Fire Up the Grill: Perfect Pork Ribs for Your Next Barbecue

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Grilling to Perfection: A Step-by-Step Guide to Barbecuing Pork Ribs

Summer is upon us, and there’s no better time to fire up the grill and prepare some juicy, succulent pork ribs. This age-old delight is a staple at any barbecue, and today we’re going to walk you through how to prepare, season, and cook the perfect pork ribs.

What You’ll Need

Before we delve into the process, here’s a quick rundown of what you’ll need:

  • A rack of pork ribs
  • A good-quality barbecue grill
  • Charcoal or propane, depending on your grill
  • Aluminum foil
  • A brush for applying the sauce
  • Ingredients for the rub and sauce (we’ll get into those in a bit)

Choosing the Right Ribs

Your first step to perfect pork ribs is choosing the right cut. Spare ribs and baby back ribs are the most common options. Spare ribs come from the belly side of the rib cage, below the section of back ribs and above the sternum. They’re flatter and have more bone than meat but plenty of fat, making them incredibly flavourful. Baby back ribs are shorter, curved, and meatier.

There are a number of great sources for getting ribs in Thunder Bay, George’s Market on River and Maltese on Algoma are two of the more premier places to round up your ribs.

Preparing the Ribs

After selecting your ribs, it’s time to prep them. Remove the membrane on the back of the ribs – this will make them more tender and allow the rub to penetrate deeper into the meat. Rinse the ribs under cold water and pat them dry with a paper towel.

Creating the Perfect Rub

The dry rub is a key component of flavorful ribs. Here’s a simple, delicious recipe:


  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Combine all ingredients in a bowl, making sure to break up any clumps. Apply the rub generously to both sides of the ribs, pressing it into the meat. Let the ribs sit for a while to absorb the flavors; this is a great time to preheat your grill.

Grilling the Ribs

Ribs need to be cooked low and slow. Set your grill for indirect grilling and aim for a temperature of about 275°F (135°C). Place the ribs bone side down on the grill, away from the heat. Cover the grill and let them cook for about 2-3 hours.

Saucing the Ribs

While the ribs are grilling, it’s time to prepare the sauce. Here’s a tangy, sweet barbecue sauce recipe:


  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder


Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Simmer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens.

During the last 30 minutes of grilling, start brushing the ribs with the sauce, reapplying every 10 minutes.

Serving the Ribs

Once the ribs reach an internal temperature of 190°F (88°C), they’re done. Remove them from the grill, cover them with foil, and let them rest for about 10-15 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.

After the resting period, slice the ribs between the bones and serve them with extra sauce on the side.

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