Fantastic Rib Recipes Turning You Into a Grill Master

If the thought of yet another backyard bash centered around ribs leaves you yawning, get ready for a surprise. We’ve rounded up seven recipes that utilize a number of different varieties of the bone-in meat and draw on flavors from all around the world. Whether you like your ribs spicy, sweet, or saucy, these dishes will wow both you and your friends.

1. Smoked Baby Back Ribs

baby back ribs

Baby back ribs | iStock.com

Any rib roundup needs at least one classic recipe for smoked baby backs. Steven Raichlin’s version from The Barbecue! Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, which he shared with Epicurious, gets maximum flavor by turning the grill into a smoker. All you have to do is a build a fire on one side, then toss in some soaked wood chips right as you add the meat to the other half of the grill. If you’re using charcoal, you’ll have to occasionally replenish your coals.

This dish includes a recipe for a mop to brush over the ribs as they cook. While it’s not necessary, it adds a nice vinegary tang that really highlights the pork flavor. Don’t worry about the lack of sauce with this recipe, because the ribs are flavorful and juicy enough to stand alone. Besides, most folks in Memphis are strictly against sauce.

Ingredients:

Ribs and rub

  • 3 racks baby back pork ribs or 2 racks pork spareribs
  • ¼ cup sweet paprika
  • 4½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 4½ teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons celery salt
  • 1½ teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1½ teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1½ cups hickory wood chips, soaked in water 1 hour, then drained

Mop

  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • ½ cup yellow mustard
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Directions: Remove thin, papery skin from backside of each rib rack by pulling it off with your fingers. Use a kitchen towel or a pair of pliers to get a firm grip, and remove in one sheet.

Combine paprika, black pepper, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon salt, celery salt, cayenne, garlic powder, mustard powder, and cumin in a small bowl, and mix to combine. Rub two-thirds of mixture over ribs on each side, and transfer to a roasting pan. Cover and let sit in refrigerator 4 to 8 hours.

Mix together vinegar, mustard, and salt for mop. Set aside.

Prepare grill for indirect grilling and set a large drip pan in the center. If using a gas grill, add drained wood chips to smoker box when preheating. If using charcoal, add chips directly to coals right before beginning. Set rack into place, and brush with oil. Arrange ribs on grate over the drip pan. Cover grill and smoke ribs for 1 hour.

Uncover grill, and brush with mop sauce. Re-cover grill, and continue to cook until ribs are tender and almost done, 15 to 30 minutes longer for baby back ribs, 30 minutes to 1 hour for spareribs. If using charcoal, add 10 to 12 fresh coals to each side after 1 hour. About 15 minutes before ribs are done, season with remaining rub.

Cut racks in half, and serve.

2. Cumin-and-Coriander Grilled Lamb Ribs

try one of these rib recipes at your barbecue

Lamb ribs | iStock.com

If you like lamb chops, you’ll love lamb ribs. Many recipes featuring the protein lean toward Middle Eastern flavors, which translate beautifully to a grilled rack of ribs. Make chef Tom Mylan’s recipe, featured on Food & Wine, for a feast that’s both different and delicious.

While tasty, lamb ribs aren’t as readily available as pork ones. Head to your butcher well in advance to talk about your options, because you may need to have them specially ordered. If you’re not that patient, this recipe will also taste great with baby backs.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 (2½- to 3-pound) racks of lamb ribs
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

Directions: In a bowl, combine salt, sugar, cumin, coriander, pepper, and cinnamon. Transfer 2 tablespoons of rub to a medium bowl. In a large, shallow baking dish, sprinkle remaining rub over ribs, massaging as you go. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Light a gas grill. Whisk vinegar and molasses into reserved rub.

Transfer ribs, meat-side down, to grill. Cook over medium-low heat, turning once, until lightly charred all over, 7 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Grill, turning and basting with sauce every 10 minutes, until meat is tender and charred, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Transfer ribs to a carving board. Let rest, covered with foil, for 10 minutes. Cut between bones, and serve.

3. Beef Ribs with Cabernet Sauce

barbecue beef ribs

Beef ribs with cabernet sauce | iStock.com

Turn an elegant steak supper into a backyard-friendly meal with these meaty ribs coated in a wine-spiked barbecue sauce from Weber’s Big Book of Grilling, which was featured on Weber Grills. Keep the steakhouse theme going by making a few side dish swaps. Opt for potato salad in place of a baked potato and a spinach salad instead of creamed spinach.

If you’ve never grilled whole beef ribs before, you’re in for a treat. The bones keep the meat incredibly moist and guarantee a rich flavor that most steaks can’t match. Shred any leftovers the next day to make a fantastic sandwich.

Ingredients:

Rub and ribs

  • 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (5-pound) rack beef back ribs

Sauce

  • 1½ cups barbecue sauce
  • 1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions: In a small bowl, combine marjoram, paprika, granulated garlic, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Trim ribs of excess fat, and cover evenly with rub. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate 8 to 12 hours.

Remove ribs from fridge, and let sit at room temperature 15 to 20 minutes. Prepare grill for direct and indirect cooking over medium heat, 350 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush grates, and set into place. Sear ribs over direct heat, keeping lid closed as much as possible, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes per side. Transfer to a disposable foil pan large enough to hold ribs in a single layer. You may have to cut the ribs into smaller sections to make them fit.

