Easy Grilled Ribs Recipe

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Easy Grilled Ribs Recipe – fall off the bone tender and juicy ribs baked to soft and finished on the grill for a smoky grilled BBQ flavor that you can take to a tailgate, campout, or make at home on your grill in under 5 hours!

This recipe works on a regular gas or charcoal grill, a Burch Barrell, Kamado Joe, Big Green Egg, Traeger, or even a portable Sportsman’s grill! You can make this recipe with our rib rub, or your own favorite rub – as well as use any sauce you like, so it is totally customizable for the best ribs from a grill ever!

sliced grilled ribs on a table
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grilled ribs with bbq sauce on a baking sheet

Baked Then Grilled Ribs Recipe

If you love a little bit of smoky, grilled flavor – but you’re not a fan of intensely smoky ribs – or you don’t have time for our Best Smoked Ribs recipe – this recipe is for you!

We’re cooking these ribs to fall off the bone tender and juicy in under 5 hours – right around 4 1/2 – so they are quicker to make than smoked, with a bit more of grilled flavor than our Best Ever Baked Ribs recipe.

This recipe is perfect for cookouts in the park since we pre-bake the ribs and finish them on the grill – so you can prep them to finish at a cookout, tailgate, or BBQ party!

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sliced grilled ribs on a table

How to Grill Ribs

To make these delicious, easy grilled ribs, we will need the following ingredients:

  • Baby back ribs – while you can use other ribs for this recipe (see notes on rib choices below), we’re using baby back ribs for their classic, easy to grill flavor.
  • Dark brown sugar – mixing dark brown sugar (or a dark brown sugar keto alternative like Swerve or monkfruit) adds a rich, sweet molasses flavor that isn’t too sugary tasting, and blends well with garlic, herbs, and spices.
  • Sweet paprika – sweet paprika has a lovely, rich, earthy flavor from Capsicum annuum peppers which are dried and ground into powder. You can also swap for a smoky paprika or hot paprika, according to your tastes.
  • Black pepper – black pepper has an earthy, slightly spicy flavor that is toasted and delicious – to add a bit of heat and spice without making recipes “spicy”.
  • Seasoned salt – seasoned salt is salt with a blend of herbs and spices, and sometimes MSG. MSG gets a bad rap – in moderation, it is just fine for most people who aren’t sensitive to it, and helps to create a savory umami flavor.
  • Garlic powder – garlic powder has an earthy, garlicky flavor that is not as pungent or hot as raw garlic, but a more intense garlic flavor. Garlic powder helps pull out a meaty flavor in ribs and makes them totally addictive!
  • Onion powder – onion powder is a great way to add lots of earthy, slightly sweet, and vegetal flavor to ribs in a rub. By drying onions and grinding them into a powder, you’re getting a concentrated, intense onion flavor that is easy to mix and helps provide structure for a rub, with a classic flavor that is just a touch sweet.
  • Cayenne pepper – this is optional, but we love cayenne or aleppo pepper to give our ribs a bit of a kick, and make them a bit spicier. You can adjust the amount of pepper you’d like to use in your rib rub to make it spicier, or skip it altogether if you want mild ribs.
  • Beer – ribs cook better in the oven with a bit of liquid in the pan to help steam them in foil, creating a moisture-rich high heat environment that keeps ribs tender and juicy. Using beer (or stock) just adds a lot more flavor to the ribs instead of just adding water to the pan. You can use water, stock, or even wine for this step – but we love the classic light, hoppy flavor of a beer to add a bit more flavor to ribs as they bake.
  • Bbq sauce – use a sauce whose flavor you love. We’re using BBQ sauce to baste ribs on the grill, add additional smoky and sweet flavor, and build up a crunchy, sticky crust on the outside of our ribs that makes them addictive and tender!

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, we will use the following process:

  • Prep ribs & preheat oven. Preheat the oven to 250°F. Line a large sheet tray with foil, set aside. Rinse the ribs well making sure there are no bone shards. Pat them dry with a paper towel. Place it on the sheet tray with the foil. If desired, remove the membrane from the underside of the bones by using a pairing knife to gently pry the membrane up so you can get ahold of it. Using a paper towel then grab the membrane and pull it off. 
  • Rub ribs with rib rub. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, paprika, pepper, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne. Rub the ribs all over, top and bottom with the rub.
  • Wrap in foil with beer baste & bake. Place another piece of foil on top, crimp the edges of the two pieces of foil all around the ribs so it forms a package. Place the ribs in the oven and pour ½ of the beer directly onto the sheet tray. Bake for an hour and a half and add the other half of the beer onto the sheet tray. Depending on how tender you want your ribs, start checking them at the 3 hour total mark. A fork should easily pierce the meat of the ribs. You do not want them to totally fall off the bone though because they will fall apart on the grill.
  • Grill baked ribs & add sauce. Heat your grill on high and let it get very hot. Place the ribs meat side up onto the grill. Baste with the bbq sauce. Flip them over and let them char and caramelized. Base the other side with bbq sauce. You do not want to leave them on too long, 20 minutes max because they may dry out. Once the one side is caramelized and lightly charred turn it over again and let the bottom caramelize and char. 
  • Let rest & serve! Remove ribs and let rest at least 15 minutes before serving. Cut the slab into individual ribs and serve, or serve as is!
basting brush adding sauce to ribs on a grill

Tips and Tricks to Perfect Grilled Ribs & FAQs

What are the differences in types of ribs? There are a lot of different types of ribs, which can make it confusing to figure out the best ribs to buy if you’re new to smoking ribs. This guide will help clear up differences in types of ribs and the best picks for this recipe.

