How to cook ribs on a charcoal BBQ

How to cook ribs on a charcoal BBQ featured

Preparing the Ribs

Before you even think about firing up the BBQ, you’ll need to select your ribs and prepare them properly. Choose meaty baby back or spare ribs and remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. Next, create a dry rub using a mix of spices such as salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, and brown sugar. Rub the mixture onto both sides of the ribs and let them sit in the fridge for at least an hour to absorb the flavors.

Setting up the Charcoal BBQ

Once your ribs are ready, it’s time to prepare your charcoal BBQ. Arrange your charcoal in a pile on one side of the grill and light it. Let the coals burn until they’re white and ashy, then add some soaked wood chips directly onto the charcoal for added smoky flavor. Place a drip pan on the other side of the grill and fill it up with water to keep the ribs moist while they cook.

Cooking the Ribs

Now it’s time to add your ribs to the BBQ. Place them on the grill grates over the drip pan, bone side down. Close the lid and let them cook for 2.5-3 hours at a temperature between 225-250°F. If you have a thermometer, the internal temperature of the ribs should reach 160°F for baby back ribs and 170°F for spare ribs. After about an hour, add fresh coals to keep the temperature consistent.

Basting the Ribs

About an hour before the ribs are done, start basting them with your preferred BBQ sauce. Use a brush to slather the sauce on both sides of the ribs and let them cook for another 45-60 minutes. Keep an eye on the temperature and add more coals or adjust the airflow as needed. For extra caramelization, move the ribs closer to the coals during the last 15-20 minutes of cooking.

Serving the Ribs

Once your ribs are fully cooked, remove them from the grill and let them rest for about 10 minutes before slicing them into individual portions. Serve them hot with your favorite sides such as coleslaw, corn on the cob, or baked beans. Enjoy the delicious smoky flavor and tender meat of your perfectly cooked ribs!

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