In a medium saucepan, whisk sauce and wine together. Bring to a boil, then pour over ribs, cover with foil, and tightly seal. Grill ribs over indirect heat, with lid closed, until ribs are extremely tender, about 1 hour and 45 minutes, turning once.

Remove ribs from pan and cut into one- or two-rib sections. Skim fat from sauce, and season with salt and pepper. Serve ribs with sauce on side.

4. Korean Barbecued Beef Short Ribs

Korean beef ribs

Korean barbecued beef short ribs | iStock.com

Korean food fanatics are probably familiar with this sweet and savory entrée, usually called kalbi or galbi, as it’s a staple at many restaurants. Give the dish a whirl in your kitchen with Judiaann Woo’s version, which she shared with Food Network. Instead of a standard rib rack, this recipe relies on cross-sections. The cut might look odd, but it allows for a much faster cooking time without making the ribs tough. Though they won’t spend long on the grill, you do need to start this recipe at least 4 hours ahead of time so the meat has enough time to soak up the flavors from the marinade.

Ingredients:

  • 5 pound Korean style, or flanken, beef short ribs
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup mirin
  • 1 small onion, peeled, and finely grated
  • 1 small Asian pear, peeled, and finely grated
  • 4 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced

Directions: Sprinkle brown sugar over beef, and coat evenly. Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together soy sauce, water, mirin, onion, pear, garlic, sesame oil, and black pepper to combine. Transfer beef to a zip-top bag and add marinade. Seal bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Turn bag to evenly coat meat, and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Drain excess marinade. Grill short rubs, turning once, until cooked to your desired doneness, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Serve whole or sliced into smaller sections, and garnish with green onions.

5. Thai-Style Baby Back Ribs

thai dipping sauce, garlic

Marinade | iStock.com

When you want ribs without the wait, this Thai-inspired dish from The New York Times is a great option. There’s no rub or marinade to prepare ahead of time. Simply season the baby backs with salt and pepper, grill, then toss in a bright dressing made with lime juice, ginger, fish sauce, lemon grass, and chiles.

While this recipe is great for busy days when you don’t have a lot of time to cook, it’s a great dish to include in a backyard bash. Since it’s such a speedy recipe, it can serve as an appetizer while your guests wait for the rest of the food to cook. For a nice presentation, serve the ribs on a platter with some mint and cilantro scattered over the top.

Ingredients:

  • 2 (1½- to 1¾-pound) racks of baby back ribs
  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons minced jalapeño or other chile
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh lemongrass

Directions: Preheat a grill to medium-low heat. If using a gas grill, turn all burners to high, cover, and wait 15 minutes, then turn burners to medium-low.

Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper. Grill directly over coals until no pink remains in center of ribs, 10 to 12 minutes.

Cut into individual ribs, and add to a large bowl. Add all remaining ingredients and toss. Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Serve.

6. Argentinian-Style Grilled Short Ribs with Chimichurri

chimichurri, herbs

Chimichurri | iStock.com

If you’ve never tried chimichurri before, these speedy short ribs from Serious Eats are a great introduction. It’s a bright, vibrant sauce that pairs wonderfully with the rich taste of beef. Just pulse together some herbs and garlic, whisk in olive oil, red wine vinegar, and chile flakes, and it’s ready to go. Any leftovers are great on tacos, sandwiches, or eggs.

Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds flanken-style short ribs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 batch chimichurri

Directions: Light one chimney full of charcoal. Once covered with ash, pour over one half of charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and let heat 5 minutes. If using a gas grill, heat half of burners to highest setting, and let heat 10 minutes. Clean and oil grates.

Season ribs generously with salt and pepper. Grill over direct heat, turning frequently until charred on all sides and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 125 degrees Fahrenheit, 8 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board, tent with foil, and rest for 5 minutes. Serve ribs with chimichurri.

7. Mexican Pork Spareribs

pork ribs, herbs, tomatoes

Mexican pork spareribs| iStock.com

Pork is a pretty standard ingredient in Mexican cuisine, but you don’t often see ribs. It’s a shame because smoked meat goes great with the cuisine’s staple ingredients like chiles, cilantro, and citrus. Saveur’s south-of-the-border recipe, contributed by Steven Raichlen, incorporates these Mexican flavors into a pretty typical rib method for a taste that you definitely won’t find at your local rib joint. A little bit of salsa is a great finishing touch.

Ingredients:

  • 2 (3-pound) racks St. Louis-style pork spareribs
  • 16 dried guajillo or ancho chiles, seeded
  • 1½ tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup white vinegar
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 16 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 6 cilantro sprigs
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 cups oak or mesquite wood chips, soaked 1 hour, then drained
  • Salsa

Directions: Place ribs in a roasting pan. Pour 4 cups hot water over chiles in a large bowl. Soak until softened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, reserving ½ cup soaking liquid. Purée chiles, reserved liquid, oregano, cinnamon, cloves, vinegar, orange juice, oil, garlic, cilantro, salt, and pepper in a blender until combined. Rub mixture over ribs. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Heat a grill to high, banking coals to one side on a charcoal grill or heating half of burners on a gas grill. Place soaked chips in smoke box or directly over coals. Grill ribs until slightly charred and tender, 1 to 1½ hours. If outside begins to burn before ribs are tender, move to cooler side of grill to cook. Rest ribs 20 minutes. Slice into individual ribs, and serve with salsa.

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