Summer’s starting to wrap up! If you’ve been waiting for the perfect day to grill up ribs for the family, don’t wait too much longer or you’ll miss your window. Barbecuing ribs can be an intimidating undertaking, especially if you’re preparing them on a gas grill. If you’re a novice and want to give it a try before summer’s over, here’s a few simple steps for you to follow.
Get the Right Grill
Cooking ribs on a gas grill only really works if you have two burners. You’ll be cooking the meat with indirect heat (meaning the ribs won’t be placed directly over the burners). Here are some great options for gas grills –just make sure you have a grate to cook the ribs on:
Prep Your Ribs
Try to get a square rack of ribs that’s evenly thick. Remove any loose pieces of bone, fat or meat and thin out any overly thick sections of fat. You want to leave a decent amount for cooking purposes, but nobody likes taking a bite into a rack of ribs and getting a mouthful of pure fat. After you’re done trimming the excess fat away, rinse the rack with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
Apply a Rub
Adding a rub to your ribs adds great flavor. You can make your own with your favorite seasonings or pick up a pre-made rub from C-A-L Ranch. Coat the rack completely — top, bottom and each edge. Put on as much rub as you can; whatever the meat’s moisture doesn’t hold will fall away. Be sure to apply the rub less than an hour before cooking. The ideal time to apply the rub is 10-20 minutes before grilling.
Ribs aren’t truly complete without that smokey flavor, but that can be hard to achieve on a gas grill. You won’t get the same flavor as with a charcoal grill or smoker, but one way to get that smokey taste from a gas grill is to make smoke bombs.
Wrap 1/2 cup of damp wood chips in a piece of foil–one side should only be a single layer of foil. Poke holes through the foil and place the bombs close to the active burners. Preheat the grill on high to get the wood going. Once you see smoke streaming from the foil, turn the heat down, put the ribs on, and shut the lid.
Check out this website for more information about using smoke to add flavor.
Grilling the Ribs
Make sure you’re using indirect heat; placing the ribs directly over the active burners can cause uneven cooking, drying or overcooking. If your rack of ribs is too big to be placed away from the active burner, you will need to rotate it occasionally so it cooks evenly.
Put the rack on the grill bone side down and make sure the lid is closed. You’ll want your grill to get up to 300 degrees F and cook the ribs for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, the ribs should be browned all over. If any part of the rack is still raw, continue to cook them for 10-15 minutes or until they’re browned.
One website suggests steaming the ribs at this point with apple juice. To do this, wrap the ribs in foil and make it tight; you don’t want any juices escaping. Pour apple juice over the ribs (don’t drown them or wash off the rub) then place the foil-wrapped ribs back on the grill and raise the heat to 375 degrees F for 30 minutes. The apple juice will begin to boil, cooking and tenderizing the ribs at the same time.
After 30 minutes, lower the heat, unwrap your ribs, and test their flexibility. If the ribs are still stiff or are not browned, they’re not done; put them on for another 10-15 minutes. Ribs should bend down in the middle when you lift one end off the grill.
Adding the BBQ Sauce
When the ribs are ready, drop the heat down to 250 degrees F and add your sauce. Sauce is the key to a flavorful, sticky set of ribs. You’ll want to apply multiple coats by brushing sauce on one side, cooking with the lid down for 5 minutes, then flipping and repeating the process on the other side. You should do this at least twice on each side or for 30 minutes. Here’s some great sauces to compliment your rub:
Make sure you remove the ribs 5 minutes after applying the final coat (you don’t want the sauce to burn). You’re now ready to cut your rack and serve!