How to Cook Ribs on a Gas Grill

Once a month there’s a twitter chat I participate in called spice chat that’s sponsored by the spice company My Spice Sage. It’s a chat that lasts about an hour and is all about a particular spice and different ways to cook with it. As an added bonus, My Spice Sage gives away spices to its chat participants. During last month’s basil chat, I was lucky enough to win one of these spice sets and included in the set was a bottle of Applewood Smoked Sea Salt. I love sea salt, but the way this sea salt smelt was out of this world. One whiff and I knew I had to use it… like immediately.

I added the salt to my scrambled eggs, and while they were yummy, they weren’t quite what I was looking for. Then it came to me: ribs. A dry rub for ribs would be a perfect way to use the salt. So I came up with a dry rub, covered the ribs with it and then realized I had one huge problem: I’d never cooked ribs on a grill before. I didn’t let that deter me, though. I was desperate to taste that rub on my ribs, so I scoured the internet and found a step by step guide on how to grill ribs on the barbecue at About.com. Thanks to their guide, which I’m about to share with you, I not only overcame my fear of grilling ribs, I ended up with an amazing Memphis-style rib dinner.

Step by Step Guide to Grilling Memphis Style Ribs on a Gas Grill

First off, make sure your grill has at least two burners, as you’re going to be cooking the ribs with indirect heat, which means the flames won’t be directly under the ribs but off to the side of them.

Here’s What You’ll Need

  • 1 rack of ribs
  • a good dry rub
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • aluminum foil

Here’s How to Do It

  1. Trim the ribs of any excess fat. Rinse the ribs with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. 30 minutes before the ribs are to go on the grill, apply the rub all over the rack. That means not only the front and back of the ribs but the side and ends as well. Press the rub into the meat to adhere and set aside.
  3. Where you place your ribs on the grill is most important. We need indirect heat to cook the ribs without drying them out or overcooking them. Your grill will also have to be able to hit at least 375°F. The burners on my grill run side to side, so I placed the ribs on the right side of the grill while the burners on the left were burning. If however your burners are front to back, place the ribs at the back of grill and light the burners in the front.
  4. Place the ribs on the grill plate bone side down, close the lid and adjust the heat until it holds a temperature of 300°F. Cook the ribs for 30 minutes. Do not open the lid as this will hold in as much smoke as possible.
  5. Once the ribs have been cooking for 30 minutes, it’s time to wrap them in aluminum foil. The ribs should be browned on all sides. If there are any raw spots, continue to cook the ribs for another 10-15 minutes. When they’re ready, place the wrack in the middle of a large piece of aluminum foil. Pour in the apple juice and seal the foil around the rack as tightly as possible. Steaming the ribs with the apple juice will make them nice and tender but won’t ruin the flavor of the rub at all.  Place the wrapped packet back on the grill where it was, close the lid, increase the temperature to 375°F, and cook for another 40 minutes.
  6. After the ribs have been steaming for 40 minutes, unwrap the foil, place the ribs back in their indirect grilling spot, close the lid and lower the temperature to 250°F. Now you have two options, sauce or no sauce. If you choose to grill your ribs Memphis style (that is without sauce) then cook your ribs for another 30 minutes without opening the lid. If you’re going to sauce your ribs, however, baste one side of the ribs with sauce, close the lid and cook for 5 minutes. Flip the ribs over, baste the other side, close the lid and cook for 5 more minutes. Continue to do this for 30 minutes and you’ll have a nice thick barbecue sauce coating your ribs.
  7. After 30 minutes, whether basting the ribs or not, transfer them to a platter and serve.