What are baby back ribs?

Baby backs are from the top of the rib cage between the spine and the spare ribs, which are also known as St Louis. These have some of the loin left on so are very meaty and extremely tasty. These won't disappoint. With ribs you can either cook dry ribs or sauced ribs, it's a personal preference. But if you're like me, the more sauce the better!

Prepping the ribs

To prepare the ribs you first must remove the membrane. This is found on the back of the ribs covering the bone. The reason for removing it is because it's a thick and tough barrier, removing it will help ensure your ribs are flavourful and tender.

Cut off any loose bits of meat or sections which are far too small. Those bits will dry out and you wouldn't want to eat them.

Blot dry your ribs and apply a binder. We at Riverside like to use mustard!

Now you can add a dry rub of your choice! Spread the rub generously and make sure you cover all parts of the ribs, front, back and sides. We like to put the ribs on the grill within an hour of adding the rub, so your ribs don't dry out or start curing.

Setting up your grill

Make sure your ribs are at room temperature putting them on to the grill. You'll be cooking them low and slow with indirect heat.

Pre-heat your BBQ to 110°C – 135°C. We cooked ours on a Master-Touch with Weber® briquettes. Set your BBQ up in the snake or minion method if you are using a smoker as you'll be cooking for up to 5 hours. Adding a few chunks of your favourite smoking wood on the lit coals. Add a drip tray of water to the charcoal grate to help keep the temperature down and the ribs moist.

Cooking the ribs

Put your ribs bone down directly on to your grill.

Check your grill after one hour to make sure it is holding temperature. If it is too hot you can close your vents slightly or remove some lit charcoal.

After the ribs have got the colour you want you can remove the ribs and double wrap them with tin foil. After this stage, they would have absorbed all the smoke they need to.

Leave them to cook for around another hour. Remove the tin foil and you can then return them to the grill for between 30 - 60 minutes. Test the ribs with a probe or a toothpick to feel the softness of the meat. We are aiming to feel very little resistance when you test them.

If you want to sauce make sure you do it before the ribs are done. Sauce them using a mop or a basting brush and do it in thin layers, closing the lid in between the layers leaving them for around 5 mins. Repeat this for up to 5 times but keeping an eye on not overcooking them.


You can watch our video here: How to cook baby back ribs on a charcoal or gas bbq.

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