Your beginner's guide to making tender grilled baby back ribs at home..

By Vanessa Greaves
April 19, 2021
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It's time to get your grill on! And while there's nothing wrong with good ol' hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, Nicole McLaughlin, aka NicoleMcmom, is going to show you how to take your grill game to the next level with an easy way to make tender, juicy, fall-off-the-bone grilled baby back ribs.

It starts with a spicy rub to boost flavor, moves on to a simple two-step process for grilling the ribs so they don't dry out, and ends with a glaze of homemade barbeque sauce for a final savory layer of finger-lickin' goodness.

To get her grilled baby back ribs exactly how she wants them, Nicole applies the rub from this recipe for Prize Winning Baby Back Ribs and cooks up a batch of this Zippy Barbecue Sauce, and uses her own tried-and-true method for grilling the baby backs. Put them all together and get ready for compliments all season long.

How to Grill Baby Back Ribs

brushing barbeque sauce on grilled baby back ribs
Credit: Allrecipes

Plan for about one pound of baby back ribs per person. The ribs can sometimes come with a membrane along the backbone that you can remove, or you can have your butcher remove it for you.

  1. Preheat a gas grill for high heat, or arrange charcoal briquettes on one side of the barbeque to create a hot side and a cooler side.
  2. Prepare dry rub (see recipe below) and sprinkle on both sides of the ribs to coat generously.
  3. Wrap the ribs in foil and place them on the cooler side of the grill over indirect heat. Let them cook undisturbed for 1–1½ hours.
  4. While the ribs are cooking, prepare the barbeque sauce. (See recipe below.)
  5. Unwrap the ribs; the meat should just be starting to pull away from the bone.
  6. Place the unwrapped ribs on the hot side of the grill directly over the heat source for 10 to 15 minutes, turning every few minutes to let the meat caramelize.
  7. In the last five minutes of grilling, brush both sides of the ribs with barbeque sauce.
  8. Remove from the heat and let the ribs rest for 10 minutes. Slice between the bones to serve with sauce on the side for dipping.
close up of grilled baby back ribs
Credit: Allrecipes

Spicy Dry Rub

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Nicole adds brown sugar and garlic powder to the mix, but that's optional

Directions: Combine all ingredients and set aside.

Homemade BBQ Sauce

Ingredients

  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (Nicole uses apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
  • ¼ granulated garlic
  • ¼ freshly ground black pepper

Directions: In a medium saucepan, mix together ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

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You can connect with Nicole as NicoleMcmom on Allrecipes and on Instagram @nicolemcmom.

More tips, tricks, and ideas from Nicole: