BBQ Spare Ribs
I’ve been using my 22″ Weber kettle grill a lot lately… experimenting with chicken thighs, getting ready for the Viejas BBQ competition. Cooking on that grill brings back memories of what it was like before I purchased a dedicated smoker and how I used to make pretty good BBQ on just that one simple piece of equipment. Not everyone has a smoker, but most folks have a kettle-style grill of some sort. So in honor of Labor Day, here is a little something for you to try.
The main thing to remember here is to have all of your coals on one side of the kettle. You don’t even need that many coals, just one charcoal chimney full is about all. I only had one rack of ribs but you can easily do up to four on your kettle if you use a “rib rack” … not to be confused with a “rack of ribs.” A rib rack will hold your ribs vertically on your grill or smoker to maximize the horizontal space.

The steps are easy the results are sublime.

  • Step 1 - Prepare your ribs by removing the membrane on the inner side of the rack of ribs. You can trim them up Kansas City or St. Louis style if you wish…. or you can do like I did and just take off the flap of meat on the membrane-side of the rack.
  • Step 2 – Coat your ribs with a generous amount of your favorite BBQ rub on all sides.
  • Steps 1 & 2 can be done a day ahead of time. Be sure to refrigerate your meat and make sure that it is stored in such a way that it doesn’t come into contact with any other food.

  • Step 3 – Remove the top grate from your grill. Light one charcoal chimney starter full of coals. After the coals have ashed over, pour them onto one side of the grill. It is very important to have them all the way to one side of the grill. It is also important to be extremely careful here because those coal are very hot.
  • Step 4 – Add a couple of chunks of hickory over the coals, replace the top grate, cover your grill and close the vents. Wait about 15 minutes.
  • Step 5 – Add your ribs to the top grate of your grill opposite the hot coals. Cover the grill and wait four to five hours depending your heat. Try to keep your grill temperature between 325º and 350º F. It’s o.k. if you run a little hot, just check on your ribs periodically and make sure that they aren’t getting too toasty. If you are running a little cool, open up the vents a little and let some air in.
  • Step 6 - Pop open a cold one and put your feet up.
  • Step 7 – You may wish to glaze your ribs with your favorite BBQ sauce about a half an hour before removing them from the grill.
  • Step 9 – Remove your ribs from your grill and let them rest for 10 to 15 minutes. A sheet pan works really good for this. Cut up the rack of ribs, serve and enjoy.

40 Comments

  1. Dom
    September 8, 2009

    Great tutorial. Will try this! I’m a noob when it comes to ribs.

    Reply
  2. Chilebrown
    September 8, 2009

    Step 6 is very important!!!

    Reply
  3. BBQ Junkie
    September 8, 2009

    Indeed. If you skip step 6, you’re missing the whole point.

    Reply
  4. Big Fella
    September 14, 2009

    The Weber Kettle is underrated as an ad hoc pit. I’ve had the the 22 inch kettle for about 30 years, and have turned out my share of ribs, turkeys and chickens. In terms of your instructions, I’d omit step 7 and repeat step 6.

    Reply
  5. Vernon Gregory
    September 23, 2009

    Excellent Post!!! I really like your post on Ribs. Thanks for the tips. I will be back to read more, I have bookmarked your site.

    Reply
  6. Electric Gate
    December 1, 2009

    Nice Pic!

    The picture itself tells its taste.

    Loosk so yummy!

    Reply
  7. Ed Schenk
    December 17, 2009

    I try to keep my temperature at no more than 250 degrees(on my Weber Kettle). I know it takes longer (4 to 5 hours) but the results are great
    Also, I keep a spray bottle (about $2.99 at the hardware store) filled with some apple juice and apple cider vinegar (4 to 1) and spray often. It helps to keep the ribs moist.

    Reply
  8. monica leslie
    December 29, 2009

    Yeah step 6 is very important… I am fanatic about ribs and know little bit about…One thing I know, when we spread Patan ghee on the ribs, we get excellent taste….

