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A close-up overhead shot of individual grilled ribs on a white surface. Two bowls of BBQ sauce sit alongside them.

Finger Lickin’ Grilled Baby Back Ribs (Gas or Charcoal)

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  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4-6 1x
  • Category: Main Dishes, Pork Recipes
  • Method: Grilling & Smoking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free


With all the hype & obsession over BBQ ribs, they may seem like a super intimidating or difficult thing to make – but trust me, that’s really not the case! Learning how to cook the perfect rack of baby back ribs on the grill is so much easier than you’d expect, & this Grilled Baby Back Ribs recipe is the perfect place to start.

There are 2 simple secrets to a perfectly grilled rack of pork ribs:

  1. A killer dry rub. A dry rub imparts the ribs with flavor throughout the entire cooking process. Unlike a marinade, the dry rub stays in contact with the meat, giving off tons of flavor as the ribs slowly cook. The homemade dry rub used in this recipe is my personal favorite. It has the perfect balance of spiced, sweet, & smoky flavor & it’s perfect for all things grilled. Feel free to make a double or triple batch to keep on your spice rack this grilling season – you’ll use it on everything!
  2. Grilling with 2 zones of heat: A “low & slow” cook in an indirect heat zone ensures the ribs stay juicy & flavorful as they become fall-off-the-bone tender, while intense direct heat creates crave-worthy caramelization & charred grill marks. It takes a little time & cannot be rushed – that’s the nature of ribs! – but the grill does all the work!

From there, slather them in your favorite BBQ sauce & serve alongside whatever side dishes you love most. These grilled ribs are the perfect BBQ centerpiece & a great Sunday supper to enjoy all summer long!

Be sure to check out the blog post, above, for a ton more detail & extra guidance on ribs prep & 2-zone cooking with a gas grill or charcoal grill. Happy grilling! ♡


  • one 34 pound rack baby back pork ribs, “silverskin” membrane removed (see Recipe Notes)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • PWWB BBQ dry rub (below)
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce of choice (see Recipe Notes, below)

for the BBQ dry rub:

  • 3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • optional: up to ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Preheat the grill. Prepare your grill for indirect cooking, creating a zone of direct high heat & a second zone of indirect heat. If using a gas grill, begin preheating at least 15 minutes before grilling. If using charcoal, light the charcoal at least 30 minutes prior to grilling. Learn more! Grilling with the 2-Zone Method.A woman's hand shown above an open Weber Genesis II, prepared for indirect heat grilling with one side of burners all the way open and the other side shut.
  2. Prep the baby back ribs: Generously season the entire surface of the ribs with the salt. Mix up the dry rub by adding all listed ingredients to a small bowl or jar & shaking or stirring to combine well. Sprinkle the dry rub all over the ribs, using your hands to lightly work the rub into the meat.
  3. Grill the ribs with indirect heat: Place the seasoned ribs on the indirect heat side of the grill, meaty side up. Close the grill lid. Cook the ribs with indirect heat for 1 ½ hours, carefully rotating the ribs 180° about halfway through. After 1 ½ hours, carefully remove the ribs from the grill. Wrap the ribs snuggly with heavy-duty aluminum foil, then return to the indirect heat zone. Cover & grill for 30 minutes longer, or until the ribs are juicy, tender, & just about ready to fall off the bone. [gallery columns="2" size="full" ids="43485,43487"]
  4. Finish the ribs over direct heat: Remove the ribs from the grill, transferring them to a large sheet pan & carefully unwrapping the foil. Brush your BBQ sauce or glaze of choice over the meaty side of the ribs. Transfer to the direct heat size of the grill, meaty side facing down. Grill 5-8 minutes, flipping & basting with more sauce about halfway through, until the BBQ ribs are as caramelized & charred as you like.
  5. Serve: Slice the grilled baby back ribs into individual portions & serve immediately with your favorite BBQ sides. Enjoy!


  • Ingredient Notes:
    • Removing the “silverskin” from baby back ribs: When you bring a rack of baby back ribs home from the butcher or grocery store, there will typically be a thin membrane that runs along the back of the ribs – the “silverskin” – & it needs to be removed prior to seasoning. (If the silver skin is left on, the dry rub won’t penetrate the meat & the grilled ribs will be difficult to chew!) This is very easy to do at home. I suggest using a butter knife (or something with a similar blunt edge that is not sharp) to work the silverskin off the ribs in 1 spot. From there, slide your finger under the membrane & the silverskin should pull off very easily. (If you need another visual, this simple video tutorial may be helpful.) [gallery columns="2" size="full" ids="6923,6924"]
    • Pineapple sriracha glaze: Our favorite homemade BBQ sauce is a spicy-sticky-sweet pineapple glaze similar to Mom’s Huli Huli Chicken Sauce. To make it, combine ¾ cup pineapple juice, 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch, 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar, 2 tablespoons ketchup, 1-2 teaspoons sriracha, & ½ teaspoon each kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder, & smoked paprika in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, whisking the mixture until it’s thick & glossy, then reduce heat to medium-low & simmer 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat & set aside.
  • Storage & Reheating: Leftover grilled baby back ribs will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave until warmed through.
  • Alternate cooking method – Slowly bake in the oven, finish on the grill: If you prefer not to cook the BBQ ribs on the grill with indirect heat for 2 hours, you can replicate Step 4 using your conventional oven. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Place the seasoned ribs on a large baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, for 1 ½ hours, then wrap the ribs with foil & return to the oven for 30 minutes longer. Finish & serve according to the Recipe Directions, above, or feel free to finish the ribs with your oven’s broiler.