There are some meals that are absolutely worth the additional time and effort. Ribs on the grill? One of those meals!
This cooking method is a bit more hands on than I normally prefer, however the reward is delicious barbecue ribs! I recommend serving 1 rack of ribs per 4 people as long as the meal consists of sturdy side dishes. If the ribs are the main attraction, consider serving up a rack for every 2-3 people. Side ideas: corn on the cob, coleslaw, chilled red pepper soup, and/or baked potatoes. Really just embrace the Southern barbecue theme!
Obviously you need to also make your own sauce, which is a breeze to whip up alongside the slab of rib goodness : )
Step One: Marinate (4+ hours; can be done the night before cooking)
1 rack of baby back ribs
2 1/2 Tbsp paprika
2 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 tsp dark brown sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp ground cumin
Prepare the ribs by removing the thin, papery skin from the back of the rack of ribs. This can be pulled off, and use a small paring knife as needed. I like to cut the rack of ribs in half for easier handling during the cooking process.
Mix all of the spices together and rub onto the ribs. Place into ziploc bags and place in the refrigerator to marinate.
Step Two: Barbecue Sauce (NOTE: this can simmer while you are cooking the ribs; see step three)
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
5 Tbsp light brown sugar
3/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
3/4 tsp tsp ground onion powder
3/4 tsp ground mustard
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring frequently, for an hour.
Step Three: Ribs
1/2 cup apple juice
Marinated ribs from Step 1
Heat your grill to 275 degrees. It is important throughout the cooking process to keep at eye on the grill temperature. Once heated, place ribs onto the grill and cook 30 minutes. Open the grill as few times as possible to allow the ribs to brown. Once all sides are browned (you may have to leave them on an additional 10-15 minutes), remove and place into aluminum foil. Create a "bowl" with the foil and pour in the apple juice. Seal the foil tightly.
Meanwhile, increase your grill temperature to 350 degrees. You want to up the temperature so that the ribs will steam. Place the foil-wrapped ribs back on the grill for 30 minutes.
Remove ribs from the grill, discard the aluminum foil and excess apple juice, and turn down the temperature to 250 degrees. You don't want the temperature to exceed 265 degrees; the temperature at which sugar will burn. Coat the top side of the ribs with a layer of your barbecue sauce and place on the grill. After five minutes, flip the ribs and coat the bottom with sauce. Repeat this process so that each side gets two coats.
Remove the ribs and cut to serve. Place a small bowl of extra sauce on the table for extra yumminess. Enjoy!