Grilled Baby Back Ribs (+Video)
Let me show you how to easily gas grill baby back ribs. Includes a deliciously easy pork rub seasoning and a simple glaze. No special tools needed for delicious ribs!
HOW TO (EASILY) GAS GRILL THE BEST PORK RIBS EVER!
I know that grilling pork ribs can seem intimidating. I hesitated to grill ribs for a long time. I just thought there were too many steps and that I needed to learn how to use a smoker or to create some sort of makeshift smoker. All of that is well and good, but it’s not absolutely necessary to create delicious, tender, flavorful baby back ribs. And yes, you can do it on a gas grill! Just make sure your propane tank is full and I’m gonna show you how you can do this without any fancy tools or tricks!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Before grilling the ribs, it’s important to remove the membrane on the back of the ribs, which can be tough and chewy. It’s also important to properly season the ribs with your favorite dry rub (I’ve included my homemade rub recipe in the recipe card below!)
Grilling time will depend on the thickness of the ribs and the temperature of your grill. As a general rule, it’s best to grill the ribs over a medium-low heat for about 1-2 hours or until the internal temperature reaches between 180°F-190°F (this lower and slower cooking method will ensure a super tender meat.) Don’t rush it!
It’s best to use indirect heat when grilling ribs, which means placing the ribs on the cooler side of the grill away from direct flames. This will help prevent the ribs from burning or drying out.
The best way to tell if the ribs are done is to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. Pork ribs are safe to eat when they reach an internal temperature of 145°F. However, we’ll be cooking these a bit longer (remember low and slow!) to reach maximum tenderness so we’re looking for a temperature between 180°F- 190°F. Another way to tell if the ribs are done is to check for tenderness – when the meat is cooked through it will separate from the bone easily.
Certainly! I know a lot of people aren’t familiar with using marmalade and vinegar for a sauce out I promise it is out of this world good! It doesn’t drown out the flavor of the meat. However, this same technique works with your favorite BBQ sauce. Or perhaps try and make a Homemade BBQ Sauce!
I love to serve these with some macaroni and cheese, cole slaw and a slice of cornbread!
INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)
- baby back ribs – this is my favorite style of ribs to use for this recipe but it would work with St Louis style ribs as well
- pork seasoning rub – use your favorite store-bought or use my homemade recipe in the recipe card below
- unsweetened apple juice – we want unsweetened here so as not to add too much sweetness since we’re using marmalade as well but if you can only find sweetened, then go with that
- orange marmalade – this might seem like a really weird ingredient but please trust me, it works! It adds a slight sweetness but also giving you a gorgeous thick glaze (peach preserves or apricot preserves also work)
- apple cider vinegar – this actually helps to tenderize the meat while also giving it moisture
- large disposable aluminum tray – this will make cleanup so much easier but you can use any pan that is safe to use on the grill
- aluminum foil
HOW TO MAKE BABY BACK RIBS:
Time needed: 1 hour and 20 minutes.
- Prepare ribs
Remove pork ribs from the packaging and pat ribs dry with a paper towel. Spray the aluminum pan with nonstick cooking spray or rub with oil. Place ribs into pan. Remove silver skin from the back side of the ribs. Cook’s note: This is optional. I like to remove it because it’s a tough and rubber-y membrane that can make it a bit more challenging to eat the ribs after they are cooked. It is super easy to remove since it will pull off in one piece. It also helps the pork rub penetrate the meat easier.
- Add the rub
Sprinkle some of the pork rub seasoning onto the back of the ribs. It’s called ‘rub’ for a reason. So you want to really get in there and rub and press it in. Note: if you’d like, you can cut the rack of ribs in half to make it easier to handle on the grill later.
- Get both sides
Flip the ribs over and season the opposite side. The rule of thumb with rub seasoning is however much naturally sticks to the ribs is enough. Whatever falls off after rubbing it in can be discarded. Pour apple juice into the bottom of the pan. Cover pan with aluminum foil and place into the fridge until your grill is ready.
