Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: August 11, 2022

Ribs are one of the tastiest meats, and there are many different methods to cook them.

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.

Summary of the Key Findings

  • It is important to know the correct grilling method and the differences in rib cuts.
  • The grilling time for ribs is not as straightforward as it sounds.
  • Using the methods laid out by our chefs, you will be grilling ribs that taste as good as they look.

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 is to get the internal 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 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 you will be grilling.

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

How To Grill Ribs

hand view of a person seasoning meat

The first step to grill ribs will be to add the rub of your choice on the ribs.

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

Adding a good rub will personalize the ribs to your palate, and there are many different rubs and flavors you can choose from 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 of ribs in a sheet of aluminum foil and place it 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.

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 barbecue 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 ribs from the grill and let them rest for another 10 minutes.

The resting period is important as the ribs will soak in all the juicy goodness.

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

When grilling ribs, the general assumption is that you are grilling pork ribs, but different pork ribs cuts are available.

The 3 common cuts of ribs you will find are Baby Back Ribs, St. Louis-style ribs, and Spare Ribs [3].

Baby Back Ribs

The most common ribs you will find are Baby back ribs.  These are smaller, leaner, and have more meat than the other types.

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

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.

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

Ribs are easy to grill and delicious to eat.  Here are a few tips to assist you the next time you grill a rack.

Meat preparation - Always remove the membrane on the ribs as it can be tough 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 own 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 - Ribs cannot be rushed; take the time to prepare the ribs 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 - The resting time is another important step when grilling most meats, especially ribs.  The meat needs this time to soak up all the juices that will add extra flavor.

The Bottom Line: The Correct Grilling Time For Ribs

The average time to grill ribs is 60 to 70 minutes, but to be able to grill the best ribs and by adding a few additional steps, the total time will be 80 to 90 minutes.

There are 3 common types of pork ribs, Baby Back, St. Louis, and Spare ribs. ButcherBox can provide these meat cuts and have them delivered wherever you are.

Each cut is different, but the cooking and preparation times are similar.

The method and tips given in this article will assist you in grilling tasty and juicy ribs every time you start up the grill.

Experiment with your own rubs and create new flavorful ribs for your family and friends.


References:

  1. https://www.kitchenkonfidence.com/2020/08/pork-ribs-on-the-grill
  2. https://heygrillhey.com/hot-and-fast-ribs-flavorful-and-tender-in-under-4-hours/
  3. https://livelytable.com/bbq-ribs-on-the-charcoal-grill/

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