In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

Some BBQ tips and techniques for finger licking ribs.

bbq pork ribsSince the post I did a couple weeks back went over so well (Some BBQ tips and techniques for chicken) I thought I’d share some pointers with you on achieving tender and juicy ribs. The biggest mistake I ‘ve ever made in my brief cooking avocation, is when I purchased ribs in one of those vac-sealed bags that’s pre-seasoned. YUK! I’m sure you’ve been tempted if not already fell for it and lived to regret it. The batch I purchased was pre-seasoned with some sort of sweet Thai chili thing.. just plain old NASTY! I make good, if not great ribs from scratch and I was hoping this would turn out good, especially since it was on sale and I’m always looking for a deal.

Here are some pointers to achieving a wonderful BBQ dinner with the special guest of the evening, ribs!

Don’t ever boil your ribs!  The problem with ribs is that they can be a bit tough and ornery. They are full of collagen, and if not cooked properly, they will be incredibly tough and chewy. You want fall off the bone BBQ ribs, and you can achieve this by boiling them, but it’s a bad idea. When you boil ribs, what you are effectively doing is making a pork broth. You are stealing a lot of the delicious potential flavors from the ribs, and they will be much blander and more one dimensional when cooked this way.

What you really want to do is sort of roast the meat. BBQ is a low heat method of roasting, and by dry roasting will concentrate the great flavors of the meat.

Low and slow! The secret to tender BBQ ribs is a long cooking time over a low temperature. If you roast these slowly, the collagen in the meat will transform into luscious gelatin, and the meat will be tender and flavorful. You want to keep the heat between 250 and 300. Lower than 250 and you risk drying the meat, and higher than 300 is getting too hot for tenderizing cooking.

Probably the most important tip I can give to you other than cooking low and slow is…  Take off the silver skin. The silver skin is a membrane that is attached to the underside of the bones. You can’t chew it and marinades, rubs and sauces can’t penetrate it. It’s got to go. Take a knife and pry a little bit off, then grab it with your fingers ( I use a paper towel as well) and peel the while thing off.

Season the ribs the night before you plan on cooking them. Rub whatever spice rub you’re using on the meat the night before, to give it enough time to penetrate and flavor the meat.

bbq ribs recipe

Cook them over indirect heat. Rib connoisseurs will convince you that without some sort of smoke flavour you’re not really appreciating the “true” essence of BBQ ribs. I HATE smoked ribs, so I stay very far from this technique.  With the indirect method of grilling, all you’re doing is placing the rack of ribs on the section of the grill with no heat. I light half the grill and have the other half bare of any flame.

We were over at our friends’ place last year and as a young couple they were excited to show off the new stainless steel grill they got and their BBQ skills. However, they marinated the raw ribs in BBQ sauce. Don’t sauce until the ribs are done (they’re done when you lift up the rack in the middle a bit, and it threatens to split in two). When they are done, heat the grill up to medium and grill the sauced ribs for a few minutes. If you want to achieve very sticky ribs like our girls like, baste, baste and baste with tons of BBQ sauce near the end.

Leave me your comments or suggestions below.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. June 8, 2016 / 6:01 pm

    Man!!! Now I feel like having ribs!!! Lol…thanks Chris, great tips!

  2. Barb
    January 20, 2016 / 3:43 pm

    Thank you!! I’ve had moderate to good results with ribs. Nothing I would make for company. I’ll try this!

  3. ABB
    March 13, 2015 / 4:42 pm

    Hi. We don’t have a grill so what I do is season ribs overnight and then the next day, pour just enough water to almost cover bottom of aluminum foil-lined pan. Slow roast covered tightly in aluminum foil on 325-350 until you can stick fork through meat. Throw off almost all of greasy water. Then baste both sides uncovered with BBQ sauce until glazed, and I guarantee you fall off the bone ribs every time.

  4. Brenda
    June 25, 2014 / 10:21 am

    This is how I’ve doing it since the 70’s. It is so good, people that say they do not eat pork, ate my ribs, and juice was all in the front of them, on their shirt. Sometimes I add Saucy Susan.

  5. michael martung
    November 6, 2012 / 6:05 am

    hello trinis, we in brazil call guava jam and cheese – romeo and juliet
    Also big wasting time marinating beef for barbequeing, just baste on a lot roc salt ,put on grill , when ready just dust off salt, -pronto -try it

  6. Patrick
    October 7, 2012 / 5:30 pm

    Hey Chris I'm quite new to caribbean pot I just found your site looking for a jerk sauce recepie, but am a huge fan of caribbean cuisine and would love it if you could post a recepie for pepper pot soup with the calalloo,okra,salted beef,coconut cream, habanero peppers as well as dumplings

  7. Joe
    September 26, 2012 / 7:33 pm

    Hey Chris!
    Have you ever tried steaming ribs in an Asian steamer pan?
    I steam mine until they are almost falling off the bone, then put 'em on the grill to finish 'em up. This works for even the toughest beef short ribs.

  8. Kecia
    July 1, 2012 / 1:31 pm

    Thanks for the info on the better way to cook ribs Chris. I always boil my ribs first and they come out great but I have to try the indirect heat method on the grill. Keep the recipes coming. I love to collect them so when I am ready, I can do my work in the kitchen…..

