Slow Grilled Baby Back Ribs
In the beginning of the summer, I often quadruple the rub recipe so that I have it on hand whenever the mood strikes. Though the cooking time for these crowd-pleasing ribs is long, the effort is minimal and the results are nothing short of finger-licking good.

Yields 8 servings.

For the ribs

  • 3 racks baby back ribs (about 3 pounds per rack; see notes)
  • Spice rub (recipe follows)
  • 3/4 – 1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce

For the spice rub

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Mix the spice rub ingredients and store in a jar or other airtight container. Stored in a cool, dry place, the rub will keep for several months.
  2. For optimal flavor, prep the ribs the day before grilling. If this is not possible, it is ok to do this step the same day: If there is still a membrane along the bone side of the ribs, peel it off. (Removing this is easy if you make a small slit with a knife and then work your fingers beneath the membrane and pull. Removing the membrane will result in more tender ribs.) Then cut each rack into three sections. Sprinkle both sides of the ribs with the spice rub. Depending on exact size of the racks, I sometimes have a little leftover and sometimes use it all. Place the ribs in an extra-large zipper-top bag or other clean bag (with no holes…double bag if you’re not sure) and seal. Store in the refrigerator until ready to grill.
  3. Remove the ribs from the fridge a half hour before grilling. Prepare the grill for indirect cooking; preheat to approximately 220 degrees F or the lowest heat you can achieve. (My last grill would never go below about 250 degrees and this was fine.) Grill the ribs over indirect heat with the lid on for 5 hours total, rotating the racks once every hour or hour and 15 minutes. For example, with a gas grill, turn one side of the grill off and set the other side to the lowest heat possible. If you have three zones, turn two off and set the remaining zone to low, positioning the ribs off the direct heat. The same concept applies for a charcoal grill.
  4. After 5 hours, baste the ribs with the barbecue sauce. At this point, I like to turn up the heat and brush the ribs liberally with the sauce, flipping them occasionally until the sauce caramelizes.
  5. Remove the ribs to a platter, and allow them to rest for 5-10 minutes. Cut into sections of 2-3 ribs or serve as larger racks, as desired. Wet wipes optional!


  • Look for pork baby back ribs, not country style ribs. Also, this amount of ribs will require a fairly large grill. For a small grill or fewer people, the amount of ribs may easily be reduced. (Leftovers, however, are delicious!)

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