How Long Do Ribs Take To Grill (Chef's Opinion)

Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: June 20, 2024

Ribs are one of the tastiest meats, and there are many different methods to cook them—with or without BBQ sauce.

The most common methods are smoking and grilling.

Pitmasters will utilize the 3-2-1 rule to smoke ribs, but how long do ribs take to grill?

Our professional chefs answer this question, and they have also included a few grilling tips. These will come in handy during the grilling season, ensuring you get the best grilled baby back ribs on your dinner table.

Quick Summary

  • Grilling ribs typically takes 60 to 70 minutes at a temperature between 350°F and 400°F, with the internal temperature reaching 190°F.
  • The process involves adding a dry rub, wrapping the ribs in foil, grilling, and then basting with BBQ sauce for the final 10 to 15 minutes.
  • There are three common types of pork ribs: Baby Back Ribs, St. Louis-Style ribs, and Spare Ribs, each with unique characteristics and grilling times.

Rib Grilling Times

man grilling outdoors

In general, ribs can be a little tricky as the grill temperature can fluctuate, resulting in a slightly longer or shorter cooking time.

The general rule for ribs on the grill is to get the temperature to 190°F.

The collagens and the fat would have softened the tough cut and let the juices flow at this temperature.

Ribs are naturally tough meat, so having the fat and collagens do their thing is vital for tender ribs.

The optimal cooking temperature of the grill (charcoal, gas, or wood) should be between 350°F and 400°F.

The ribs on the grill will be ready in 60 – 70 minutes at this cooking temperature.

If possible, always check the internal temperature with a thermometer to ensure it is at 190°F.

Cooking time will vary a little depending on the type of ribs on the grill.

An example would be: grilled baby back ribs will cook quicker than their spare counterpart, but they will both cook within the 60 to 70-minute time frame if the gas grill is at the correct temperature [1].

How To Grill Ribs

hand view of a person seasoning meat

The first step to cooking ribs will be to add the dry rub of your choice to the ribs.

Coat both sides and rub it into the rack. Ribs naturally have a lot of rich flavors, and putting ribs on the grill will help release the goodness.

Adding a good dry rub will personalize the ribs to your palate, and you can choose from many different rubs and flavors as this cut is quite forgiving.

  There is grilling, and then there's barbecue.  Grilling is when cooks say, 'We're going to turn-up the heat and make it hot to sear a burger,  sear a steak, or grill a chicken.  Barbecuing is going low and slow."
-  Guy Fieri, American Food Author and Restaurateur

Wrap the rack in a sheet of aluminum foil and place the ribs on the grill over direct heat.

Cook the ribs for 60 to 70 minutes while maintaining the grill temperature between 350°F and 400°F.  The foil will allow the heat to cook the ribs evenly and in their natural juices.

Foil assists the rub in adding flavor to the meat rather than just having it burn off, even with BBQ sauce.

After an hour or so, remove the foil-wrapped ribs and check the internal temperature of the ribs to confirm that they are done.  They should be 190°F.

Unwrap the ribs and baste them with your favorite BBQ sauce to lock in extra goodness.

Then place them back on the grill over the direct heat for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, turning them every 2 to 3 minutes, and continue basting as desired.

The sauce will add an extra smoky flavor while creating a slight bark.

Ensure not to burn the basting as this can give a bitter taste.

Remove the BBQ ribs from the grill and let the ribs rest for another 10 minutes.

The resting period is important as the ribs will soak in all the goodness of the BBQ sauce and other juices.

Cut the ribs into "two-bone" sections with a sharp knife.  Cut close to the bone to leave as much tasty meat as possible on the rib [2].

Different Types Of Ribs

cooked baby back ribs and spare ribs

The general assumption is that you are grilling pork ribs, but different pork rib cuts are available.

The 3 common cuts of ribs on the grill are the Baby Back Ribs, St. Louis-style ribs, and pork spare ribs [3].

1. Baby Back Ribs

The most common ribs you will find are the Baby back ribs.  These are smaller, leaner, and have more meat than the other types, making them perfect with BBQ sauce.

They are cut from the loins (pork loin back ribs), where the rib contacts the spine.

2. St. Louis-Style Ribs

St. Louis-Style ribs are similar to spare ribs, but the tips have been removed.

They are more rectangular and are cut from the pork belly.

3. Spare Ribs

They are larger than the other rib types and have flat bones with more connective tissue/cartilage from the breast bone.

The extra cartilages make them ideal for low and slow cooking.

Rib Grilling Tips

close up view of ribs getting grilled

A meat delivery service like ButcherBox can provide you with high-quality ribs and have them delivered wherever you are.

Ribs are easy to grill and delicious to eat, especially with a good BBQ sauce. Here are a few tips to assist you when you cook ribs and grill a rack, including how to let the ribs rest.

Meat preparation - Always remove the membrane on the ribs as it can be challenging and won’t allow the rub to penetrate the meat.

Rubs and seasoning - Adding rubs and seasoning to the ribs will only enhance the flavor.  There are a variety of rubs on the market, so experiment with your recipe.

Constant grill temperature - The grill temperature is very important when cooking ribs.  It can be the difference between good ribs and great ribs!

Don’t grill too quickly - You can't rush when you cook ribs; take the time to prepare and be vigilant while on the grill. Keep checking the temperature.

Make time to baste - The final step is important to lock in the flavor of the ribs; adding the basting sauce of your choice will enhance the flavor and texture of the ribs.

Resting time - Resting time is another important step when you cook ribs. The meat needs this time to soak up all the juices that will add extra flavor.

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About the author

Timothy Woods
CEO / Co-Founder
Timothy Woods holds a Kinesiology and Exercise Science degree from Jacksonville University and is CCC & GMU Certified. He's also the main man behind Carnivore Style. This food aficionado combines science and experience to spread the word about the carnivore lifestyle.
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