Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: April 25, 2022

You are probably a huge fan of grilled beef ribs if you love a good BBQ and drool at beef ribs like me. It's sometimes tricky getting them to the right tenderness.

I have tried and tested several techniques over the years while taking advice from pitmasters Aaron Franklin and Myron Mixon on grilling the perfect beef ribs.

Quick Summary

  • The trick to getting perfectly juicy, cooked-through grilled beef ribs requires a few steps; marinating, grilling on indirect heat for a slow period of 1-1½ hours, and steaming to prevent them from drying out.
  • You can also grill them in foil packets to retain the steam and get them tender.

We will discuss the primary steps to grilling beef ribs in this article which include; prepping and marinating the ribs, where and how to place them on the grill, and how you should cook them.

We will also discuss the process of foil grilling beef ribs for those who might prefer the option.

Prepping And Marinating Beef Ribs For Grilling

Marinating beef ribs on circular tray

Prepping any meat before grilling is essential to get the best results. Here is how you can prepare your beef ribs before grilling:

  • Remove the beef ribs from the packaging.
  • Wash and rinse it out well. You can soak it in some vinegar water for a while to clean and tenderize it simultaneously.
  • Drain the water, and if it is a full rack, you can cut it up into pieces if you choose to. (You may cut before soaking and washing if you find that preferable).
  • Pat the ribs dry to remove excess water.
  • Rub your marinade well on one side of the ribs, then turn it over and rub the marinade on the other side.

In your marinade, acidic ingredients such as vinegar, lemon juice, coke, etc., will help to tenderize your meat slightly quicker, making it soft and juicy.

That works incredibly well during grilling because the ribs can dry out quickly on an open flame [1].

How To Place Beef Ribs On The Grill

Close up image of beef ribs cut on grill

Beef ribs need a long time to get cooked through. If you try to rush it, you can have chewy ribs, which are sometimes not done inside.

You may also burn the outer layer and end up with dry, uncooked ribs.

For the beef ribs to cook over the grill for a long enough time, it needs to be on indirect heat.

That means when you prepare the fire, leave one side with less to no coals so that it can be less hot than the rest of the parts.

Place the ribs on the colder grill section and turn it regularly to cook evenly on both sides.

If you notice it is too cool and not cooking, you can shift it slightly to the warmer part.

If you find your ribs cooking too fast on the outside and possibly drying out, quickly move them to the less heated section or remove them from the grill entirely until the heat reduces enough to avoid the ribs burning.

How Long Should You Cook Beef Ribs On The Grill?

Cooking beef ribs on grill with tongs

As mentioned, beef ribs require a long time on the grill to thoroughly cook through and still be tender, juicy, and flavorful.

The ribs can take up to 1½-2 hours until they are fully tender. It will depend on the heat of your grill. Remember, slow and consistent works best.

With the beef ribs cooking for such a long time, it is necessary to continue basting it through the process.

Beef ribs are most delicious when they have sauce left on them.

As the late food and beverage specialist Tony Roma's saying goes, "happiness is best served slow-smoked and sauced."

How Do You Know When Your Beef Ribs Are Done Grilling?

Close up image of freshly cooked ribs on grill

To check if your beef ribs have cooked through on the grill, you can remove an individual piece and try to break it once it is slightly cool to the touch – be careful not to burn your fingers!

The meat will break easily. If it takes too much effort and doesn't break apart easily, it means that it needs to cook longer.

Another way to check if your ribs have cooked entirely is by pressing a fork, knife, or skewer through them.

The utensil should go through the meat quite easily without effort; however, the rib meat shouldn't fall off the bone unless that's how you like it.

Use A Drip Pan To Grill Beef Ribs

An empty drip pan on drawer

Using a drip pan or water tray is a brilliant way to grill beef ribs.

You place the drip pan below the ribs, and it catches any grease drippings or liquid that the meat releases.

You will continue to pour hot water into the tray as it dries out, which will create steam under the ribs.

The steam will help cook the beef ribs quicker, but without drying it out - it will also help keep the meat juicy and tender.

It is beneficial to smoke beef ribs because they can dry out pretty quickly.

One of the fundamental reasons you should use a drip pan for ribs is because they are fatty meats.

That means that when you heat them, as they cook, they release grease from their fat.

When the fat drips, it causes smoke from the grill's surface or the coals, creating chemicals that cook back into the ribs and become a health risk [2].

How To Grill Beef Ribs In Foil?

Beef ribs in covered in aluminum foil

While many people like to grill beef ribs directly over an open flame, some genuinely prefer to use foil packets instead.

Grilling beef ribs in foil would follow a similar process as doing it without foil.

The difference is that you will need to place the marinated beef ribs on a reasonably sized piece of foil that will fold over and seal tightly.

You will then place the foil pack on the grill –  on indirect heat. The foil will trap steam and help the ribs cook much quicker without drying it out.

The meat will retain all its juices by absorbing it back while cooking, and you will end up with the most delicious, tender, and flavorful grilled beef ribs.

How To Grill Beef Ribs In The Oven

Beef ribs inside the oven close up image

Grilling beef ribs in the oven follows the same process as grilling on open flames or a gas grill.

With the oven, you will need to preheat it to around 225°F before placing your beef ribs inside.

Put the meat on the middle rack and allow it to cook for 1½-2 hours, turning a couple of times in between.

You can cover it with foil to ensure it doesn't dry out and remove the foil in the last 20-30 minutes to brown.

Another way to give that glazed, seared, and charred effect is by turning the oven to the broiler setting, which comes closest to grilling.

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Conclusion

The primary and essential techniques to cooking beef ribs on the grill are that marinating it helps with flavor, making sure you cook it on medium-low heat allows it to get done thoroughly and makes it tender.

Using a grill that could regulate heat well such as stainless steel grills can also help you perfect your technique.

If you are ever doubtful, you can use foil packets with a guarantee that your beef ribs will almost always turn out perfectly.


References:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/the-magic-of-marinades
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/healthiest-way-to-cook-meat#TOC_TITLE_HDR_5

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