  9. Jaye
    June 26, 2012 / 8:54 pm

    Hi Chris- In case you are still looking for black pudding in the Toronto area, Sweet Spot (at 4630 Kingston Rd, just East of Galloway Rd and West of Morningside), sells them on Fridays, Sat and Sun- around $8.00 lb, with the yummiest mango chutney. I tried them in the Scottish bakery and will never do that again- bland and tasteless, certainly not like how my father used to make them. Enjoy.

  10. The Gnome
    February 14, 2012 / 9:57 am

    Great tips once again Chris. Thanks!

  11. Megadon
    July 27, 2010 / 7:19 am

    I dont eat pork what about beef ribs chris can u post a beef ribs recipe or should I create one and send it to you?

  12. Pamela
    April 13, 2010 / 9:17 pm

    Hey Chris,
    I just purchased a slab of ribs and will definitely follow your suggestions and tips.
    Can't hardly wait to eat them and I might not share……Thanks

    • April 17, 2010 / 11:59 pm

      Pamela, I trust it turned out well?

  13. March 31, 2010 / 11:19 am

    I've been in the restaurant business for 46 years. I once employed a corporate chef who was cajun.
    He gave me his family technique. Season the ribs( dry rub) let sit for up to 3 hours. In a baking pan mix 6 oz. liquid smoke with 6 oz lime juice and two cups of water. Place the ribs on a rack, over the liquid( not touching the liquid), leaving the dry rub on the ribs. Cover the pan and ribs with aluminum foil, then puncture the foil several times to let some steam escape. Set oven at 275 f, place ribs in the middle of the oven and cook for 2 hours. Let ribs cool. set grill at a low temperature, baste ribs with bbq sauce, grill 2 minutes per side. I can't give you the recipes for the rub or the bbq sauce because he now owns a bbq restaurant in Louisianna and told me that he'd have to kill me if I ever gave out the recipes
    Try this method. The ribs come out tender, flavorful, and "falling off the bone"
    Bon Appetit!

    • March 31, 2010 / 11:31 am

      George, thanks for the bbq tips.

  14. maureen
    March 12, 2010 / 4:44 pm

    i always look forward to ur recipes i think i like this one a lot

    • admin
      March 14, 2010 / 8:53 pm

      Hi Maureen! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      happy cooking


  15. March 11, 2010 / 4:57 pm

    hi chris, i just luv your style of cooking, so unique, keep up the good work.

    • admin
      March 14, 2010 / 8:57 pm


      happy cooking


  16. November 5, 2009 / 12:47 pm

    Janice, luckily enough there’s an Italian bakery locally here that I just found, that bakes some mean hops bread as well.

    I’m still trying to source some black pudding. I found some in a British food store, but they were rather bland.

    Hope you’re enjoy the warm Bermuda weather.. it’s already cold here

    happy cooking

    .-= Chris De La Rosa´s last blog ..El Yucateco Salsa Picante De Chile Habanero Green Hot Sauce Review. =-.

    • Oldst Owns
      July 13, 2011 / 2:49 pm

      I know I'm very late here but I also use the Italian bread for hops bread too.
      My mother in law told me that if I want it long time style just sprinkle some water on the top and put them in the toaster oven to warm up and when it's done the top will become the crackly king from long time Crown Bakery days.

      I'm trying your ribs recipe this weekend.


  17. Janice Swan
    October 19, 2009 / 6:16 pm

    Hi Chris: Always look forward to your emails. Here in Bermuda, I get hops bread from the local Portuguese bakery and it goes great with buljol and with Portuguese black pudding which tastes just like home!!

  18. October 8, 2009 / 9:12 am

    Re: Nelissa. Funny you should mention Trinidad cheese. I never understood why my dad would say that Trinidad cheese was so much better than what we get here in Canada.. until a few days ago! We just came back from a couple weeks in T&T and made a grilled cheese sandwich for breakfast the first morning. WOW! Simply amazing. BTW the cheese we have in T&T is from New Zealand and is what they would call a white medium cheddar. Yes, i was hooked and had to hit “Hi Lo” to get my daily fix. As far as hops bread go, you won’t find the very same thing, however the Italian bakeries usually have some buns that are very similar.

    happy cooking

    .-= Chris De La Rosa´s last blog ..How to make green Mango Chutney. =-.

  19. Nelissa
    October 3, 2009 / 7:19 pm

    where dyu get hops bread in Toronto?
    any ideas how to get Trinidad cheese too?
    I miss hops bread with guava jam and cheese!

  20. July 25, 2009 / 5:39 pm

    Thanks for dropping by Celya. Only last week we were visiting my parents in Toronto and they just so happened to have a smoked ham in the oven. I made some killer sandwiches on some "hops" bread.

    I remember as a kid my dad would go to hilo to preorder our Christmas ham.. I believe the brand was maple leaf and it came in a sort of bag (burlap/ crocus)like wrapping.
    [rq=161199,0,blog][/rq]The Lululemon Athletica Warehouse Sale Hamilton.

  21. Celya Lister
    July 19, 2009 / 10:05 pm

    I enjoyed your recipes even though I did not find my fave breakfast dishes from TnT.The best breakfast snack for me at home was Arepa and chutney.Every xmas I make lots of Pastelles to eat with the traditional smokedham and Chow-chow(Called Piccalilli in the UK)I do not bake them but the Pastelles are steamed and they are eaten with hot pepper sauce.I look forward to your Hot Sauce.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.