Summer is here and our family loves a good home cooked meal – out on the grill! There is no substitute for fall-off-the-bone BBQ Ribs slow-cooked and smoked with hickory. Just imagine the sweet and salty flavor of the tender pork rubbed in BBQ seasoning, and coated in stick-to-your-teeth, honey-BBQ sauce. The meat is so tender it falls off the bone. And the smokey flavors and sweet but mildly spicy BBQ sauce mean you’ll want to lick your fingers after every bite!
Now, you can cook ribs in the oven… but, if you want a smokey hickory flavor — well, for that, you have to grill BBQ Ribs outside!
If you want BBQ Ribs this tender, and this sweet and salty, there are 5 things you need to know about cooking BBQ Ribs. I cooked our ribs on a charcoal grill for 5 hours. But you can cook yours any way you like and still get a similar result as long as you follow these five key things.
This post was previously compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HogWildThrowdown #CollectiveBias The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older. Here I’m sharing 5 Tips for Fall-off-the bone BBQ Ribs. If you’ve ever struggled to grill ribs that are juicy and tender, don’t miss these grilling secrets!
Want to grill some mouth-watering BBQ Ribs? Great! Let’s gather up our ingredients and get started.
Ingredients for Fall-off-the-bone BBQ Ribs
- Smithfield® Extra Tender St. Louis Ribs
- Smithfield® Extra Tender Spare Ribs
- KC Masterpiece® Sweet Honey BBQ Sauce Mix & Dry Rub
- KC Masterpiece® Original BBQ Sauce
- 16 oz. Apple Juice
Materials needed for Fall-off-the-bone BBQ Ribs Recipe
- Charcoal Grill
- 1 Bag of Kingsford® Charcoal
- Aluminum Foil
- Basting Brush
- BBQ tongs
- Aluminum Pans(s) for drippings
- Hickory Wood Chips
- Lighter Fluid
- Spray cooking oil
- Grilling Mitts
5 Things you MUST know for Tender Fall-off-the-bone RIBS
If you’re not careful, you can take soft and tender ribs and ruin them. Now, the last thing anyone wants is ribs that are overcooked or char-burned. Here I’ll share my secrets for amazing melt-in-your-mouth-ribs that will make your family ask for more!
Tender, juicy fall-off-the-bone BBQ ribs are attainable if you follow certain important guidelines when cooking your BBQ Ribs. The first REALLY IMPORTANT thing to do, is also the first step of the cooking process…
Tender BBQ Ribs Tip #1: Prepare the Meat Ahead-of-Time
When you take the time to prepare the meat ahead of time, you’re going to get the best flavor.
Step 1: The night before – open your Smithfield Extra Tender St. Louis Ribs or your Smithfield Extra Tender Spare Ribs and turn the ribs over to look for a thin membrane on the bone. Peel the membrane off to allow the seasonings greater access to the meat. If the membrane does not come off – no worries – marinading overnight will help the seasonings sink in either way. Smithfield Ribs are hand-trimmed and have no added hormones or steroids, and they’re my secret weapon for tender and juicy BBQ Ribs.
Step 2: The night before – sprinkle on KC Masterpiece® Sweet Honey BBQ Sauce Mix & Dry Rub and brush the powder on with apple juice using a basting brush. Try not to use your hands – it will just make the seasonings stick to your fingers and not the rib meat. Your other option is to follow the instructions on the box and marinade the ribs overnight. You can use a cookie sheet or large baking dish to store the ribs overnight. Make sure to cover them with foil or wrap to keep them from drying out.
Step 3: Prepare the Hickory Chips. If you want to enjoy the smokey flavor of Hickory, you need to soak the wood chips overnight in water. You can add them on top of the charcoal on the grill OR you can get a wood chip container to keep them smoking up the flavor in one spot. Either way, these chips are the key for a smokey hickory taste in your BBQ Ribs.
Soft and Tender or Tough?
Now the next tip, Tip #2, is equally important and can make the difference between soft and tender BBQ Ribs versus Ribs that are charred. Keep reading for my next life-altering tip for tender fall-off-the-bone BBQ Ribs! Tender BBQ Ribs Tip #2: Grill SLOW and LOW for tender, juicy BBQ RIBS
The next morning, you need to take some time to prepare your grill for cooking, if you want moist, tender and juicy ribs prepare your grill to cook SLOW and LOW. It’s easier than it sounds and here I’ll share a few simple tips for slow and low grill cooking.
Step 1: Monitor the Grill Temperature. Try to use a grill that has a heat monitor on it. For extra tender and juicy ribs, you’ll want to grill them at about 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 5 hours.
Step 2: Preheat your grill and stack your coals. Grilling slow and low means you’re going to use fewer coals than you normally would use. If you want to ensure a long-slow burn for grilling, use a snake charcoal brick arrangement. You’ll ignite and get your starter coals going and then place them at one end of the snake when you’re ready to cook. This ensures a longer and slower burn on your coals. Your snake should be about 4-5 coals thick all the way around.
