BBQ Pork Ribs

The choice of meat is very important. I prefer the baby back ribs, however they are on the pricey side. Alternately, select a slab or two of the St. Louis style cut ribs. These are larger and my second preference for a good BBQ. Country cut boneless ribs are very meaty and cost less, however they do tend to have more fat. If the ribs you purchase have a lot of fat, trim to your liking but leave a little fat to improve the flavor. Too much fat may make the fire flare up resulting in a burned product.

I prepare the ribs by cutting half way down between the bones on the thick end. This allows the heat to penetrate the meat for thorough cooking. In addition, if the slabs are too large for the grill, I cut them in half so they will fit more easily. See the attached photo.

Some people say you should boil the ribs for an hour before putting them on the grill. I find this unnecessary, and most of the flavor and nutrients from the meat will go down the drain with the juice that is likely discarded. If you do prefer to precook the ribs, do so in a pressure cooker with a small amount of water or beer for about 20 to 25 minutes at 15 pounds pressure. Then cook the ribs on a grill and apply BBQ sauce on both sides about 15 minutes before removing them from the grill, turning once or twice and applying more sauce so that the sauce forms a glaze on the meat, but is not burnt. You can also broil them in the oven if you prefer. Smoke baking ribs is my preferred method. That is, I bake them over indirect heat (not directly over the coals or heat source) in my smoker at a medium temperature for about 90 minutes to 2 hours. I prefer a mild smoke from oak, mesquite, apple or alder. Too much smoke with overpower the flavor of the meat, so use wood chips sparingly as you would use a spice or herb in a spaghetti sauce.

Now, if I don't have time to smoke bake the ribs, I simply grill the ribs covered for about 45 minutes before applying the sauce. I then cook for an additional 15 minutes, turning frequently and applying more sauce with each turn before removing from the grill.

After smoke baking, I apply the BBQ sauce and place the ribs directly over the coals to grill and carmelize the sauce, turning several times and applying more sauce after each turn. Once the sauce is carmelized and very slightly charred, remove the ribs from the grill, cut, apply a final layer of sauce and serve immediately or place in a preheated oven at 250 degrees to keep warm until you are ready to serve. I like to serve the ribs with fresh corn on the cob, green salad or cole slaw, and beans.


  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 2 hours
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