BBQ Tip: How Can I Get My Ribs Tender and Juicy with BBQ?

Barbecue ribs are such a treat. But if you've ever had tough, chewy ribs, you might be feeling a little discouraged. " - that's the question we hear lots of times. In a nutshell: a tiny bit of preparation, then cook the ribs 'low and slow'.

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We won't cover using wood chips for smoking the ribs (check out, what wood to use for BBQ pork ribs) .. or what BBQ rub to use ... let's just talk about how to make those tender, juicy, fall-off-the-bone ribs.

  • Prep work is important. You'll need to remove the tough outer membrane of the ribs, on the bone side. Carefully stick a knife into the corner and wiggle it around to loosen the membrane. Then grab the edge and slowly pull it off (use a paper towel for grip). It should come off fairly easily. Don't remove the inner membrane, since it holds the meat together.

  • Apply the rub. Be generous.

  • Wrapped or unwrapped? If you're only using a rub, then wrap the ribs in a double layer of aluminum foil, shiny side out. Don't wrap too tightly - there should be room for air circulation. If you find it is easier to handle, you can separate the ribs into smaller racks and wrap each one. Crimp the edges together upwards, so that juices don't spill into the barbecue.

    If you're also using a BBQ sauce or you want to add smoke flavor, then leave the ribs unwrapped.

  • Set up the barbecue for indirect heat. The ribs should not sit right over the coals... the heat should be distributed throughout the BBQ so that the meat cooks more evenly.

  • Set up the barbecue for low heat - approximately 215 to 225 degrees F. This is crucial for tender ribs. Put the ribs on the cooking grate. Budget for around 5-6 for back ribs, and a little longer if you're using side ribs.

You'll know they're ready when you pick up a rack by the middle, and the ends hang down and the ribs start to separate. Check out a couple of ways to get tender and juicy ribs on the BBQ: our recipe for Basic, Basted Grilled BBQ Ribs and our favorite way of making ribs, How-To Guide: Grilling Ribs on Charcoal. Barbecuing ribs does require a fair bit of patience, but the end results are worth it. Bon appetit!



This website offers tips on how to BBQ as well as some of our favorite barbecue recipes. We barbecue with a charcoal grill in an outdoor kamado-style cooker called The Big Green Egg. We love food and we love the grill, and hope you enjoy our recipes!