Easy Grilled Sticky Ribs


I'm showing you my favorite way to grill ribs, which of course, is not the same as barbecued ribs. Those are cooked low and slow in a smoker and served as-is, with BBQ sauce on the side. Whereas, these are cooked first, then sliced, and then each rib is glazed with our beautiful sticky sauce on the grill.

Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
2 hrs 15 mins
Chill Time:
2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time:
5 hrs

I've always been fine with the old saying, "rules are meant to be broken," especially culinary rules, as long as the final results come out just as good, if not better. Unfortunately, not everyone's as liberal as I am when it comes to such deviations, with "real" barbecue pitmasters being a perfect example. To them, the idea of baking a rack of ribs, cutting it up, and then grilling each rib glazed with a sticky sauce is nothing short of sacrilege.

Well, that's too bad for them, since these "Easy Grilled Sticky Ribs," were easy, relatively fast, and incredibly delicious. Or, as I would describe to them in the words of that great American philosopher, Homer Simpson, "sacrilicious." Don't get me wrong, as do I love a classically prepared, low-and-slow, smoked rack of ribs, but what I've never understood is having to choose between the two. Can't we have both, depending on our mood, and schedule?

Anyway, to make it up to them a little bit, I respectfully called these, "Grilled Sticky Ribs," and not, "barbecued ribs," although I'm pretty sure that's what most people will refer to them as, which is fine by me. Semantic gymnastics aside, these ribs are a proven crowd-pleaser, and no matter what you call these, I really do hope you give this a try soon.

a plate of baby back ribs with coleslaw and potato salad
Chef John


  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 4 teaspoons white sugar

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 2 racks baby back pork ribs

For the Glaze:

  • cup ketchup

  • ¼ cup brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).

  2. Mix salt, sugar, black pepper, paprika, and garlic powder for dry rub together in a small bowl. Set aside.

  3. Line a large sheet pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place rack of ribs on the prepared pan, bone side down. Poke all over with a sharp knife. Make shallow slits across at an angle, and then repeat the opposite way; this allows the dry rub to penetrate. Coat on both sides with rub; flip back over, ensuring the bone side is down. Wrap tightly with foil.

  4. Transfer to the center of the preheated oven and bake for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until cold and firm, at least 2 hours, up to overnight.

  5. Preheat a charcoal grill until coals are very ashy and hot.

  6. Remove from the refrigerator, unwrap, and brush off excess fat. Slice between the bones to separate each rib.

  7. Combine ketchup, brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, oil, and cayenne with a spoon in a bowl for glaze.

  8. Place ribs on the preheated grill and cook for 2 minutes; flip and brush over glaze. Flip and repeat process until ribs are as caramelized as you prefer, about 10 minutes more.

  9. Remove to a plate and brush over one more application of glaze. Serve.

    Easy Grilled Sticky Ribs
    Easy Grilled Sticky Ribs. Chef John

Chef's Notes:

Each rack of ribs should be about 2 1/4 pounds each.

Feel free to add anything and everything you like to the dry rub, just make sure to include some salt and sugar.

Editor's Note:

Nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of rub and glaze. The actual amount of rub and glaze consumed will vary.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

890 Calories
59g Fat
25g Carbs
66g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 890
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 59g 76%
Saturated Fat 21g 105%
Cholesterol 255mg 85%
Sodium 2892mg 126%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Protein 66g
Potassium 933mg 20%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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