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Grilled BBQ Baby Back Ribs Recipe

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Our Grilled BBQ Baby Back Ribs recipe is the perfect combination of juicy, fall off the bone goodness and easy! You’ll be licking your fingers in no time!

A rack of ribs that have been grilled. A couple of ribs have been cut from the rack. A brush with bbq glaze is next to the rack of ribs.

A Grilled Baby Back Ribs recipe has been on my mind for years, but none have been fall off the bone like our Traeger Smoked Ribs recipe. Until now. 

 

I hate to break this to you, but if you’ve been cooking your ribs on the grill for 1-3 hours your ribs probably aren’t as tender as they could be. That’s ok though, we can make this work. You just need to lower the temperature and lengthen your time on the grill. 

A dinner plate with several grilled pork ribs.

What Kind of Ribs for Grilling?

I’ve been asked a few times lately, “do you use pork or beef ribs for grilling?” and the answer is always the same, Pork ribs!

 

Baby Back Ribs are your first pick when grilling ribs, but second up would be a St Louis style rib

A rack of uncooked ribs on a baking pan. There are small containers of brown sugar, apple juice and mustard sitting next to the ribs.

What’s the Difference Between Spare Ribs and Baby Back Ribs?

Alright, whenever I go to the store to pick up some ribs I seem to hit the same issue, lots of spare ribs and that’s about it. Because of that I’ve started to shop more at the local butcher’s store. Here’s why:

Spare ribs come from the belly area while baby back ribs are taken from around loin. Baby back ribs are a bit more curved and there’s more fat between the ribs.

Spare ribs cook faster because they have less meat, but baby back tend to be the fave.

Ingredients for the rub for grilled bbq ribs. little containers of paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and cumin. a container of salt, a little bowl of brown sugar, thyme and nutmeg.

 

What You Need

I always keep this rub on hand for quick BBQ deliciousness. Start by getting these ingredients:

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

 

Rub for grilled ribs. The ingredients are mixed together in a measuring cup.

For the Ribs

  • Baby Back Ribs 
  • Mustard 
  • Apple Juice

 

 

The MOST IMPORTANT TIP for Making Ribs

The most important thing that I never knew when making ribs was to remove the silver skin membrane from the back of the ribs. 

How to Remove the Membrane

  • 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. 

A paper towel is your best friend in membrane removal. It makes it super easy to grip the membrane and pull it clean off of the ribs. Really, it will come off so easily, no need to work the knife and try trimming it, it will come off just by pulling it. 

A rack of ribs covered with bbq rub and ready to go on the grill.

 

How to Make Baby Back Ribs Recipe

 
  • In a small bowl, mix together the mustard and apple juice. This is used like a paste to keep the spices on the ribs.  
  • 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.
  • Cook the ribs for 4 hours, then wrap in parchment paper or foil and cook an additional 1-3 hours, depending on how thick the meat is.

 

A rack of grilled ribs with three ribs sliced from the rack. A brush with glaze for the ribs is next to the rack of ribs.

How to Cook Pork Ribs

 

  • 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. 

Oh, Sweet Basil Pro Tip

Grills really struggle to keep their heat, because of this you have to pop outside every hour or so to check on the heat. If it’s too high or low you’ll need to adjust accordingly, by turning the heat up and down. 

 

Three grilled pork ribs on a dinner plate.

What Is The Difference Between Spare Ribs And Baby Back Ribs?

Spare ribs come from the belly of the pork.

Baby back ribs are taken from around loin, the muscle that runs along the pig’s back on either side of the spine. 

They are curvier and smaller than spare ribs and are a lot meatier than spare ribs.

 

A rack of grilled pork ribs with a couple of ribs that are sliced off. A brush with glaze and a measuring cup of rub and some fresh thyme are in the background.

Why Do You Use A Rub When Grilling Meat?

Rubs are placed on meats before grilling to add flavor. 

A rub shouldn’t overpower the meat, but they should enhance the natural flavor.

 

Three grilled ribs on a dinner plate.

How Long Will Grilled Baby Back Ribs Keep?

Grilled ribs should be stored in a shallow container with a tight fitting lid, or wrapped well in foil or plastic wrap.

Properly stored, grilled baby back ribs will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

A rack of grilled pork ribs with a couple of ribs that are sliced off. A brush with glaze and a measuring cup of rub are in the background.

Can You Freeze Grilled Baby Back Ribs?

Yes, freeze in covered airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags, or wrap tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil or freezer wrap.

Properly stored, grilled baby back ribs can be kept in the freezer for 2-3 months.

 

A rack of grilled pork ribs with a couple of ribs that are sliced off. A brush with glaze and a measuring cup of rub are in the background.

How Do You Reheat Grilled Baby Back Ribs?

Wrap your ribs in foil, then wrap a second layer of foil and place on the grill with indirect heat.

Warm to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

 

Want More Ribs?

Sides for baby back ribs recipe

 

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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.

A rack of ribs that have been grilled. A couple of ribs have been cut from the rack. A brush with bbq glaze is next to the rack of ribs.

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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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