  • Baby Back Ribs
    • Baby back ribs are a wonderful rib cut – and one of the most popular. (Not just because of a certain chain’s catchy baby back jingle…) Baby back ribs are taken from the muscle that runs along the back of the pig.
    • Baby backs are a meaty cut containing high-quality meat – perfect for a backyard BBQ.
    • Baby Back Ribs are leaner, more tender, and work great in the oven, too.
  • Spare Ribs
    • Spare ribs are ribs that are closer to the belly of the pig. Spare ribs are not as meaty – in fact, that is why they are called “spare”, since the belly of the pig is primarily used for bacon, and spare ribs only keep a bit of their meat since they are cut so close to the bone.
    • Since spare ribs don’t have a lot of meat, they cook more quickly, and also do great in the oven as well as on the smoker.
  • St. Louis Style Ribs
    • St. Louis Style ribs are actually from the same cut as spare ribs- except St. Loius style ribs are trimmed to a uniform rectangle shape so they can cook evenly to perfection.
    • St. Louis style ribs have the skirt and the tip removed, which makes cooking time go faster, and prep easier.
    • Since St. Louis style ribs have the least amount of meat, they cook the fastest – and are also great in the oven.
    • While it’s not my favorite prep method, St. Louis style ribs can also be separated before cooking and cooked individually.

Remove Silver Skin. Silver skin is the whitish, silvery membrane that runs along the back side of the ribs. While it is not necessary to remove this membrane, it is very easy, and can help to make your ribs softer and easier to eat. I prefer to always remove the silver skin from my ribs for the perfect juicy and tender ribs. Removing silver skin can be a little tricky until you get the hang of it – and then it’s a breeze!

  • Slide a small, rounded knife (not a sharp knife) under the silverskin anywhere along the rib rack, and pull up on the skin to loosen it.
  • If it won’t pull up in one spot, simply try another.
  • Lift and loosen the membrane or silver skin with the knife until it’s loose enough that you can grab it with your hands.
  • Pull the silver skin off of the rack of ribs; it should peel away in one large sheet, but if it breaks – no worries- just use the knife to restart the easy process in another section of ribs.

The best way to make sure your ribs are full of flavor is to add a dry rub that you rub ribs all over with before you go to bake.

Make your own rib rub. To get the best flavor ever, make your own rib rub, so you can control the ingredients and change it up to your tastes!

  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste, optional

Recipe FAQs

Can I pre-bake ribs?

This recipe is great for cookouts and parties, because you can bake, then keep ribs in refrigerator for up to four days before grilling.

How long can ribs be stored?

Leftover ribs can be kept in an airtight container for up to four days in the refrigerator.

What rib rub should I use?

You can make your own rib rub with our easy rib rub recipe, or try a favorite brand you love. We love Meatchurch’s Honey Hog BBQ Rub or their Gospel rub!

a hand holding a grilled rib with bbq sauce slathered on it

To infuse even more flavor in our ribs, we’re adding a beer bath to the bottom of the baking sheet to help steam the ribs as they bake with tons of beer fragrance!

You can also add a bit of beer to the foil pouch, but we find it’s best to not have a ton so the ribs don’t boil in the pouch.

For ribs that wont fall apart once they get to the grill, its important to make sure they aren’t fall off the bone tender out of the oven – you’ll cook them to tender perfection on the grill.

Baste and flip every 5 minutes until a dark, crunchy bark forms – about 20 minutes of grill time.

ribs on a plate with coleslaw next to it

Other Ribs Recipes You’ll Love

We love ribs around here – and are listing some of our favorite recipes below:

To see our entire side dish recipe archive, click here.

sliced grilled ribs on a table

The Best Grilled Ribs Recipe

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Easy Grilled Ribs Recipe

Easy Grilled Ribs Recipe – fall off the bone tender and juicy ribs baked to soft and finished on the grill for a smoky grilled BBQ flavor in under 5 hours!
Course Ribs
Cuisine American
Keyword baby back ribs, grill, grilling recipes, main dish, pork, pork ribs, ribs
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 596kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

  • 1 rack baby back ribs
  • cup dark brown sugar packed
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste, optional
  • 12- ounce beer
  • 1-2 cups bbq sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 250°F. Line a large sheet tray with foil, set aside.
  • Rinse the ribs well making sure there are no bone shards. Pat them dry with a paper towel. Place it on the sheet tray with the foil. If desired, remove the membrane from the underside of the bones by using a pairing knife to gently pry the membrane up so you can get ahold of it. Using a paper towel then grab the membrane and pull it off. 
  • In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, paprika, pepper, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne. Rub the ribs all over, top and bottom with the rub.
  • Place another piece of foil on top, crimp the edges of the two pieces of foil all around the ribs so it forms a package.
  • Place the ribs in the oven and pour ½ of the beer directly onto the sheet tray. Bake for an hour and a half and add the other half of the beer onto the sheet tray. Depending on how tender you want your ribs, start checking them at the 3 hour total mark. A fork should easily pierce the meat of the ribs. You do not want them to totally fall off the bone though because they will fall apart on the grill.
  • Heat your grill on high and let it get very hot. Place the ribs meat side up onto the grill. Baste with the bbq sauce. Flip them over and let them char and caramelized. Base the other side with bbq sauce. You do not want to leave them on too long, 20 minutes max because they may dry out. 
  • Once the one side is caramelized and lightly charred turn it over again and let the bottom caramelize and char. 
  • Cut the slab into individual ribs and serve, or serve as is!

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 596kcal | Carbohydrates: 82g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 1849mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 66g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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1 Comment

  1. Faye says:

    I never had an air fryer, but a very interested in one.