Tips & Tricks for Perfect BBQ Ribs
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BBQ Ribs Tips & Tricks

Many people love the taste of barbecue ribs, but a lot of people do not know how to cook them correctly. Instead of heading to your nearest steakhouse for a rack of overpriced and generic ribs, learn how to make your own at home using your gas or charcoal grill. Yhey will be surprisingly good and surprisingly easy.

This article is a great overview for those who just want to jump right it. There are a bunch of links in the text to more advanced topics, including some great hot sauce, rib recipes, or BBQ recipes for fall and winter.

Prep and Marinate Your Ribs

Raw ribs
Image Credits: steven lim on Unsplash

Before putting a rack of ribs on the gas grill or charcoal grill, trim off the silver skin. This membrane on the underside of the ribs cannot be chewed and no marinade or spice in the world can penetrate it. Start removing the silver skin using a knife, then grasp it between two fingers and pull it completely off. We have a full article on trimming pork ribs.

When cooking ribs, it is best to marinate them 10 – 12 hours before cooking time. The type of marinade that you use will depend on the flavor that you are looking for but look for a thin marinade that does not contain any sugar so that it will better seep into the meat.

There are lots of different BBQ styles. We have recipes for Memphis dry rub and sauce or, my favorite, Kansas City sauce.

Remember Your Dry Rub

Dry rub on ribs
Image Credits: Egor Gordeev on Unsplash

In the midst of choosing the perfect marinade and barbecue sauce for your ribs, you might forget about another important step — seasoning your ribs.

Since everyone has different preferences when it comes to seasonings and spices, it is best for you to create your own dry rub. You can also purchase a dry rub that is designed for ribs from your local grocery store, but you will enjoy your meal much more if you create the rub yourself. Experiment with salt, black pepper, and a few of your favorite spices for the perfect rub for your ribs. For a slightly sweet taste, try adding a bit of brown sugar.

Never Boil Your Ribs First

A lot of people choose to boil their ribs before grilling them in order to save time. However, this is not a good idea if you want your ribs to be truly memorable. When you boil your ribs, you are stealing precious juices from your ribs, and they simply will not be as tender or tasty when you grill them. Unless absolutely necessary, you should skip this step.

Take Your Time

A man grilling ribs on a grill
Image Credits: Z Grills Australia – zgrills.com.au on Unsplash

Although you are probably ready to enjoy your ribs right away, you should remember that patience is a virtue. You can turn your grill up on high in order to get your ribs done more quickly, but they will not be nearly as satisfying as they will be if you cook them using the “low and slow” method.

After cleaning your grill and heating it to the lowest possible setting, you should place your ribs on the grill grate and allow them to cook on low for several hours for the best results. This process can take anywhere from three to five hours, but it is worth the wait; they will be the best ribs that you have ever cooked and possibly the best ribs that you have ever eaten.

If you want to cook ribs a bit faster, you can try out our 3-2-1 method for cooking ribs: 3 hours smoking, two hours steaming, and one hour back in the smoker with sauce. It will allow you to get a real smoky flavor!

Leave Them Alone

Another important step of grilling your ribs is leaving them alone as much as possible. Although you do want to check on them periodically to make sure that they are not overcooking, you do not want to open the grill lid too often. Doing so not only allows the heat to escape but also lets out steam. Since steam helps to keep your ribs moist and tender, you want to keep as much of it inside your grill as possible.

Choose The Perfect Sauce

Three spicy sauces
Image Credits: Amie Johnson on Unsplash

There are actually plenty of bottled varieties out there that offer an impressive taste, but you should also consider making your own barbecue sauce sometimes for even better results. Since some people like spicy sauces, while others prefer a sweet taste of apple juice, you should test out several recipes, and consider including your own touches to make the sauce your own.

Here’s our full guide on how much sauce to apply to BBQ (and when to apply it).

Don’t Add The Sauce Too Early

Once you have chosen the right sauce, you are probably anxious to throw it on your ribs. However, wait until they are almost finished cooking. It will not take long for the sauce to heat up after you have added them onto the hot ribs, and adding the sauce on too quickly might cause the sauce to burn. Instead, add your sauce when your ribs are finished cooking and close the lid long enough for the steam and heat to warm up the sauce. You are then ready to enjoy your tender and delicious ribs.

Plate Them Up

By using these few tips, your ribs can be as mouth-wateringly addictive as those prepared by any professional chef. Before long, your friends and family will be clamoring for more of your secret recipe. The best part is that you don’t have to be a chef to prepare them. All you need to do is follow our instructions and you will be able to enjoy delicious ribs!

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