Ribs, Made in America

There are a lot of options out there for different ways to make ribs and they all have their use, but I just do not have time to wait 6 hours on ribs. The good news is that you don’t have to.

It takes my ribs 2.5 hours to cook and when finished they are tender, with a slight crust and taste delicious. A lot of people think that ribs are supposed to be fall off the bone tender, but this is not true. They should pull away from the bone easily, but they should not fall apart in your mouth.

I eyeball my rib rub, but here are the ingredients listed by amount put on:

brown sugar, garlic powder, salt, pepper and honey. Occasionally I will use Adams Rib Rubb.

If you think that is a short list, don’t worry it is, but I like to keep my food simple. If you think that isn’t enough, then you are probably not using enough of each ingredient or you don’t like the way grilled/smoked meat tastes.

I prefer babyback ribs, but this method works just as well with St. Louis style as well.

Meat Prep


  • Rinse the blood off with cold water. Not everyone does this, but I do because it makes me feel better about the meat.
  • Pat dry with paper towels, don’t rub or you may leave traces of paper on the ribs.
  • Remove the membrane– this is very important!
  • Generously coat your ribs with the above ingredients. Drizzle the honey on last. *The below picture is using Adams Rib Rubb in addition to the general ingredients. IMG_1344
  • The honey helps hold everything together and caramelizes as the ribs cook giving you a delicious, sweet crunch.
  • Allow ribs to come up to room temperature. The exact temperature is less important than just making sure they are not put on the grill right out of the fridge. This helps the meat to cook better, instead of being shocked from going from a 37 degrees fridge to a 250 degrees grill.
  • If I am cooking a single rack then I will leave them all together. If I am cooking 2 racks or more then I will cut each rack in half. This is not desirable, but allows you fit the meat onto the grill better.

Grill Prep

  • Cowboy LumpLoad with your favorite charcoal: I prefer Cowboy Lump
  • Light with your favorite lighting method: I prefer Looflighter
  • Leave the lid open on your grill for 10-15 minutes as the fire spreads around to all your coals. If using a Weber or similar, with Kingsford or similar coals, make sure that they are gray before putting the lid on.
  • Once you close the lid, you want the thermometer to read in the 225-250 degrees range for the duration of cooking. If you have an electric smoke, such as Master built, then you will be able to better control the temp. With a Primo or Big Green Egg you will be fine allowing the grill to do its thing by slightly adjusting the built in vents. I leave my bottom vent open about 1/4-1/2″ and my top just barely open. There are other options once you get more comfortable and serious about grilling such as a DigiQ, but I don’t think these are necessary for most people.
  • After you the grill is at your desired temp, add your wood chips and then you can put your ribs on.

In Process

  • You will want to add smoking chips right before you put the meat on, but also for the first hour of so of grilling. There is a common misconception that meat only takes smoke for so long, but this has been debunked and shown that it will continue to do so as long as the meat is no dry.
  • You can baste your meat if you desire, but it is not necessary and only increases the chance of burning it.
  • Personally, I like to drizzle a little extra honey on my ribs while they are cooking, but that is up to you.
  • Keep your ribs away from direct heat, meaning they are not right on top of the coals.
  • It will be tempting to take a peak, but limit how often you open the grill as this will release the heat and smoke from the grill. You should only need to flip your ribs once, or none at all for some people.
  • There are two options for BBQ sauce:
    • Add your sauce to both sides when you have about 10 minutes left in the 2.5 hour cooking window.
    • Add your sauce after you take the ribs off the grill.
    • I prefer Cattlemans’ Mississipi Honey BBQ
  • Remove your ribs from the grill and let your ribs sit for about 10 minutes once coming off the grill, this will allow them to cool down and the juices will re-distribute into the meat.


  • I like to cut my ribs into single pieces with bone, allowing enough meat on either side. They will be hot, so it may be necessary to use BBQ gloves to hold. Be careful not to remove any sauce or spices.
  • Enjoy!


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