- Ensure propane tank is full
We are gonna be cooking these ribs at a low temperature for over an hour. So make sure your propane tank is full or that you have another tank on standby, just in case.
- Preheat grill
Preheat grill to 300°F degrees. It’s important to try to maintain this temperature through the cooking process so your ribs don’t cook too fast. I have 3 burners and I will usually keep the middle burner off and just keep the two end burners on low so it’s a nice, low, indirect heat for the ribs. Clean the grill grates and carefully wipe them down with a bit of oil (you’ll need nice, clean, nonstick grates a little later.)
- Time to grill!
Place pan of ribs onto grill. Cover grill and cook for about an hour (maintaining 300°F degrees during the cooking process.) You may need up to 2 hours for these ribs so plan accordingly (especially if you are having difficulty keeping the temperature at a consistent temperature.)
Ribs are safe to eat when an inserted meat thermometer (into the thickest part of the meat – away from the bone) reaches 145°F degrees. But by cooking it low and slow for a longer amount of time, the ribs will end up reaching a temperature closer to 180°F -190°F degrees and that creates a more tender meat. Carefully remove ribs from the pan and place directly on the grill. Ensure heat stays on low.
- Create the glaze
Meanwhile, in a small pot over medium heat, whisk together marmalade and vinegar. Continue to whisk until it’s combined well. This should only take a minute or two. You can do this on the grill if you have a side burner attached to your grill.
- Baste the ribs
Take pot off heat and baste the cooked ribs with the marmalade sauce. Make sure to coat it well.
- Repeat the process
Cover grill and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Then repeat the process one more time.
- Allow the meat to rest
Carefully remove the ribs off the grill and place on a large cutting board and allow the meat to rest and cool for a few minutes.
- Cut the ribs
With a sharp knife, carefully cut the ribs between the bones and serve! If you cooked these properly, the meat will slide off the bone. Time to enjoy!
CRAVING MORE RECIPES?
Grilled Baby Back Ribs (+Video)
- 1 rack baby back pork ribs
- 1/2 cup pork seasoning rub (see below for a recipe)
- 1 cup unsweetened apple juice
- 1 large disposable aluminum tray
- aluminum foil
- 1/2 cup orange marmalade (peach preserves or apricot preserves)
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- Remove 1 rack baby back pork ribs from the packaging and pat ribs dry with a paper towel. Spray the aluminum pan with nonstick cooking spray or rub with oil. Place ribs into pan. Remove silver skin from the back side of the ribs.
- Sprinkle some of the 1/2 cup pork seasoning rub onto the back of the ribs. It's called 'rub' for a reason. So you want to really get in there and rub and press it in. Note: if you'd like, you can cut the rack of ribs in half to make it easier to handle on the grill later.
- Flip the ribs over and season the opposite side. The rule of thumb with rub is however much naturally sticks to the ribs is enough. Whatever falls off after rubbing it in can be discarded. Pour 1 cup unsweetened apple juice into the bottom of 1 large disposable aluminum tray pan. Cover pan with aluminum foil and place into the fridge until your grill is ready.
- Preheat grill to 300°F degrees. It's important to try to maintain this temperature through the cooking process so your ribs don't cook too fast. I have 3 burners and I will usually keep the middle burner off and just keep the two end burners on low so it's a nice, low, indirect heat for the ribs.
- Clean the grill grates and carefully wipe them down with a bit of oil (you'll need nice, clean, nonstick grates a little later.) Place pan of ribs onto grill. Cover grill and cook for about an hour (maintaining 300°F degrees during the cooking process.) You may need up to 2 hours for these ribs so plan accordingly (especially if you are having difficulty keeping the temperature at a consistent temperature.)
- Ribs are safe to eat when an inserted meat thermometer (into the thickest part of the meat – away from the bone) reaches 145°F degrees. However, we're looking for maximum tenderness so we're looking to get a temperature of 180°F – 190°F. The meat should look like it will easily pull away from the bone. Carefully remove ribs from the pan and place directly on the grill. Ensure heat stays on low.
