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Recipe from Weber’s Charcoal Grilling™ by Jamie Purviance

Classic Baby Back Ribs (Charcoal Method)

  • People

    Serves 4 to 6

  • Prep Time

    30 mins

  • Grilling Time

    3 to 4 h

  • People

    Serves 4 to 6

  • Prep Time

    30 mins

  • Grilling Time

    3 to 4 h

the Ingredients

  • Rub
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 4 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 4 teaspoons pure ground ancho chile
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  •  
  • 4 racks baby back ribs, each about 2 pounds/910 grams
  • Sauce
  • ¾ cup / 180 milliliters unsweetened apple juice
  • ½ cup / 120 milliliters ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon molasses/treacle (not blackstrap molasses)
  • ½ teaspoon pure ground ancho chile
  • ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Mop
  • 1 cup / 240 milliliters unsweetened apple juice
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce (from above)

Special Equipment

  • charcoal grill
  • rib rack
  • 4 hickory wood chunks

Instructions

  • 01 In a small bowl mix the rub ingredients.
  • 02 Using a dull knife, slide the tip under the membrane covering the back of each rack of ribs. Lift and loosen the membrane until it breaks, then grab a corner of it with a paper towel and pull it off. Cut each rack crosswise in the middle to create two smaller racks. Season the racks all over, putting more of the rub on the meaty sides than the bone sides. Arrange the racks in a rib rack, with all the bones facing the same direction. Allow the racks to stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  • 03 Prepare the grill for indirect low heat (250° to 350°F/120° to 180°C. Place a large disposable foil pan on the empty side of the charcoal grate. Fill the pan about halfway with water.
  • 04 Add two hickory wood chunks to the charcoal. Put the cooking grate in place. Place the rib rack over indirect low heat (over the drip pan) as far from the coals as possible, with the bone sides facing toward the charcoal. Close the lid. Close the top vent about halfway. Let the racks cook for 1 hour. During that time, maintain the temperature between 250° to 350°F/120° to 180°C by opening and closing the top vent. Meanwhile, make the sauce and the mop.
  • 05 In a small saucepan mix the barbecue sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer to blend the flavors, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  • 06 In another small saucepan mix the mop ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer to blend the flavors, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  • 07
    After the first hour of cooking, add 8 to 10 unlit charcoal briquettes and the remaining two wood chunks to the fire. At the same time, lightly baste the racks with some of the mop. Leave the lid off for a few minutes while you baste the ribs to help the new briquettes to light. Close the lid and cook for another hour. During that time, maintain the temperature of the grill between 250° to 300°F/120° to 150°C by opening and closing the top vent.
  • 08 After 2 hours of cooking, add 8 to 10 unlit charcoal briquettes to the fire. Remove the racks from the rib rack, leaving the grill lid open to help ignite the charcoal. Spread the racks out on clean work area, and baste them thoroughly with some mop. Put them back in the rib rack, again all facing the same direction, but this time turned over so that the ends facing down earlier are now facing up. Also position any racks that appear to be cooking faster than others toward the back of the rib rack, farthest from the charcoal. Let the ribs cook for a third hour. During that time, maintain the temperature between 250° to 300°F/120° to 150°C by opening and closing the top vent as before.
  • 09 After 3 hours of cooking, check if any rack is ready to come off the grill. They are done when the meat has shrunk back from most of the bones by about ½ inch/12 millimeters. When you lift a rack by picking up one end with tongs, bone side up, the rack should bend in the middle and the meat should tear easily. If the meat does not tear easily, continue to cook the racks. The total cooking time could be anywhere between 3 to 4 hours. Not all racks will cook in same amount of time. Lightly brush the cooked racks with some sauce and, if desired for crispiness, cook them over direct heat for a few minutes. Transfer to a sheet pan and tightly cover with aluminum foil. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Move the racks to a chopping board and cut between the bones into individual ribs. Serve warm with the remaining sauce on the side.
Ingredients
Instructions