Most people love a good rack of ribs from the grill and wonder why in restaurants they are always so tender and when cooked at home they are sometimes so tough or too much done.
Since I had a restaurant for many years and every Saturday served ribs I will tell you how I cooked them.
3 types of ribs
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There are basically three type of ribs that you can use.
- Spare ribs
- Baby back ribs
- Beef ribs
These are the whole rib and although affordable they contain not too much meat
Baby Back ribs
The ribs are from the loin and are smaller but contain the most meat
Beef ribs are very large and I have to be honest and tell you that I never cooked them.
Preparation of your ribs
There is one mistake that a lot of people make in the preparation phase of cooking ribs and this is they do not remove the skin from the backside.
If you forget this or never did this your ribs will be tough because that piece of skin will prevent the ribs from becoming tender.
Here is a video I found on how to remove what is called the membrane on your ribs. This is the same for all types of ribs.
Sometimes or maybe I should say most of the time it is not so easy as shown in the video and I most of the time use a paper towel to get more grip on that piece of skin because it can be very slippery.
I am a strong believer in keeping the ingredients in any recipe to a minimum and I also believe that only a few people are able to recognize the separate ingredients unless they are very distinguished in taste.
Here is my recipe to season the ribs and the steps I take.
- Rinse the ribs in running water
The reason is that ribs are cut with a saw and there always be little pieces of bone or other parts left. With rinsing, you will remove all these parts.
- Dry them very well
You don’t want water on your ribs when you start seasoning the. Dry them good before taking the next step
- Rub them with olive oil
- Dry them very well
This is in my opinion a step that will help the meat absorb the seasoning better since many spices dissolve in oil and not in water.
- Season them with your dry rub
Do not be cheap and try to save on dry rub. Coat theme very well and you can even rub it in with your hands. That is what I do.
- Let them sit overnight
Wrap them in foil and let them soak in the seasoning overnight in the refrigerator. I know this is sometimes not easy and if you can’t do it overnight try for as long as you can.
This is all I do to my ribs and the next day I take them out of the fridge to let them come to room temperature before grilling.
Smoking – Grilling Or Roasting Ribs In 6 Steps
One thing, I like to warn you for. Some recipes tell you to boil your ribs before grilling. Please do not do that. You will boil out all the flavor. Boiling ribs is making soup in my opinion.
Although there are 3 ways to cook ribs. Smoking, Grilling, and Roasting in the oven I prefer to smoke my ribs at a low temperature.
Smoking ribs low and slow
I do not have a fancy smoker or pellet smoker at my house and just use a so-called barrel smoker.
Charcoal I start with a charcoal chimney starter <– You can read here how I do that. But you can also use an electric charcoal starter if you like that better. I did a review of them here on this page.
Here are the steps I take for smoking what I think are great ribs.
- I start my charcoal
When it is lit I move it to the side of my barrel where the air inlet is. This makes it easy to regulate the airflow over the charcoal.
- Regulate the temperature to 250 degrees
I like my temperature to be 225 but found that when you put your meat in the smoker the temperature drops. This is why I start with a higher temperature.
- Put the ribs on their meat side up
Meat side up is important. It makes the juices run through the meat better. Regulate the temperature to 225 degrees.
- Basting with marinade
This is optional and depends if you have marinated or not. If I use a marinade I do this every hour and add some wood-chips and more charcoal if needed. You can find an explanation of all wood chips for smoking here.
- Wrap them in aluminum foil
The ribs are done when the meat starts to pull away from the bones. Usually after about 3 hours. I wrap them in aluminum foil and add some apple juice since this is a natural tenderizer and let them cook for another hour.
- let them rest for at least 10 minutes
Open the aluminum foil and let the ribs rest for at least 19 minutes. This will let the juices flow back in the meat and improve the tenderness of the ribs.
- Cut them in the size you want them
Some people cut them in between every bone and others cut multiple bones and let their guests cut them further on their plate. This is a personal preference.
This is how easy it is to make some great fall off the bone ribs. I say fall of the bone but I think the best ribs stay on the bone until you take a bite and then they have to come of very easy.
The seasoning I use for my ribs
Just realized that I forgot to give you my recipe for my smoked ribs. I do not give any sizes like cups or ounces. Just a number that you can use for any measurement.
- 1.5 seasoning salt
- 1.5 Sazon
- 1 Adobe
- 3/4 Oregano
- 1 Garlic
- 1 Paprika
Sazon and Adobe can be found in most grocery stores in the Mexican food aisle.
I hope you like this recipe for ribs and if you need more recipes just look at the search box and type in what you are looking for.
Eddie van Aken
Eddie van Aken has run his own full-service restaurant for many years. Before that, he worked as a grill and buffet cook in some of the mainstream restaurants. With his experience using professional kitchen equipment, he is able to write expert reviews. You can read more about Eddie van Aken here.