If someone invites you to a backyard BBQ, chances are you are hoping they will be serving up BBQ ribs because this picnic staple remains a favorite and with good reason. Grilled ribs lend themselves to sauce, spicy rubs or a plain dry rub. No matter what your favorite sauce or rub is, you need to have an experienced hand with grilling ribs. You want them to be thoroughly cooked, not overdone and be fall-off-the-bone delicious. Your ribs should also require a lot of napkins — because they are not only delicious but messy delights as well!

Practice these four steps to have ribs that will earn you the title of grill master!

  1. Tenderize
  2. Season
  3. Grill
  4. Baste

ENJOY! this may be a fifth step but it goes without saying, right? 

How do you tenderize ribs?

To ensure you have fall off the bone meat don’t cut corners in this step. Remove the thin membrane from the back of the ribs by slicing into the membrane with a sharp knife and pulling it off the rib meat.

Tenderize the ribs by combining kosher salt and black peppers and set aside. Salt tenderizes and flavors the ribs.

Add flavor to the ribs by rubbing them with the cut sides of a lime. Squeeze the juice into it as you rub. The citrus imparts a delicious flavor to the ribs and helps the meat get tender. Massage salt and pepper onto the ribs.

Wrap the ribs with plastic wrap and chill for up to eight hours. Trust us. You don’t want to take a shortcut here, your patience will be rewarded!

BBQ Ribs Remain A Backyard Favorite

After they’ve been tenderized for eight hours

The meat is now infused with the lime and salt and peppers and are ready for grilling – we know this is the part you’ve been waiting for. Light the grill and heat it up to between 350 and 400 degrees.

Let the ribs stand at room temperature for half an hour before grilling. Remove the plastic wrap and place the ribs on the unlit side of the grill, stacking them. You’re going to leave the stacked ribs, on the unlit side of the grill for up to 40 minutes on the indirect heat.

After 40 minutes, rotate the ribs, move the top rack of ribs to the bottom and leave again under the indirect heat.

Some grill masters prefer to cook the ribs low and slow either in the oven or on the grill. You can put them in a baking dish with cola or even a lemon lime soda as this helps tenderize them, but doesn’t impart the soda flavor into the meat.

Add heat

Separate the slabs of ribs. Baste them with your choice of barbecue sauces or dry rubs.

Lower the grill temperature to 300 degrees – medium heat. Place the racks of ribs side by side on the heated grill with the grill lid closed.

Baste occasionally and grill for 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let them rest for ten minutes.


Dig in. Don’t worry about messy hands and faces — that is part of the enjoyment of a good rib. That’s why you will have napkins!

Spicy BBQ sauce

Gather the following ingredients

1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 tbsp celery seed
1/2 tsp red pepper sauce
1/2 tbsp liquid smoke, if desired

Combine the ingredients in a saucepan, heat over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Apply to ribs. Enjoy!

Side dish ideas

Serve your barbecued ribs with a side dish of

  1. Grilled dill potatoes
  2. Corn on the cob
  3. Macaroni salad
  4. Tossed salad
  5. Cornbread.

grilled potatoes To make grilled dill potatoes, take salt potatoes, keep whole, boil for five minutes, place on foil, cover with olive oil, sprinkle dill sprigs, wrap in foil and put on the grill on indirect heat until soft. If you want, you can grill the potatoes on the heated side of the grill for a few minutes right before serving to get those lovely grill marks.

Grill up fruit for dessert. Slice peaches, pineapple and other fruits you love, brush with olive oil and grill until soft. Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream.