How to Cook Ribs on the Grill for Beginners

Using recipes when cooking ribs for the first time can be beneficial. You just have to follow each step and include each ingredient in the recipe, and your ribs will turn out delicious, right? Not always.

When it comes to smoking ribs on the grill, you need to have basic knowledge of how to choose a good slab of ribs and how to properly prepare them. If you’re a beginner, take the time to learn these 10 helpful rib smoking tips to land you the best results.

1. Choose a slab with meat and fat that is evenly distributed

By selecting a slab where the meat and fat are as even as possible, the entire slab can be cooked evenly. Nothing is worse than having moist, tender ribs on one end and chewy, dry ribs on the other.

2. Remove the membrane

Beginners often overlook this step since they are not even aware the membrane exists. The problem is, if left on, it leaves your ribs quite chewy. While removing the membrane requires some practice, it becomes easier with each dish you prepare.

3. Let your ribs relax with your rub

Once the membrane is removed and you have applied your rub, it’s important to let your ribs sit in your refrigerator for at least an hour. This will allow the water-soluble ingredients in your rub to dissolve. As they dissolve, a glaze will form and penetrate the meat. The more time you allow it to sit, the more the meat can soak up.

4. Decide the texture of ribs you want before smoking

Want your ribs to fall off the bone or do you want them to have a bit of chew to them like eating a steak? Your choice of texture affects how you will cook them. For instance, you can choose from several different methods to achieve falling-off-the-bone ribs, the most popular of which is the 3 2 1 method.

5. Cook your ribs over indirect heat

Using direct heat will result in a charred exterior crust and chewy, dense meat. For certain meats (such as ribs) to tenderize properly, the meat, fat, and cartilage must be broken down over time.

6. Smoke bone side down

When you smoke your ribs’ bone side down, smoke will be able to evenly penetrate the meat and throughout all the ribs.

7. Spray your ribs throughout the smoking process

Spraying (or mopping) your ribs can help keep them moist during the smoking process. If you want a full-formed bark, some people opt not to spray, but we recommend this technique to ensure optimal moistness for beginners.

8. Use look and feel to test doneness

Technically, ribs are cooked when the internal temperature reaches 160°F for pork ribs and 145°F for beef ribs. However, collagen and fats melt anywhere from 190°F to 203°F, so determine when they’re done by look and feel.

9. Smoke Your Ribs on a Cookshack Grill

Paying attention and learning these basics can be a process in itself. As a beginner, do you want to go through the process of learning how to manage fire and smoke as well? With easy-to-use temperature control and heavier construction that will retain heat and smoke better than the competition, a Cookshack Wood Pellet Grill PG500 or PG1000 is perfect for anyone looking to smoke ribs, whether a beginner or Pit Master.

Give the grillmasters at Cookshack a call today at (580) 765-3669 or visit us online to see our line of industry-leading smokers and grills.