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Easy Fall Off The Bone BBQ Spare Ribs

2 Reviews

Fall-off-the-bone BBQ spare ribs that are so easy! The key is wrapping these babies up in Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil and letting them cook on the grill low and slow.

I am so thrilled to partner with Reynolds Wrap® Foil for this post! It is the best foil and is essential for this recipe because the Heavy Duty Foil is thicker, more durable and perfect for grilling ribs!

 

a photo of a rack pf grilled spare ribs broken apart on a wooden cutting board. there is a box of reynolds wrap next to the ribs and a small bowl of bbq sauce on the side as well as a sauce bottle with bbq sauce in it.

Ribs have always been a summertime staple in our family, but that doesn’t mean that we were making them. We were in a constant struggle to find a way to cook the ribs so that they were so tender the meat would fall off and the bone slips clean out, but it never happened.

3 Secrets to Fall Off the Bone Ribs

There are 3 things that will absolutely ensure that your ribs are tender and completely fall off of the bone when you go to take a bite. 

  1. Spare Ribs. Cade is a big baby back ribs fan because there is more meat but they tend to not turn out as tender. Though with longer cook and resting time you can still achieve tender meat, but no one has time for 13 hours. 
  2. Reynolds Wrap®. Wrapping your ribs in heavy duty foil locks in moisture and acts almost like a steam oven which keeps your meat delicious!
  3. Finally, time. Time is ESSENTIAL! You have to give the ribs plenty of time to not just be cooked but

    but to rest so the meat pulls away from the bone and breaks down connective tissue. TIME! 

a photo of a wooden plate piled high with juicy ribs.

What Ingredients are Needed for Grilled Spare Ribs?

Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil is crucial to getting the right cook on the ribs to get the juicy tender meat falling off the bones. So here is your grocery list and don’t forget the Reynolds Wrap®!

Rub

  • Kosher Salt
  • Brown Sugar
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Chili Powder
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Thyme
  • Cumin
  • Nutmeg

Ribs

The measurement for each ingredient can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post.

a photo of a grilled rack of ribs sitting on a sheet of foil on top of a baking sheet.

How to Make Grilled Spare Ribs

Here are the step-by-step instructions for the easiest ribs you’ll ever make! These instructions can also be found in the recipe card down below.

Meat

Ok, first things first, you need to buy good quality meat.  We prefer spare ribs compared to baby back ribs. There is more meat on the spare ribs and the low and slow grilling makes the meat so tender.

Next you need to prep the meat. Depending on where you bought it, you may need to remove the membrane off the back of the meat. Here’s a great little “how to post” on removing the membrane.

Combine the mustard, apple juice and apple cider vinegar and slather the mixture all over the ribs.

Pro TIP! 

If you’re in a hurry, you can skip this part and only do a dry rub. ! 

Dry Rub

Combine all the ingredients for the dry rub in a jar and shake it. Label the jar and write the date on it. Dry rub will be good for around two months.

A dry rub adds so much flavor to the ribs. Massage that delicious spice rub on both sides of the meat. You won’t use all of the rub, so save some of it for the next time you grill.

PRO TIP: So many readers are over-seasoning ribs. More is not better! The backside doesn’t really need the rub but I do it anyway. The rule of thumb with rub is, however much rub naturally sticks to the ribs is all you need. Whatever falls off after rubbing it in is over-seasoning.

 
a photo of a plate of grilled ribs coated in a dry rub.

Grill

Alright, now that your meat is prepped, it is time to heat the grill to 225 degrees F. You want to use indirect heat to cook the ribs. So only light half of the burners on your grill if you can. Add the ribs to grill on the side where the burners are off and close the lid. Check the grill every hour to make sure the heat is staying around 225 degrees F. Let the ribs cook for 4 hours.

Now it is time for the Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil. This will allow the meat to cook without browning or caramelizing the meat. It’s all about keeping the moisture and juices with the meat.

Wrap your ribs in the Heavy Duty Foil and cook the ribs for another 1-3 hours, depending on how thick the meat is.

 
PRO TIP: I like to test the doneness of the ribs by lifting the ribs with the tongs and letting them bend a little. The bones in the meat will feel loose and the meat will start to break apart. Then they are ready to go!
 

Why Use Heavy Duty Foil?

As a Reynolds Wrap® Ambassador, I’m excited to show you how to use the Heavy Duty Foil in this recipe. It keeps all the juices inside, and it’s so sturdy and doesn’t tear easily which makes for a super easy cleanup.

