Foil-Wrapped Ribs

Foil-Wrapped Ribs

I was born in Texas and grew up in Kansas City, so I guess you could say I have barbecue in my DNA. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of time spent in Texas visiting my grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousin.

The women would stay inside and visit over iced tea, the men would sit around the grill smoking ribs under the unrelenting Texas summer sun and my cousin and I swam in the pool in the backyard.

Time stood still. There was nowhere to be. No emails to answer. No cell phones to check. No homework to be done. I remember asking my uncle how he knew when the ribs were ready and he said, “Just before the beer runs out.” Those were the days!

At this stage of my life-long, lazy days like that are rarities. I’m in the middle of what I affectionately call the “busy years” and our weekends are exactly that. Busy.

Parents of young kids know Saturdays and Sundays are dominated by football games, soccer tournaments, dance practices and birthday parties. I wouldn’t have it any other way, but time is a luxury I simply don’t have a lot of these days.

The good news is just because I don’t have a lot of time doesn’t mean I can’t have the delicious, tender, smoky ribs I remember from that backyard in Texas.

When I started working at Weber, I learned I could make ribs in about half the time by wrapping them in foil. I was skeptical at first, but once I tried it I became a convert. I know there are hardcore, purists who will scream blasphemy – Foil? Gas? That’s not barbecue - That’s cheating! Maybe so, but it’s pretty darn tasty so don’t knock it ‘till ya’ try it, ok? 

Foil-Wrapped Baby Back Ribs
by Jamie Purviance

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Grilling Time: about 1¼ hours
Special Equipment: 18-inch-wide heavy-duty aluminum foil


1          tablespoon kosher salt
2          teaspoons paprika
2          teaspoons granulated garlic
2          teaspoons dried thyme
½         teaspoon ground black pepper

2          racks baby back ribs, each 2 to 2½ pounds
1          cup hickory wood chips, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
1          cup prepared barbecue sauce


1. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F).

2. In a small bowl mix the rub ingredients.

3. Remove the membrane from the back of each rack of ribs. Cut each rack crosswise in the middle to create two smaller racks.

4. Season each half rack evenly with the rub. Using eight 18-by-24-inch sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil, double wrap each half rack in its own packet.

5. Brush the cooking grates clean. Place the ribs on the grill over direct medium heat and cook for 1 hour, with the lid closed, occasionally turning the packets over for even cooking, making sure not to pierce the foil.

6. Remove the packets from the grill and let rest for about 10 minutes. Carefully open the foil packets, remove the ribs, and discard the rendered fat and foil.

7. Drain and add the wood chips directly onto burning coals or to the smoker box of a gas grill, following manufacturer’s instructions. When the wood begins to smoke, return the ribs to the grill, bone side down. Grill over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until they are sizzling and lightly charred, 10 to 12 minutes, turning and basting once or twice with the sauce. Remove from the grill and let rest for about 5 minutes. Cut into individual ribs and serve warm with any remaining sauce.

©2011 Weber-Stephen Products LLC. Recipe from Weber’s Time To Grill™ by Jamie Purviance. Used with permission

What are your thoughts? (4)


Philippos T

Hi All,

I have tried it and i am amazed!!


Jennie Lussow

Hi Philippos! I'm so glad to hear you tried and liked this technique!


Tom W

Just cannot believe these have any smoke flavor after only 10-12 minutes of cooking. Donald S. would be a better way. Baby backs are bad enough with little meat compared to spare ribs. Might as well go to the Ruby Tuesday's or one of the other FF restaurants that serve ribs as spend the $, time and trouble to make these.


Jennie Lussow

Actually, I’ve been really impressed with how much smoke flavor permeates the meat using this method. If you have the time and inclination to slow-cook ribs in a smoker then by all means, it’s a wonderful way to do it. But for anyone pressed for time, this is a really nice alternative. And as far as baby back vs spare ribs – it’s a personal preference. I love them both! I’ve never tried this method with spare ribs but if anyone has, I’d love to hear how it worked out for you.


donald s

I have a reverse approach. I grill with a kiss of smoke for around 30 to 45 minutes, slather with a bit of sweet baby rays and rap. Cook for 1 hour. Open, check the happiness. Everyone loves them it seems.


Jennie Lussow

That’s a great idea! Leaving them unwrapped at the beginning probably allows them to absorb more smoke. I’ll try it this way next time. Thanks!


Eugene A

The first photo at the top looks like beef ribs; but the other photos look like either pork spares or baby backs.


Jennie Lussow

Hi Eugene!
They're all baby back ribs.


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