Step 3: Heat to 225 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit . Keep adding coals and vent the grill to fuel the coals. You’ll want to achieve a consistent temperature before you add your ribs.
Step 4: Refuel for consistent temperature. Even after I ignited the snake and started to grill the ribs, I kept at least a dozen coals going in the center by adding 5-7 coals every 45 minutes to an hour. Check the temperature monitor when you’re not sure. If you use a charcoal grill, it’s helpful to use one with an access door on the front so you can add coals without releasing the heat.
Don’t add your ribs to the grill just yet!
There are a few other really important tips you’ve got to keep in mind before you start grilling. Tip #3 prevents your ribs from drying out AND keeps the grill cleaner. If you skip this step, you’ll miss out on mouth-watering BBQ ribs. Keep reading for extra juicy, tender, fall-off-the-bone BBQ Ribs!
Why do some grill masters have tender ribs while others have tough dried-out ribs? The secret is in the way they grill. To grill mouthwatering fall-off-the-bone ribs, you’ll want to take a few extra steps to ensure extra juicy and tender BBQ Ribs.
Tender BBQ Ribs Tip #4: Create a steamy and smoky “cooker” for your BBQ Ribs
Step 1: Add aluminum pans with a thin layer of hot water. Once you’ve got your coals going, add aluminum pans partially filled with water. You only need 1/2 inch deep pans to ensure moisture steams the grill cavity. Plus the pans capture drippings of BBQ sauce, rub, and fat from the pork, making for easier grill clean up. Place the pans on the grill before you place the grill grates back on the grill.
Step 2: Add the hickory chips. Place the previously water soaked hicory chips is a small cup of self-formed aluminum foil or you can use a hickory smoker to hold them. These chips will smoke throughout the grilling process which ensures a smokier flavor for your Smithfield Extra Tender St. Louis Ribs or your Smithfield Extra Tender Spare Ribs.
Step 3: Use the chimney. If your grill has a smoker chimney, open it slightly to ensure you can keep an eye on the smoke flow. When the smoke stops, use the grill tongs and your grill mitts to add more hickory chips to the chip holder. Use the front access door to prevent losing heat while cooking the ribs. Since the chip holder I used contained plenty of chips, I did not need to add additional hickory chips.
Step 4: Monitor the temperature. Use the front door access and add coals as needed. As I mentioned before, I added 5-7 coals every 45 minutes to an hour to ensure an even 225-250 degree slow and low cook temperature.
Now we’ve got a steamy, smokey cooker and sweet and salty ribs ready for cooking. Can you lay those ribs on the grill? Not just yet! Just one more thing. Keep reading for extra juicy, tender, fall-off-the-bone BBQ Ribs!
Alright, the grill is steamy and smokey and your grill is right around 250 degrees. You are very close laying the meat on the grill.
Tender BBQ Ribs Tip #5: Deflect the Heat and Slather on the Sauce
Step 1: Deflect the heat. Take a piece of aluminum foil as long as the ribs and fold it in half to be about the same width. Spray it with cooking oil to prevent the ribs from sticking. Lay the foil on the grill where you plan to lay the ribs. The foil will deflect the heat and help the heat to be distributed more evenly.
Step 2: Add the ribs. Place the Smithfield Extra Tender St. Louis Ribs or your Smithfield® Extra Tender Spare Ribs onto the foil bone side down. The ribs should be coated in KC Masterpiece® Sweet Honey BBQ Sauce Mix & Dry Rub. The rub will ensure a sweet and salty flavor to the ribs.
Step 3: Cook the ribs. Keep the grill running slow and low for 5 hours at 225 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, some folks like to “mop” their ribs for extra moisture by adding marinade throughout the cooking process. You can do that, but it’s harder to maintain the temperature when you have to keep opening up the grill. I relied on the aluminum pans for steam and the moist and tender meat of Smithfield® and did not mop the ribs. They still came out juicy and fall-off-the bone tender. The key to success was all the prep. Marinading the ribs overnight and ensuring a slow and low cook with great grill prep and heat deflection.
Step 4: Add the BBQ sauce. About 1/2 an hour before you end your cooking cycle, slather on the KC Masterpiece® Original BBQ Sauce. Cooking the sauce is what gives you that sweet, sticky caramelized meat and finger-licking good BBQ Ribs!
Want more inspiration?
Check out this fun grilling video from Moe Cason Grilling on Smithfield’s® Sweet and Spicy BBQ Ribs!
Where to find Smithfield® Extra Tender Ribs
You can find everything I’ve featured here at Walmart. I got the Smithfield® Extra Tender Ribs, Kingston® Charcoal, and KC Masterpiece® BBQ Sauce there.
How do you get your summer grill on?
Do you have any mouthwatering tips for tender, juicy ribs that I forgot to mention? Leave your recipe idea in the comments below for other HappyandBlessedHome.com readers. I’m always looking for new ideas and I love hearing from my readers.
I hope you enjoyed these 5 Tips for Fall-off-the-bone BBQ Ribs. If you try my tips please let me know – I’d love to hear from you. Thanks for being a fan!
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Originally Published June 22, 2016.