Ribs (St. Louis or Baby Back)

I got this recipe from Robert, a friend that I used to work with. This recipe completely changed my notion of what good barbecue and good ribs are. I’ve never talked to anyone that did them like this. I hypothesize that every person has their own rib recipe, and that everyone is convinced their recipe is “the way” and that all others are imitations of their perfection.

I encourage anyone to give these a chance the next time they cook. There’s tremendous flavor in the rub and a great rack of ribs will really shine with some added pecan or cherry wood flavors.

Rub Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon coarse kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 6 Tablespoons of dark or light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper


Mix all the rub ingredients in a bowl really well. If you have a mortar and pestle that works great too so you can really break up the sugar and pepper into fine grains.

Remove the membrane from the ribs and any silver skin. Start the membrane in a corner of the rack to get a little edge up then grip it with a paper towel. The membrane will sometimes require a little help from the knife, but once you get the technique down they oftentimes come right off using the paper towel trick.

Add the rub to the ribs.

Get the grill going while the rub sits on the ribs at room temp. Bring it to 250 degrees F, indirect with the heat deflectors in place. Depending on the size of your grill, get your rib rack ready on the grates. If you’re using a gas grill instead of an egg or smoker, that’s usually one burner on low.

Put the ribs on and cook at 250 degrees F for 90 minutes.

Pull the ribs off the grill and place them on a double wrapped sheet of aluminum foil. Cover the tops and bottoms of the ribs with the Stubbs sauce. The original, spicy, Sweet Heat, and Spicy Sweet all work great. My personal preference is the Spicy Sweet. Wrap the ribs tightly in the foil once the sauce is slathered all over them. If you’re using the thinner version of foil, I would recommend double wrapping them because a puncture will leak sauce EVERYWHERE – on the grill, on you, on the floor, and on the counter… I know from experience.

Place the newly wrapped ribs back on the grill at 250 degrees F for one hour. If you’re using a smoker, you’re no longer getting any additional flavor from the smoke on the ribs since they are wrapped in the foil. I oftentimes fire up my gas grill for this second step so I can cook the side dishes or another batch of ribs on the Egg while the gas grill continues to cook the first batch.

After an hour, remove the ribs from the grill, unwrap them, and place them bone side down over direct medium heat at 350 – 450 degrees F. Cook them about 5 minutes per side, enough to lightly char the ribs and give them a nice crust.

Pull the ribs to your desired char and enjoy! They should look something like the following:

Ribs being cut and prepared for the feast

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