The City Magazine Since 1975

Slow-Cooked Dry Ribs

September 2017
Rate This Recipe: 

3 racks baby back pork ribs or trimmed spare ribs, about 1 lb. each
1/4 cup dry rub (BlackJack Dry Rub preferred)
1/2 cup barbecue sauce (BlackJack BBQ Sauce preferred)


Heavy duty aluminum foil
10- x 12-inch aluminum pan
Rib rack that elevates ribs off the grill
Covered kettle grill
4-6 lbs. hardwood charcoal
Charcoal chimney
8 wood pieces approx. 3- x 3-inches (hickory, pecan, or apple), soaked in water overnight and drained


Prepare the ribs by pulling off the thin, silvery membrane on their underside. Run a knife between the membrane and each rib to remove as much of the film as possible.

Wash the ribs in cold water, pat dry, and lay them on a baking sheet, then sprinkle dry rub on each side. (For extra spicy ribs, rub the seasoning into the meat.) The ribs should sit at room temperature for one hour.

Light the charcoal in the chimney according to the manufacturer’s directions. The coals will be ready when they are covered in a gray ash. 

Once the coals are ready, place the aluminum pan in the center of the grill’s lower grate and fill it halfway with water. Distribute the hot charcoal evenly on two sides of the pan. Place two wood chunks on top of the charcoal on one side. Put the cooking grate in place. Initially, the heat inside the grill will hover around 275 to 300°F. Position the ribs on the rib rack and place it in the center of the cooking grate, above the aluminum pan with water. Put the lid on the grill with the top vents two-thirds of the way open, and cook for about three hours.

When the temperature falls to 250°F during the cooking period, add more charcoal, lighting it first in the chimney. You may also add more wood chunks. Remove the ribs from the grill when the meat around the bone ends has shrunken approximately 1/2-inch on each end.

After taking the ribs off the grill, brush them with barbecue sauce and wrap them in aluminum foil. Allow them to rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to an hour. Remove the ribs from the foil and cut them along the bone into individual servings.