Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Aug 26, 2008 10:58 AM

Preferred way to cook ribs

Is it better to bake/roast them low & slow in an oven, then grill, or better to grill the whole time. Also, when is the best time to add sauce? Do you marinate them? Pork or Beef? Baby back or spareribs? Obviously I've never cooked them before. Any help or recipes would be greatly appreciated!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. neither, cook them slow and low in a smoker. No sauce, dry rub.

    6 Replies
    1. re: swsidejim

      Absolutely agree with swsidejim...indirect heat, maintaining temp of 225-250 degrees over combination of hardwood charcoal and chunks of wood presoaked in water (I use Hickory), if you don't have a smoker you can easily transform a Weber Kettle into a smoker. For technique you may be able to get some help on the Barbeque Bible website and/or Food Network or Epicurious websites. Dry rubs are essential and easy, I use one from Steve Raichlen's BBQ Bible which I highly recommend for learning the basics of real BBQ (you can take it out of most local libraries); I never sauce ribs during cooking, only use on the side when served for those who want sauce but I prefer just dry-rubbed. Do not marinate and I prefer St. Louis Style Pork Ribs (probably the preferential choice of most KC or Memphis BBQ joints), not Baby Back or Beef. Good Luck.

      1. re: bakerboyz

        jcattles, these suggestions, by the way, are if you want authentic BBQ; if you don't care, you can cook them in the oven, low and slow, at 275 degrees, with a dry rub, but you won't get the smoke flavor and it won't be authentic BBQ. In the wintertime, when I am not cooking outdoors, I make an Asian Dry-rubbed Baby Back Rib recipe, they are very good but it's not real BBQ.

        1. re: bakerboyz

          Also, not everyone *can* cook over indirect heat in a grill/smoker.

        2. re: bakerboyz

          good tips, a couple of other tips, I "rinse" the ribs with white vinegar, and then pat dry with a paper towel, I then slather them with plain old yellow mustard, and then apply the dry rub(brown sugar, paprika,garlic powder, chili powder, kosher salt, black pepper, cumin, onion powder, oregano), and refrigerate for a night, or at least 3 hours.

          Then smoke @ 220 degrees with either hickory, mesquite, apple, or cherry wood, sometimes, some green tea leaves. 3-4 hours for babybacks & 4-6 hours for spareribs.

          After about 2 hours I start to mop the ribs with a mixture of cranberry juice(or apple juice), and olive oil to help keep them moist.

          In a regular grill you can also leave one side "cold" and use the foil packet method over the coals to impart some smoke into the ribs.

        3. re: swsidejim

          Since the OP has not cooked ribs before, he most likely has not smoked meat either, and probably does not have a smoker either. If that is the case, I'd suggest two options:
          - braising (probably the option with beef)
          - dry rub, followed by slow roast in oven.

          If you aren't going to use smoke, I don't think the grill does much that the oven can't. If you can control the covered grill temperature so it less than 300deg, it could substitute for the oven.

          Pork is probably the better starting place.

          1. re: paulj

            as bakerboyz mentioned, you can turn any gas grill, or any charcoal grill into a basic smoker - indirect heat, and some foil pouches filled with wood. pretty basic stuff.

        4. I use salt, pepper and granulated garlic then spray with pam to hold seasonings, and bake at 200 for 3 hours with a little wine underneath them (I foil pan heavily, do not cover), pull out and put glaze or bbq sauce on. We enjoy Pineapple and Honey Teriyaki Glaze!!

          1. I would cook baby backs on the grill over low heat (225), wood charcoal and wood chunks. It takes 1-2 hours. I would do the same with spareribs, but it will take longer. THey are done when meat pulls away from the ends and is tender.

            I always use a rub. I am from Texas and like mine with chili powder and cumin. I sometimes, especially with spareribs, use a mop during cooking. Brush with a vinegar mixture during cooking. For Memphis ribs, no sauce. I like sauce, though. I make my own (again chili powder and not too sweet, tomato based) and brush it on the ribs for the last few minutes of cooking. I want the sauce to dry and carmelize a bit, but be careful not to burn it.

            1. For baby backs, I also use a dry rub containing brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, lots of salt and pepper, dried parsley and sometimes oregano. I let them dry brine in a cold refrigerator, uncovered for a few hours, at least. Then I braise them in a low 300 oven, covered, with some apple cider vinegar & apple juice or cola for at least 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

              Then we light a medium fire on the Weber and throw some wood chips on. Fifteen minutes or so on the grill, and basted with a rich bbq sauce. It's not authentic BBQ, but it's much easier and might tasty!

              1. Baby backs you can get away with just grilling them, over medium heat until the meat pulls away from the edges of the bone, maybe 30 minutes. Spareribs will have to be a longer cooking process. To use a grill the whole time, you need to keep a real low temp, less than 300 degrees, and use charcoal/wood chunks. If you have a gas grill, I'd say just roast them in the oven and finish over direct heat on the grill for about 10 minutes. If you like sauce (I don't), slather the sauce on right before you grill them over direct heat, turning and mopping sauce frequently so it doesn't burn until it gets a nice char on it. Check for a recipe from Good Eats, which is a pretty good oven roasted rib recipe, although it you have a grill, I'd finish it that way rather than use a broiler.

                I dry rub my ribs, usually overnight, wrapped tightly in saran wrap. If you let them sit too long, they might turn hammy though.