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How to Make Grilled Ribs

What's better than ribs? Ribs that you cook on an outdoor grill.


  • Step 1: Choose your ribs Decide if you want beef, pork, or lamb ribs. Then choose a cut: The meatiest pork ribs are spareribs, which are larger but less tender than baby back ribs. As for beef, short ribs are usually less expensive than pork ribs. Lamb ribs are often sold as Denver ribs and come from the lamb's breast and belly.
  • Step 2: Remove the membranes Rinse the meat, pat it dry with paper towels, and pull off the silvery membrane – also known as silverskin – with your hands.
  • Step 3: Prepare a rub Mix together whatever combination of dry seasonings you like and rub a generous amount of it into the meat with your hands, or use a prepared rub from the market. Then wrap the ribs in plastic and refrigerate them for at least two hours so the rub has time to penetrate the meat.
  • TIP: Instead of using a dry rub, you can also marinate the meat overnight.
  • Step 4: Let the ribs stand Take the ribs from the fridge, unwrap them, and let them stand for about 20 minutes before putting them on the grill.
  • Step 5: Fire up the grill Get the grill ready. Ribs should cook slowly, bone-side down, over low, indirect heat. For a gas grill, preheat on high for 20 minutes, then turn off the middle burners and set the others to low. For charcoal, wait until the coals begin to turn gray and then push them into two piles on either side of the basin and cook the ribs on the center of the grate.
  • TIP: For wood-smoked ribs, soak a handful of wood chips in water for 30 minutes to an hour. Then, sprinkle them on top of the coals or put them in your grill's smoker box after the first half-hour of cooking.
  • Step 6: Cook Let the ribs cook, covered with the vents open, one to two hours for gas grills and two to three hours for charcoal. You'll know they're almost done when the meat begins to separate from the bone. At that point, brush them with barbecue sauce if you like; don't do it earlier or the sugar in the sauce will burn.
  • TIP: Test for doneness by cutting off one rib; if it's whitish-pink in color and juicy, the meat is done.
  • Step 7: Let them rest Remove the ribs from the grill, place them on a platter, cover it with foil, and let them rest for 10 minutes before serving. Put out a barbecue sauce for dipping – and lots of napkins!
  • FACT: In 1986 a Florida man set a Guinness Record for holding the largest beef barbecue, serving 50,000 people in one weekend.

You Will Need

  • Ribs
  • Dry seasonings
  • Plastic wrap
  • A charcoal or gas grill
  • Barbecue sauce
  • A pastry brush
  • Aluminum foil
  • Marinade
  • Wood chips

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