Introduction: How to Grill Ribs

About: Building design/consulting in Vancouver, WA. Resource based problem solver... in other words, I always take a minute to look in construction dumpsters :) ---the way some have to workout everyday... i have to …

Making ribs on a Weber grill is something I learned in New Orleans. It was '09 working post-katrina construction. -----also the year the New Orleans Saints won the superbowl!

Ribs are super forgiving because they are so fatty and you can always include more liquids in the foil. Slow cooking on a gril is always a win! --here is my approach and a few tips!

Here's my approach the the investment in a fine rack of ribs:

  • Money. all in these ribs cost under $9 per rack.
  • Time. say 3 hours prep + cook time
  • Creativity. the fun part for me is in the wrap. I add apple pealswhen I have it but easy to draw inspiration from a NZ Hangi and use cabbage :)

Step 1: The Rub

A dry rub is the easiest approach. It never hurts to marinate or brine meat. I just never want to have to clean the kitchen twice.

My Spice Kit: seasoned salt, pepper, chili powder, cayenne powder, citric acid, canola oil, sechuan pepper sauce or chili pepper sauce ---see why we keep citric acid in a salt shaker

Preparing Meat. We go pre-washed spare ribs. Go baby back for a fattier cut. From aldi I'm expecting to spend $1.99/lb. At Peoria Packing in Chicago I'd expect $1.19/lb. ---not bad at all


  • Apple Peal - some people try to 'cheat' by adding bacon to wrap meat. There really is no need to add fat. Simply wrap the meat with fruit skin. My favorite is to add apple peal but pear, plum, mango... there are a lot of options. ---totally unnecessary to wrap in bacon... I've done it. you're better off to cook the bacon
  • Mayo - never a bad way to add flavor. Some mayo on your meat is an easy way to ensure it stays tender. I think it's a must for grilling fish.
  • Aromatics - onions, garlic, spicy peppers... because it's slow cooking a little flavor goes a long way.

Step 2: The Wrap

Using your foil it's important to get a good seal. My approach is to keep sheets of foil flat and avoid any punctures. I selected this cut based on it's width (there were larger cuts). A couple extra sheets after three can go in any direction to protect the main foil.

No Leaks. temping to overfill the wrap with the apple peal, cabbage, onions, etc... Most important thing is that the foil makes a good seal and doesn't spill juices or leak steam

Step 3: Setup the Coals

The Snake. This arrangement is a classic move to ensure a slow cook. By piling up coals along the rim of the grill the coals continue to advance a flame. I find that a 12-16" (30-40cm) run lasts about the 2-2.5 hours I'm looking for.

Plants. How do you like that... a corn leaf falls right over the grill. Had to pull it back with some lightweight wire.. I'm definitely spending way to much time in the garden. Here's my garden shelf design for keeping tools hand. The most use tool this past week has been the dental pick. See here in Hunting Vine Borers.

Step 4: Slow Cook

Manage the Flame. I adjust the air vents throughout cooking but keep it covered except to check the coals a few times along the way.

  • Start - Open for 10-15min to allow the grill to come to temp.
  • Slow Cook - Nearly closed for 15min - 2+hours. Force the coals to slow burn. Using an infrared thermometer I expect the grill temp to be right around 200 deg.
  • Finish - Open for 10-20 min to crisp up the meat. Make sure to pour any of the juices from the foil over the meat. If there are still substantial coals I would leave it uncovered.

Total Grill Time - 2-2.5 hours

Step 5: The Rack

Finished Product. The final ribs are a beautiful sight! While it does take a few hours to pull together a rack, or two, of ribs it's an excellent product. Great too that the ribs are fatty which makes it hard to really mess up ribs. More forgiving are baby back because of the added fat. Cost is also very reasonable at $8-10 / rack.

Hope you find this instructable useful and are a step closer to grilling ribs if you haven't already!
Thanks, Jeff

Recent Cooking. Here are a few other recent instructables. Consider following jprussack for more!!

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