you can use to barbecue are also of two different types:
Baby Back Ribs
This type of pork ribs comes from the place where the ribs of the animal join the spine. Also, the loin part of the meat is removed. So in more simple terms, they are the upper part of the ribs. Although the name might suggest it, the ribs do not come from a baby piglet. And they have a name like this because of their shortness when compared to the other cut of ribs. So these have around 12-13 ribs and weigh almost 2lbs normally. And one rack of baby ribs is enough to feed two people.
Also, these baby back ribs are pretty lean. But because of its tenderness, they are costlier than the other kind.
Then the second rib cut is the spareribs. And these come from near the belly of the pig. So they are the lower part of the ribs. And these usually have hard bones and membranes. So you will have to trim it down before you prepare it. These ribs have a higher fat content and are fleshier than the baby ribs. The minimum weight of a rack of spare ribs is around 2 ½ lbs. And you can easily feed 3-4 people with one rack.
Although meatier, spareribs are cheaper than baby back ribs.
So you can have your choice of ribs among these two. Although the baby ribs are much more tender, the spareribs’s high fat content gives it the juicy flavour. But keep in mind that both of them require slow cooking. So patience is key while you barbecue pork ribs.
Prepping the meat
For you to get the delicious and juicy barbecue ribs, prepare them perfectly. Almost all the ribs you get from butchers, especially spareribs, are not trimmed. Hence, the first thing you need to do is trim the meat. So that all the extra fat, meat and skin do not hamper the barbecue process. And it leaves you with almost a square piece of ribs.
- So the first thing you need to trim away is the skirt. No, not an actual skirt. The skirt is a thin strip of meat at the back or the bone part of the ribs. And this makes the ribs bulkier and uneven. When you do not remove it, the ribs will take much longer to cook.
- Then you will need to remove the silver skin or the membrane from the ribs. If you do not remove it, the meat will not absorb the seasonings. So cut off the membrane with a small sharp knife on the top of the ribs. And pull it off the ribs.
- After that, you can also remove the rib tips. Although not necessary, you can remove the top of the bones. So that you are left with a fleshier rack of ribs.
Seasoning the Ribs
There are a variety of dry rubs you can use to season your ribs. Here you may notice that all the rubs have sugar in it. For us, a sugar base is a great foundation for ribs. Not only does it complement with pork but also gives it a nice brown exterior.
So for you, we have a few types of rubs of which will be great for your ribs:
Simple Sweet and Spicy Dry Rub
For 1 cup of this dry rub, you need:
- 6 tbsps brown sugar
- 3 tbsps kosher salt
- 3 tbsps smoked paprika
- 3 tbsps ground black pepper
- 2 tsps garlic powder
After that, take all ingredients together and combine. You can take it in a bowl and mix them together. Or may put them in a jar and shake it well. The jar makes it easy to store it too.
Our special Bbq Dry Rub
To get around 5 cups of this, you will need:
- 16 oz. kosher salt
- 2 oz. smoked paprika
- 5 oz. cayenne pepper
- 8 oz. brown sugar
- 2 tsps dry mustard powder
- 2 tsps garlic powder
- 1 tbsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp ground dried ginger
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp coriander powder
Mix all the ingredients together and store it for future use.
So you may choose one of these rubs or use a different one of your choice.
- Take a good amount of the dry rub and sprinkle it on the ribs. Be sure to cover all the sides of the ribs.
- Gently rub in the dry rub. And do not overdo it.
- After that, the moisture of the meat will rub to cling on to it.
Setting up the grill
After all of that, you will need to set up your gas grill for the ribs. And these are some points you need to remember:
- Always keep in mind that you need to grill your pork ribs with indirect heat. So for that, a grill with at least two burners is appropriate. Then you can put the meat on a different surface and switch on the burner on the other side.
- During the grilling, you will need a grill surface thermometer. Although not mandatory, these thermometers will help you a lot in grilling.
Smoking is also one of the most important things you need to do while you grill back ribs.
A lot of grills have a built-in smoke box. But if you don’t have it, we have got you covered. And you can check our article on how to smoke on a gas grill.
Now we shall go to the actual process of grilling of the rib rack:
- First, you will need to preheat the gas grill to 200°F. Only turn on one side of the burners.
- Then you should oil the grates of the grill.
- If you are using smoke bombs, you can raise the temperature to around 375°F. So that the wood in your bomb burns.
- After that, place the ribs on the other side of the grill where burners are not burning, bone side down. If you are grilling a baby back rib, you will need to place it closer to the working burner. And if you are using a longer sparerib, place it diagonally. And also rotate it to cook it uniformly.
- Then close the lid and set the temperature to 200°F.
- Grill each side for 30 minutes.
- After an hour, your ribs will be amply browned. And you can remove them from the grill.
Wrapping foil on the ribs
This is a very important part of grilling ribs. And you do this after the ribs have browned:
- Make a container out of the aluminium foil. And it should be big enough to hold the entire rack of ribs.
- Then you must add unsweetened apple juice to it. With this juice you steam the ribs and make them tender.
- Cover the rib, such that the juice does not leak out.
- After that, place the foil covered ribs inside the grill like previously on indirect heat.
- Now, turn the grills temperature to about 375°F.
- And after 30 minutes, turn the temperature down to low.
- Unwrap the foil after 10 minutes to check whether the racks are done. Also, you can do the sag test where you hold one end of the rib. And if the rib sags down due its flexibility, it is done. Also, the bones somewhat stick out when your ribs are done.
- If you see some parts are not browned properly, cover the ribs again. And grill it for 10-15 minutes more at a temperature of 260°F.
Applying bbq sauce on the ribs
At last we come to probably the most essential part of barbecue ribs, the barbecue sauce itself. So choose a good authentic barbecue sauce, or else it might ruin the whole rib. A good barbecue rib is sticky with sauce.
Therefore, apply the bbq sauce on one side of the ribs. And then keep the ribs on the grill to let it cook for a bit.
After that, apply the sauce to the other side of the rib and again keep it on the grill to cook.
Repeat this process until you have at least two coats on each side of the rib.
After five minutes of your last coat, you can remove the rib from the grill. Further, let the ribs rest for 15 minutes before you serve it.
How long does it take to grill ribs?
So the grilling of a rib has a lot of processes. The indirect grilling takes 1 hour, 30 minutes on each side. Then the aluminium foil covered cooking of the ribs takes more 30 minutes. If you are putting on a bbq sauce, it takes another 20 minutes. So with a rough calculation, the ribs take around 2 hrs to grill properly.
What is the best temperature to grill the ribs?
As the ribs need slow cooking to get best results, keep the temperature between 200-225°F. So it helps you cook the ribs slowly and perfectly.
How do I know if my ribs are done?
When your ribs are done, a ¾th of an inch of the rib bones will stick out from the meat. As the perfectly cooked meat shrinks in size.
How do I make my ribs tender?
The most perfect way to keep the ribs tender is by wrapping them in an aluminium foil. While you place them in the foil, also add the apple juice. The juice steams with the ribs and makes them more tender.
Do I flip the ribs on the grill?
Yes, you must flip your ribs on the grill. While you are grilling it on the gas grill with indirect heat, you need to flip it. So flip it after 30 minutes on one side. And flip it only once.
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We are ending our article on rib grilling here. And we have that you enjoyed knowing the specifics grilling. Although rib grilling is quite a task, once you master it, it will be like a feather in your cap.