    Reply
  9. Ivan of the Ozarks
    January 21, 2010

    Hi Ivan of the Ozarks here, I love my Weber and my chicken and ribs always come out great – BTW: I have a song about my
    BBQ RUB. Check it out!

    Reply
  10. The Heat Beads® Team
    January 21, 2010

    These ribs look delicious! We agree with @Ed Schenk about spraying the ribs with apple juice and apple cider vinegar – it’s a great way to keep them moist.

    Reply
  11. Sara Varone
    February 8, 2010

    Wow this food looks great!! I would love to learn how to BBQ! I have been watching the competition shows about it and I want to be able to try their food too! Maybe someday soon I will step into the BBQ world and join! Thanks for making me hungry

    Reply
  12. Valbowski
    February 14, 2010

    Have done a version of this in the past, and it was great- gotta keep the heat under 300 degrees, though, or so it seemed to me as I recall.
    Hey! There is an Alton Brown braised ribs in the oven recipe that is really, really great- especially if weather in your area is just not cooperating. You take the drippings from the ribs and the braising liquid and reduce it all down to make a sauce. I add an injection recipe to the process, and wham… winter or rainy day ribs.
    The Heat Beads got a bit of great advice there. I mix up my own special blend of vinegars and spices that compliment the injection and the Alton Brown rub. Keeps the ribs nice and moist while I make the BBQ sauce reduction.

    Reply
  13. Braun Linen
    March 4, 2010

    My father taught me to master the Weber BBQ smoking technique many years ago. No direct heat, drip pan under meat, circular coal arrangement and very wet hickory chips…yum

    Reply
  14. amanda
    March 14, 2010

    I have a gas grill and also a Weber. They do an incredible job if you have the time. Your ribs look delicious!

    Reply
  15. Christine
    March 28, 2010

    Wow excellent tips. I will try this now. I hope It willbe perfect. Your ribs look tasting!I’m drooling now.

    Reply
  16. DanGarion
    May 13, 2010

    Ok, so what happened? No more posts?!?!

    Reply
  17. JJC
    May 28, 2010

    A generally sound method, but 300 degrees is too high. Aim for 225, and use half a chimney to start. Easy does it. Add charcoal and wood chunks in small amounts during cooking. Keep the top vent fully open, and use the bottom vent to control temp. You want the smoke to pass over the meat; not lingering in the dome and potentially causing an acrid, sooty taste. And if you keep the temp right, there’s no need to sog your ribs with juice, or employ a steam pan. You want a slightly dry bark to form, while oh-so slowly, the fat renders and the tissues break down. That said, step 6 is absolutely vital, but don’t get wasted and fall in love with the damn things. IMHO, -JJC

    Reply
  18. Joseph
    June 1, 2010

    I have a brother who lives in the South, and he learned how to use a smoker. I’ve never tried it myself, but I must say that when I had some flank steak that he’d smoked about half the day, it was wonderful. On the other hand, I must say, and do say that my Weber has always given me excellent results. Everything you grill on it just comes out wonderful.

    Reply
  19. Tony McRae
    June 6, 2010

    I’m a huge “Q” fan. There is nothing like it. I look forward to hearing more barbecue news and tips from your site.

    Reply
  20. Alburt
    July 4, 2010

    Hai.. great presentation, excellent tips. your Photography is also good. Thank you for sharing this

    Reply
  21. Kerry Wilson
    August 5, 2010

    The kettle grill is a versatile grill indeed. A must for any outdoor cooker. So, you just put them on for 4-5 hours? No wrap or anything at any point?

    Reply
  22. Darren
    August 10, 2010

    Great post. There is nothing better than the kettle. I need to upgrade from my 18″ to the 22″ though!

    Reply
  23. Julie Reinhardt
    August 12, 2010

    Nice looking ribs. I have all kinds of smokers and grills in the back yard, but I love my kettle!