- Meanwhile, in a small pot over medium heat, whisk together 1/2 cup orange marmalade and 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar. Continue to whisk until it's combined well. This should only take a minute or two. You can do this on the grill if you have a side burner attached to your grill.
- Take pot off heat and baste the cooked ribs with the marmalade sauce. Make sure to coat it well.
- Cover grill and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Then repeat the process one more time. Carefully remove the ribs off the grill and place on a large cutting board and allow the meat to rest and cool for a few minutes.
- With a sharp knife, carefully cut the ribs between the bones and serve!
Homemade Pork Seasoning Rub:
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- Feel free to use your favorite BBQ sauce or a Homemade BBQ Sauce instead of my marmalade/vinegar sauce.
- Please refer to my FAQ’s and ingredient list above for other substitutions or for the answers to the most common questions.
“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.
YUM! Thank you!!!
I have some boneless ribs I want to try this with. What adjustments would you make for boneless ribs?
Hi Tracey, I haven’t tried this with boneless ribs. Do you mean country style ribs? With any meat, the temperature will tell you when it’s ready, so grill until it reaches an internal temperature of 200f degrees (if we’re talking country style ribs) and give them time to rest before eating (5-10 minutes).
Exquisite flavor and very tender.
I did not have paprika and substituted with turmeric instead. Awesome!
Thanks so much Jennifer! Good to know about the turmeric, I’ll have to try that sometime!
Sounds good. Is it possible to do these in the oven? Lousy weather
absolutely delicious!!!! I’ve never made it s with out bbq sauce these were a great hit
I’m so glad you gave it a try! I know it’s not easy taking a chance on a new recipe so I really appreciate it!
can you replace apple juice with red wine vinegar?
Those are two very different things to substitute with each other. No, I wouldn’t replace it with red wine vinegar. Did you maybe mean replacing the apple cider vinegar with red wine vinegar?
Enjoy this recipe for a 3 burner grill it’s turns out great every time.
Appreciate that J – thanks so much!
Can I use my oven instead and finish on the grill? I have a small grill and the pan won’t fit under the grill. My oven can maintain 300 easy!
Hi Gavin! Yes, you absolutely could do that!
Perfect fit for my grill and it turned out wonderfully, turned off middle burn as the instructions stated for a 3 burner grill followed the recipe and came out Juicy and Delicious
Thanks so very much John!
Just as I was ready to oven braise my ribs, we lost power. I scrambled to find a recipe to braise on the grill and came upon this one. We did so many things wrong. Took a half hour to get the temperature right. It was at 400 on med heat and center burner off (new grill). We forgot the apple juice but added after 45 mins but unknowingly ripped the foil a bit so lots of evaporation. I can’t wait to do them the right way, according to your recipe because these were fabulous! This is a wonderful and very forgiving recipe. Thank you for sharing it! Lifesaver!
Thank you so very much Mary!! I’m so glad you were able to save the ribs! Nothing worse than power zapping out just when you need it the most!
wow….nice ,thanks for idea…I’m a chef on a container ship…..
Hope you enjoy them!
I have a 3 burner grill but with center burner off snd only one side burner on I can’t get the temp below 400. Any ideas?
Hmmm…you may have to prop open your lid slightly to keep it from getting too hot. What type of grill do you have? Perhaps someone on here with your same grill can give some advice 🙂
This recipe is incredible! Best ribs I have ever cooked in the last 30 years. Added brown sugar to my Cajun rub, organic, unfiltered apple juice and Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce. What a meal, thanks so much, glad I found this…..
Going to try this weekend. One thing not clear. I assume when putting directly on grates it’s still indirect heat, correct?
I’m trying it now, but if you turn on the burner beneath them, it will dry them out quicker for sure
Which is fine, of course, if you like dry meat.