I used to double wrap the ribs until I discovered this foil. It is perfect for cooking heavier foods like ribs. I’m totally sold! Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil is also available in the wider 18-inch roll which is amazing for grilling!

Just place the ribs in the middle of the foil and then fold up the sides, rolling the foil together on the top to lock in the moisture.

Reynolds Wrap® even recently added a new easy open and close tab on every foil box, so once you’re done wrapping the ribs, you can easily keep the box closed in storage. Look for the blue Heavy Duty Foil package. 

 

a photo of a baking sheet with a rack of ribs wrapped in foil on it.

What Type of Ribs is Best?

Spare or St. Louis style are best. Baby back can be used if that’s all you can find. I prefer spare ribs as they are more tender and fall off the bone and don’t require as long on the grill.

Can Spare Ribs Be Made Ahead of Time?

Ribs can be made a few hours ahead of time, but eating them fresh is my favorite. If you need to keep the ribs warm, wrap in foil, then in two towels and place in a cooler until time to eat. 

 

a photo of a wooden plate on a wooden table and the plate is full of grilled ribs.

Can You Make Ribs in a Slow Cooker?

Yes, you can prepare ribs in the slow cooker. Our Asian sticky ribs are made in the slow cooker and so good and easy!

Prepare the ribs with a rub of your choice, and cook, covered, on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

When the ribs are nearly falling off the bones, carefully remove from slow cooker and slather with BBQ sauce.

What is the Membrane on Ribs?

The membrane is tissue that is attached to the underside of ribs, and it will not soften when cooked, and will be tough and hard to eat. It should be removed before cooking ribs.

How Long Will Ribs Last?

If you keep ribs in an airtight container, they will last in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

 

It is time for spare ribs on the grill! I know ribs can be a little intimidating, but if you follow this recipe and use Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil, I guarantee you will have the most tender and juicy ribs every time!

 

More Ribs Recipes You Should Try:

 

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a photo of a wooden plate on a wooden table and the plate is full of grilled ribs.

Easy BBQ Ribs

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 7 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Rub

  • 1/4 Cup Kosher Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Onion Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Cumin
  • 1 Pinch Nutmeg

Ribs

Instructions

For The Rub

  • Combine all the ingredients in a jar, and give it a good shaking.
  • It doesn't matter what order you go in. Make sure you label the jar with the date you made the rub. Typically two months is a good shelf life for your homemade rubs. Enjoy!

For The Ribs

  • Flip the ribs over and using a knife, pierce the silver skin of the ribs and pull it up a little. Use a paper towel and a firm grip to pull off the membrane. 
  • In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, apple juice, and apple cider vinegar. 
  • Slather the ribs in the mustard mixture then coat evenly with spices. Do not use all of the dry rub as it makes a lot. Just save the rest in a jar for another day.
  • Heat the grill to 225 degrees F. If you can have indirect heat by not lighting certain burners on your grill, this is best. Add the ribs and close the lid, checking every 30-60 minutes just to maintain the heat. Cook the ribs for 4 hours, then wrap in Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil and cook an additional 1-3 hours, depending on how thick the meat is.
  • To test if the ribs are done, use tongs to lift the ribs and bend them. You should feel the bones loose in the meat and see the meat easily bend and break apart.
  • If you need to keep the ribs warm, wrap in foil, then in two towels and place in a cooler until time to eat. 

Oven Baked Method

  • If you do not have access to a grill you can use the oven. Prepare the ribs per above. Heat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Wrap the ribs tightly in Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil. Use a top and a bottom piece for easier opening. Place the ribs on a baking sheet.
  • Cook the ribs, meat side up for 3 1/2- 4 hours.
  • Remove the ribs from the foil, increase oven temp to 500 and cook the ribs until the outside is crispy, about 1-4 minutes.

Notes

Grilled ribs will keep in a tightly covered dish in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
Nutrition Facts
Easy BBQ Ribs
Amount Per Serving (3 Ribs)
Calories 699 Calories from Fat 495
% Daily Value*
Fat 55g85%
Saturated Fat 17g106%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 9g
Monounsaturated Fat 20g
Cholesterol 182mg61%
Sodium 7474mg325%
Potassium 745mg21%
Carbohydrates 13g4%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 37g74%
Vitamin A 1508IU30%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 85mg9%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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a photo of a plate of grilled ribs coated in a dry rub.

 

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Secrets to Cooking on a Smoker like a Pro!

About the authors

carrian feik cheney oh sweet basil

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

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Recipe Rating




30 comments

  • This is my go to rib recipe. It’s so easy and they come out perfect every time.

