How to BBQ Ribs on a Weber Grill

Cooking a bunch of chicken sometimes leaves you wanting some BBQ ribs in your life. That’s what I was feeling when preparing for a BBQ competition a while back.

I’d been using my 22″ Weber kettle grill a lot at the time… experimenting with chicken thighs, getting ready for the Viejas BBQ competition. Cooking on that grill brought back memories of what it was like before I purchased a dedicated smoker and how I used to make very good BBQ ribs on just that one simple piece of equipment. Not everyone has a smoker, but most folks have a kettle-style charcoal grill of some sort to cook on.

So in honor of the standard charcoal grill and making delicious BBQ Ribs, 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 briquettes, just one charcoal chimney full is about all you’ll need. I only had one rack of ribs, but you can quickly 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.

What you will need

  • A kettle smoker
  • A bag of charcoal
  • Some wood chunks of your choice
  • A rack of ribs (more if you have a rib rack)
  • Some BBQ rub
  • Some BBQ sauce (optional)
  • A couple of beers to keep you company while you cook (optional)

How to BBQ Ribs

The steps are easy the results are sublime.

  • Step 1 – First, you will need to prepare your ribs by removing the membrane on the inner side of the rack of ribs. You can trim them 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. Check out this video on trimming your ribs.
  • Step 2 – After your rack of ribs is trimmed, coat it 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 kettle. Offsetting the lit charcoal is crucial because it sets up your BBQ for cooking with indirect heat. It is also important to be extremely careful here because those coals 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 on your heat. Try to keep your grill temperature between 225º and 250º 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 your grill is running a little cold, open up the vents a little and let ins some air.
  • 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 8 – Remove your ribs from your grill and let them rest for 10 to 15 minutes. A sheet pan is perfect for this. Cut up the rack of ribs, serve and enjoy.

Here is a video that demonstrates the techniques involved in BBQ’n your pork spare ribs on a kettle smoker:

38 thoughts on “How to BBQ Ribs on a Weber Grill

  1. ribs are great for a beginner, pretty full proof, might be lazy but i leave the membrane on the ribs, tastes bloody beautiful,i do recommend the rib rack!

  2. You absolutely have to try ribs on the Pit Barrel Cooker!!
    The best results with the least effort.
    I’ve been bbqing for over 40 years, on all kinds of grills and smokers, and, I can honestly say that the PBC is the greatest innovation to come along in years. Changed my whole approach to bbq.

  3. I’ve been considering a Weber grill, and this article is definitely helping me make up my mind. Any suggestions on any of these?

  4. #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!

  5. 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…

  6. 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)

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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….

  14. 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.

    • Try using orange juice(pulpy OJ works best) and apple cider vinegar 50/50,with some brown sugar added to it.. Learned this baste recipe from and old Texas bbq pit resturant owner makes a wonderful glaze on your ribs,no need to sauce them at all..

  15. 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.

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