It’s not the same as charcoal. I have to confess that up front.
But when life gets in the way…like, say, forgetting that you have an appointment at 4PM and people coming over for a party at 6PM…you make do.
Gas grilled baby back ribs are easy, that’s for sure. Set your burners to hold the temp at 275°F, and you’re good until the gas runs out. (I have a natural gas line run to my grill – if the gas runs out, we’ve hit peak oil.)
I brined the ribs like a roast, adding garlic and two of the “song herbs” to the brine: sage and rosemary. Now, I know, I know: brining doesn’t work with flavors – they can’t penetrate into the meat. That’s OK. I’m using them to season the outside of the ribs, while the salt penetrates for thorough seasoning.
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and…I was out of thyme. Bwahahahah! Ahem. Sorry.
Three hours on the grill at indirect low heat (while I ran off to my appointment); another hour wrapped in foil to tenderize. The result: ribs that pull apart with a gentle tug, and a successful party.
Recipe: Gas Grilled Baby Back Ribs, Brined, With Garlic, Sage and Rosemary Rub
Gas Grilled Baby Back Ribs, Brined, With Garlic, Sage and Rosemary Rub
Prep Time: 4 hours (mostly unattended)
Cook Time: 4 hours
- 2 racks baby back ribs
- 1 quart water
- 3/4 cup fine sea salt (or 1 cup kosher salt, or 1/2 cup table salt)
- 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
- 6 Cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 bunch fresh sage leaves
- 1 sprig Rosemary
The rest of the brine
- 2 quarts ice water (2 quarts of ice, covered with water)
1. Brine the ribs
On the bone side of the ribs, work a butter knife between the membrane and the bone, then grab with a paper towel and pull the membrane off of the ribs. (If it tears while you’re pulling, work the knife under the remaining pieces and pull them off as well.) In a medium pot over medium heat, simmer the brine ingredients, stirring often, until the salt and sugar dissolve and you smell the garlic and herbs, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, measure out the 2 quarts of ice water, and transfer it to a container large enough to fit the ribs and the brine. Pour the hot brine into the ice water, stir, then add the ribs. Cover the container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably 4 to 8 hours.
2. Set the grill up for indirect low heat (275°F)
Set your grill up for indirect low heat, somewhere between 250°F to 300°F. I preheat my Weber Summit with all burners on high for 10 minutes, and then brush the grill grate clean. I leave burners #1 and #6 on medium, then off all burners between them.
3. Cook the ribs
Put the baby back ribs on the grate over indirect heat, as far away from the lit burners as you can get them. (I use a rib rack to make it easy to work with the ribs on the grill.) Close the lid and cook until the ribs are tender and the meat has pulled down 1/2 an inch from the end of the bones, about 3 hours. Wrap each rack of ribs in a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil, put them back in the grill, close the lid, and cook for another hour.
4. Rest and serve
Remove the ribs from the grill and let them rest for 10 minutes to cool down. Unwrap the foil, slice the between the ribs (if “a whole rack” isn’t your serving size), and serve.
- Charcoal grill? See Grill Smoked Baby Back Ribs, below, for instructions.
- If your grill is smaller than my massive Summit, you may have to work to keep the ribs over indirect heat. Cut the racks in half, and use a rib rack to stand them all up if you need extra space.
- You really want to smoke the ribs on a gas grill? OK, I won’t deny you. Soak a cup of wood chips for an hour, drain them, then put them in your smoker burner (or wrap them in a foil envelope, poke a couple of holes, and set the envelope under the grill grate, on the burner cover directly over a lit burner.)
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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