Grilling season calls for a good helping of ribs, and this Texas-style baby back ribs recipe doesn’t disappoint. Making use of fantastic BBQ rubs, beautiful sauce, and slow grilling, it’s a dish that should satisfy the cravings of any meat lover.
Aaah… ribs. A lot of BBQ masters often turn to elite cuts of meat like brisket to impress, but for me there’s no crowd-pleaser quite like ribs. If you like BBQ meat, then you like ribs.
This recipe matches the classic meat cut with one of the barbecue world’s best styles of grill prep. Coating the ribs in peppery and spicy rubs before then slow cooking it over indirect heat, the ribs are rich in flavor and ready to fall off the bone.
What is Texas style BBQ?
Texas barbecue actually broadly falls into four sub-styles, each coming from East, South, Central, and West Texas. The differences between them are actually quite significant,: East and Central Texan is focused on flow cooking, while West Texas is largely about exposing the meat to direct heat and mesquite wood for something short and sharp.
In the case of these ribs, our focus on rubs and indirect heat makes these much more faithful to Central Texas. In my experience, when people talk about Texas style, it’s usually used as a broad term for Central Texas… But I know I’m saying that at the risk of upsetting my friends in the East, West and South!
A lot of newcomers might think of BBQ as searing meat over high heat, but some of the best barbecue work is done over more modest temperatures, for several hours. These ribs are the perfect example of that.
If you want to inject a little added flavor to these, then you can either apply the rub the night before and leave in the refrigerator, or even apply a good rib marinade.
This recipe lays out a BBQ rub, but if you want a ready-made version then check out my guide to the best store-bought rib rubs.
Can I smoke ribs on a gas grill?
I’ve written this out to be done on a charcoal grill (my favorite method). However, it can be done on a gas grill, although it is sort of cheating. Simply follow the same steps I’ve put in my recipe for preparing the ribs. When it comes to setting up your grill, you can create a 2-zone cooking area by using your gas grill’s burner controls.
To learn how to do this, check out my guide how to smoke ribs on a gas grill.
Texas Style Baby Back Ribs
- 2 racks pork baby back ribs
- 4 tbsp Dijon mustard
BBQ Dry Rub
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 ½ tsp garlic pepper optional
- 1 ½ tsp lemon pepper
- 1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp seasoning salt
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ¼ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp thyme
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp grated orange rind
- Cover the ribs in a light coat of mustard. You can either cover all sides, or simply just the top meat side.
- Combine the rub ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle half a cup of the rub evenly over the ribs. Use your hands to rub the mix into the mustard. Wrap the ribs in aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator either overnight, or a couple of hours before cooking.
- Heat up your charcoal grill with the coals all at one end (otherwise known as 2-zone cooking, or indirect grilling). Aim to heat up your grill's ambient temperature to 225°F.
- Place the ribs (still in aluminum foil) on the grill side without hot coals underneath it. Cover the grill and leave the ribs to cook for 90 minutes.
- Remove the ribs from he grill and unwrap the foil. Apply the remaining rub mixture, and transfer the ribs back to the grill (don't re-wrap the ribs), over indirect heat again. Cover the grill and cook for 10 further minutes, turn the ribs over and then cook for 10 minutes more.
- Remove from grill, wrap in aluminum foil and leave to rest for 10-20 minutes.
- Unwrap foil and serve ribs with your choice of BBQ sauce and sides.