    Reply
  24. Don Craig
    August 30, 2010

    I’ve done bbq in a real pit, a weber smoky mountain water smoker, and all kind of kettles (check out a Ranch King Kettle if you want to see a kettle on steroids). The way to go with one of the smaller Weber kettles (especially the 22″, although they make a 26″ now that looks great) is to get the wire coal holders – they fit on the charcoal grill and keep the coals into small contained area. Get 2 of them and you can get indirect heat and put the ribs or whatever on the center of the grill. Small kettles that don’t have a split grill so you can take one side off and put more coals in are a pain, the key is to always have heavy welders type gloves around so you can handle hot grills, chimneys, etc. Also – temperature – the traditional “low and slow” is 225 – 250, takes 4 – 6 hours to do ribs usually, and that’s what the purists would say you do. There is a school (I do both ways) is you can “broast” indirectly at 300 – 350 and that can work, especially for chicken where “low and slow” leaves the skin kind of rubbery, I like my chickens crispy, but that’s another story. I’d go with the lower temps for ribs, but most good backyard bbq’ers experiment and see what happens. Good BBQing!

    Reply
  25. Federico
    September 2, 2010

    I just ran into this post, and I read it and I was able to understand a lot of techniques with the photos and clear explanations. I will definitely try my Weber in the way you suggest.
    Thanks for all the tips.
    Cheers from Colombia (South America)

    Reply
  26. Elizabeth
    September 26, 2010

    This sounds really yummy, can’t wait to try it!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

    Reply
  27. Jayde
    November 23, 2010

    Looks like the weber has served you well.. I do not have on like thaat ..I understand the style you use holds heat real good.

    Reply
  28. retro sweets
    November 30, 2010

    thats an interesting way of cooking ribs. never tried side by side grilling before.. nice.. :D

    Reply
  29. Dallas BBQ catering
    January 9, 2011

    I miss my ole weber, it turned out some of the best meats I have ever had in my 38 years on earth

    Reply
  30. Captain BBQ
    June 30, 2011

    Looks great! can’t wait to try it for the 4th!

    Reply
  31. holz grill
    July 4, 2011

    You make it look so easy.
    I have to try this one out for myself.
    Thanks for the simple instructions

    Reply
  32. ss252
    August 3, 2011

    I TAKE the baby backs, pull the membrane off..CRITICAL….Lather it with any mustard, use a great dry rub…I use the Cabelas Brands as they have virtually no sodium or msg….Put in frig overnight…Take out next day an hour to two before BBQing..Soak your favorite chips overnight…Get Side Smoker or 22 INCH WEBER with coals put on the side as described..Try to keep temp at 250 max….Add wet chips every hour, cook 4-6 hours…Take off and impress your pals….The key is the temp and the membrane…Keep it low and feed the coals as needed…

    Reply
  33. zumos
    November 3, 2011

    #6…put coals in grill..#6…light coals..#6..wait for coals to ash over some..#6…get the idea? lol…with this technique it is best to have a co-cooker..haha..j/k..get thread!

    Reply
  34. kurt
    November 18, 2011

    mastered step #6 decades ago,After my weber puchase a year ago Ifeel like im mastering the bbq and step 6 thankyou weber.

    Reply
  35. Barbecues
    March 19, 2012

    Delicious BBQ Ribs! Want to try it soon

    Reply
  36. dla seniora
    April 27, 2012

    Love ribs:) Your looks delicious. I’ll try it soon:)

    Reply
  37. Jackson Clarke
    November 8, 2012

    Great Tutorial and I have just purchased my own weber bbq so this has got me itching to get started!!

    Reply
  38. Danielle
    January 23, 2013

    Mouthwatering! I love making ribs on my Weber Barbecue Grill

    Reply
  39. Tony
    June 20, 2014

    I’ve been considering a Weber grill, and this article is definitely helping me make up my mind. Any suggestions on any of these? http://www.hayneedle.com/brands/weber-grills/

    Reply
  40. Bella
    August 9, 2014

    I really thank of this blog like a Heaven and earth I thank and now I can cook like this Hmmm Yummy…..

    Reply

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