    • Reply
    • Thank you so much Tara!

      • Reply
  • Look delicious, great recipe with images.
    I’ll have to try them :)), thank you for sharing.

    • Reply
    • Thank you!

      • Reply
  • I just cooked ribs using this exact technique, but not this rub (sounds too salty). And your hubby is right! The oven cooking in foil makes the ribs fall off the bone tender! Easy and delicious!
    I had read numerous recipes. Some you boil, some you boil then grill, some you oven bake, etc……This is the best and the simplest of all. You won’t be disappointed with this technique. And if you don’t want to bother with the grill, simply turn on the oven broiler for the last step. Yum.

    • Reply
    • Thanks! It’s a great technique. And you could always cut down the salt, but we’ve never had them taste salty. 🙂

      • Reply
  • I tried these ribs and they truly are fall off the bone, but they are way too salty. Next time I’ll try just a tablespoon of salt instead of 1/4 cup. Hope they will still be fall off the bone.

    • Reply
    • Yes, make sure you only cover them enough depending on how big your rack is. 🙂

      • Reply
  • Ribs were very tender! Add less chilli powder & salt! Taste was decent I would add less chili powder I was slightly disappointed! It was not totally disgusting but not that great!

    • Reply
  • When I pinned this recipe I knew it was the perfect meal to make for Memorial Day. I made the ribs for my husband and son and they both were very pleased. My son commented that these were the best ribs he has ever eaten. I will make these again for sure! I used the remaining spice rub on some pork chops (I am not a huge fan of ribs) and they too were delicious!

    Thanks for the recipe! I am sure it is going to be the family go-to BBQ recipe from now on!

    • Reply
  • They were AMAZING! We will definitely be making them again!

    • Reply
    • yay!!! I’m so thrilled!

      • Reply
  • So tender and good! Next time will add more brown sugar. Great!

    • Reply
    • Ohh, I’m all about more brown sugar. I’ll try that too!!

      • Reply
  • Oh yum! These look fantastic 🙂 I love ribs!

    • Reply
  • I am totally craving ribs now!

    • Reply
  • These look so good! We love ribs so we’ll definitely have to try these!

    • Reply
  • Wow do those look finger lickin’ GOOD! Being a Texas girl, I’ve got a tried and true recipe but would love to give yours a go!

    • Reply
  • I’m afraid of ribs. I think I’m afraid to ruin a pricier cutof meat. Maybe I will turn this over to the hubby and try it this weekend. 🙂

    • Reply
  • Well hello there Memorial Day dinner 🙂

    • Reply
  • I’m always impressed by the meat at Costco, and baby back are my favorite too. I even have a recipe in my cookbook and I call for baby back ribs. These look amazing, I’ll have to give them a try soon!

    • Reply
  • The perfect memorial day treat!

    • Reply
  • so what’s the seasoning mix??

    • Reply
    • hahaha, thank you for pointing that out!!! I guess when you’ve got a sick toddler you lose your mind a bit. The dry rub is in there now. Enjoy!!

      • Reply
      • I didn’t remember commenting on this in 2013 until someone commented yesterday!

        Almost 3 years ago I met the man who will be my husband in 2 weeks. About a month or two in, I met his parents and went to their house to make these ribs, your spice rub included ;). His mom is from the Dominican Republic and she said, “there’s a saying in my country, ‘okay, you can cook, now you can get married.’” One of his sons recently threw a huge fit at a recent BBQ when I didn’t make ribs. So THANK YOU for making my new family love me so much. 🙂

      • You’ve totally made my day Stephanie! So glad this recipe is a favorite for your family and extended family!

  • Back in my meat eating days, I loved ribs. My mom always bought baby back ribs and swore by them. So the master is correct!

    • Reply
  • My hubby and I are not big fans of ribs (too much work for too little meat), but he has wanted to try and BBQ some for a while now (probably just to add another triumph to his grilling repertoire). I can’t wait to share this recipe with him, maybe we will make them for Memorial Day! Thanks!

    • Reply
    • I’m usually the same. Just make me a steak! But honestly, these are so yummy and we do try to pick out good quality, meatier Ribs. Good luck!! Ribs take a lot of practice but this recipe always turns out perfect for us.

      • Reply
  • YES!! Thank you Carrian (and your husband!)! I have had these very some problems and I so excited to try these this weekend. My family is gonna love me!

    • Reply

Secrets to Cooking on a Smoker like a Pro!