These were amazing! We made with St. Louis style ribs. The rub was perfect, ribs perfectly juicy and tender, fall off the bone. We didn’t have the marmalade so we just skipped that step and they were still so delicious! I can’t wait to try again with the marmalade sauce!
Recipe doesn’t say how much marmalade and vinegar to use. Please let me know thanks
Just look above the comment section here. It’s all in the recipe card (which you can also print out.) You scrolled right past it to it to the comment section 🙂
I must confess, I used my own rub recipe, and brushed with my favorite BBQ sauce at the end, but the technique for grilling these ribs is exactly what I was looking for. To be honest, after the two hours of grilling the covered pan, the ribs still looked very undercooked and the rub was still dry on them. But they were close to temperature, so I put them directly on the grill and brushed them lightly with sauce and finished them as the recipe directs. They were probably the best ribs I’ve ever had! Tender, juicy and delicious. Thank you for the wonderful directions/technique.
I really love hearing that Leanne! So much about grilling is really just the technique and I’m glad you chose your own trusted flavors to go with since you know those work! I really appreciate you taking the time to come back and leaving feedback! 🙂
Looks yummy! I have a 7lb slab of Spare Ribs (Not baby back). What adjustments or changes would you recommend?
No adjustments necessarily in terms of ingredients but you’ll have to adjust the time by using a meat thermometer. Thats the only true way to tell if the meat is done and ready to come off the grill. Measure at the fattest part of the meat (without touching the bone.)
This was the best rub recipe I have ever used. Thanks so much!! They came out perfect didn’t change anything.
Thank you so very much MommaLisa!
Excellent. So easy!
5 stars, my family made me make them twice in two days, but a couple questions:
1. Do you have any suggestions for the marmalade? Something smooth that doesn’t have peels? Or is apricot/peach preserves better to avoid the hard peels?
2. Do you baste both sides of the ribs with the marmalade before placing directly on the grill? Or just the top of the ribs?
3. Tried a BBQ sauce for one rack that was good (Stubbs) but any recommendations you’ve tried?
4. If you’re making 2 racks in same tray, use same amount of Apple juice or less? Thinking extra half cup for second rack or ribs
Thanks so much Rich! To answer your questions:
1. You can certainly use apricot or peach. Same basic concept in getting that bright base flavor that we’re looking for.
2. As for basting, this is personal preference. In general, I just do the top if my ribs are getting really tender. I don’t want them to fall apart too soon as I flip them over. But it doesn’t hurt to baste both sides if you are able to safely lift it up and it holds together and you are super careful about not burning yourself. Once I have them on the grill, I’m usually just doing the tops at this point.
3. I do like Stubb’s. My family seems to prefer Sweet Baby Ray’s. Personally, I like KC Masterpiece’s Kansas City Classic BBQ sauce. It’s a special kind that has a black label and it’s not always easy to find. It doesn’t have any corn syrup in it. But if you spot it, grab a bottle. Good stuff.
4 You are correct in that I would add just a smidgen more apple juice. 1/3 – 1/2 cup extra should do it! Hope that helps!
Cooked last night and turned out great! I substituted the glaze sauce for a sweet gorgia peach marmalade I got at the local farmers market and had everyone going back for thirds!
I tried the recipe and the ribs came out fingers licking good. They fell off the bone and had a real nice delicious taste.
Thanks so much Jesse! Happy 4th!
Is this the right amount of time for a 9# rack of ribs
I’m going to assume you’re maybe grilling St Louis Ribs? Judging by that weight, I’m just guessing. You may need to add a little bit more time for those. The only real way you’ll know the ribs are perfectly cooked is by using a meat thermometer. The perfect temperature for ribs is going to be 195F degrees – 200F degrees. This temperature will ensure the collagen has had enough to to break down to give that tender & buttery rib texture we love.
Best ribs on the grill ever !!
Yay!! Thanks so much Margaret!
Excellent- ribs came out perfect. Used a bit less apple juice. Will be doing this recipe again!