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How to Make Perfect Baby Back Ribs

Step by step instructions on how to make baby back ribs that are tender, fall off the bone good on the grill. The key things to remember are start with a dry rub, baste with a mop sauce while cooking and glaze with BBQ sauce until sticky and tender. 

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Bake time: 5 minutes
  • Level: Easy
  • Serves: 4


The Mop Sauce

  • 3 tbsp butter 
  • 1 cup apple cider 
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce 
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (I use Tabasco) 

The Dry Rub

  • 6 lbs baby back pork ribs 
  • (2 racks minimum) 
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt 
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar 
  • 2 tbsp black pepper 
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika 
  • 2 tsp onion powder 
  • 2 tsp garlic powder 
  • 2 tsp dry mustard 
  • 1 tsp ground celery salt 
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes 


  1. To make the rub: mix the salt, brown sugar, pepper, paprika, onion and garlic powders, dry mustard, celery salt and red pepper flakes in a small bowl and mix with a small whisk or your gloved fingers to break up any lumps. 
  2. Remove the thin, papery membrane from the back of each rack by inserting a knife under it. The best place to start is on one of the middle bones. Using a paper towel, or pliers to secure a grip and peel off and discard the membrane. 
  3. Wear latex gloves (optional) and sprinkle dry rub over both sides of the ribs, rubbing it onto the meat. Cover the ribs with plastic wrap and refrigerate them for 2 hours minimum or best overnight. 
  4. For the mop sauce melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the cider, soy sauce and hot sauce. Keep warm until ready to use. 

For the Grill: Set up the grill and preheat to medium (325° to 350°F). 

  1. Place the ribs, bone side down, in the center of the grate, cover the grill and cook the ribs for 45 minutes. 
  2. Brush with mop sauce, turn and brush again. Re-cover the grill and continue cooking the ribs 45 minutes to 1 hour longer until well browned and tender (feel free to mop every 15 minutes). At this point they should be tender enough to pull apart with your fingers after 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours total cook time. If you have the time and like it low and slow, set up the grill and preheat to 225°F and cook the ribs about 4 to 5 hours for baby backs or 5 to 6 hours for spare ribs. Brush with mop sauce mid-way through cooking. 
  3. Brush with your favorite BBQ sauce, or not, and grill the ribs until the BBQ sauce is browned and bubbling, a couple minutes per side. 
  4. Remove from the grill and let the ribs rest for a few minutes, then cut the ribs.


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