As the summer sun begins to rise in the sky, grilling season has begun. And sometime during that season… you might just have grilled baby back ribs on your mind.
Tender foil wrapped baby back ribs, juicy… and delicious.
Perfect for any sunny weekend.
I love to grill ribs in foil. It absolutely traps that juicy flavor. Even though it seems unorthodox to diehard grilling fans — it’s absolutely delicious! It cuts grilling time by more than half.
While debates brew among grill enthusiasts over which rub to use — Memphis or Kansas City Style — wet rubs or dry rubs — we’ve been happily making ribs with a dry rub for quite some time. While, honestly, they are both fantastically delicious, we prefer the dry rub when grilling with foil packets. We like the crust it develops and the enhanced flavors.
Here’s how we do it.
Grilled and Tender Foil Wrapped Baby Back Ribs
2 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup apple juice
2 racks baby back ribs, each 2½ to 3 pounds
Make the Rub. Mix together salt, sugar, paprika, oregano, garlic powder, dry mustard, cumin, cayenne thyme, onion powder and black pepper in a bowl. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the rub and set aside.
Remove the membrane from the back of each rack of ribs. I find it easiest to catch the membrane with a knife and pull it off with a paper towel. (See the video below on how to remove the membrane).
Rub the baby back ribs all over with the spice rub. Chill overnight.
Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F).
Basting Sauce: Whisk together 1 teaspoon salt, remaining spice rub, apple juice and 3/4 cup water in a bowl. This is your basting sauce. Set aside.
Using eight 18-by-24-inch sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil, double wrap each rib rack in its own packet.
Place the ribs on the grill over direct medium to low heat and cook for 1 hour, with the lid closed, occasionally turning the packets over for even cooking, making sure not to pierce the foil. If your ribs run on the small side — decrease cooking time and if they are extra meaty and large, increase by 5-10 minutes. You want a fork tender rib at the end of about an hour that is just pulling away from the bones.
Remove the packets from the grill and let rest for about 10 minutes. Carefully open the foil packets, remove the ribs, and discard the rendered fat and foil.
Baste the ribs with the basting sauce. Return the ribs to the grill, bone side down. Grill over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until they are sizzling and lightly charred, 10 to 12 minutes. Continue basting with the sauce several times. Remove from the grill and let rest for about 5 minutes. Cut into individual ribs and serve warm.