Smoky BBQ Babyback Ribs

by Kimberly Hickok

Our family really enjoys ribs. Over the years we’ve used a number of different techniques to make them. We’ve boiled them and then finished them on the grill. We’ve baked them. Sometimes  we’ve used a dry rub – other times we haven’t.Well, I think we’ve finally figured out the easiest way to get flavorful, tender smoky ribs. You don’t need any special equipment. A gas or charcoal grill will work just fine. Wood chips you can find just about anywhere. I used mesquite but you can use apple, cherry or whatever suits your fancy. Finally you’ll need a dry rub, barbecue sauce and babyback ribs.

For best results, remove the thin tough membrane on the back of the ribs. Then sprinkle the dry rub on the ribs, press it into the meat, cover with

Dry Rub for Ribs
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Making a flavorful dry rub for ribs or chicken couldn't be easier. This rub is the right mix of savory herbs with just a touch of heat and sweet.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Serves: 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Stir with a fork or whisk. Generously rub on ribs or chicken.
  2. Leftover rub can be stored in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag.

plastic and refrigerate overnight.

This is the membrane. Find the end of it and pull it off.

 There are lots of different rub mixes out there, but it’s super simple to make your own.

Dry Rub for 4-5 lbs. of ribs:

  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

Lightly sprinkle the ribs, both sides, with the rub, then press it into the ribs.

The key to tender flavorful ribs is cooking them ‘low and slow’. The ribs take 2 ½ to 3 hours to cook. For the first two hours, cook them at 275˚. A grill with a temperature gauge is super helpful to have.

I use a gas grill. Using only the two right burners on a medium to low setting, place a foil pack with wood chips that have been soaked on the grates just above the flame. As the wood chips dry out, they’ll produce smoke which will impart its own flavor to the ribs.

Notice the packet of chips over the open flames. As the ribs cooked I rotated them around the grill and flipped them. For the last hour I basted them with barbecue sauce.

For the last 45 minutes or so, increase the heat to 325˚ and brush the barbecue sauce of your choice on the ribs. I usually purchase a good quality barbecue sauce and thin it out a little bit with some apple cider vinegar. Another tip, flip and rotate the ribs about every 20 minutes. Enjoy!

This closeup shows how tender the ribs get. When I flipped them they broke apart. Mmmm . . . yummy!

 

Originally posted May 12, 2010.

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6 comments

Amanda March 28, 2013 - 10:18 pm

Mouth = watering

Reply
janicedoty July 25, 2013 - 9:42 pm

These sound wonderful!! Have you done them in the oven this way? We have a charcoal grill and not sure if we could keep an even heat for that long 🙁

Thanks for the dry rub recipe–looks very flavorful!

Reply
Kimberly Hickok July 26, 2013 - 6:59 am

You won’t get the ‘smokiness’ from the oven. We do ribs in the oven and they always turn out great. I would still try your charcoal grill to finish the ribs. Start them in the oven on low and then transfer to the grill. If you cover them with foil while they’re in the oven they will take even less time to cook. Please let me know how you make out!

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How To Cook a Turkey on the Big Green Egg - Kimversations March 16, 2016 - 1:27 pm

[…] delicious briskets, a couple of pork butts for pulled pork. I’ve also used it to make my smoky babyback ribs and they turned out delicious […]

Reply
Joan Bonnewitz May 26, 2016 - 6:42 pm

Do you use prepared mustard or powdered in the dry rub?

Reply
Kimberly Hickok May 27, 2016 - 8:40 am

I use dry mustard in the rub. I DO like to add a bit of mustard to my BBQ sauce too.

Reply

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