Rotisserie, Sunday dinner
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Rotisserie Baby Back Ribs


The following statement is going to be blasphemy to some of you. The best way to cook baby back ribs is on a rotisserie*.

It does wonders for giving you ribs that have a crispy crust on the outside, and tender, juicy meat on the inside. I like to think of it as pork candy. Mmmm.

You can commence stoning me for culinary heresy any time you’d like – as long as I get you to try these ribs first.***
*Yes, I’m doing a lot of rotisserie recipes. I’m finding that those recipes actually get me some readers through Google search**. But that’s not the reason for this recipe. It really does give you better baby back ribs than low and slow does.

**OK, you got me. I also get to play with my grill more. “The difference between a man and a boy is the cost of his toys.”

***I also love barbecued ribs, cooked low and slow. That is, when they’re spare ribs. I think baby backs come out better on the rotisserie – they’re a little too lean to cook low and slow; the higher heat on the rotisserie crisps them up before the meat dries out.

Recipe: Rotisserie Baby Back Ribs

Cook time: 60 minutes

Equipment:

  • Grill with Rotisserie attachment (I used a Weber Summit 650 with an infrared rotisserie burner. Here it is.)
  • Aluminum foil drip pan (9″x11″, or whatever fits your grill)

Ingredients:

  • 1 slab baby back ribs
  • 2 tsp kosher salt

Rub:

  • 1 tsp herbes de provence
  • 1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika (or sweet paprika)


Directions:
1. Prep the ribs: Remove the membrane on the bone side of the rib. Loosen it by running a butter knife between it and one of the bones on the end of the rib, then pull it off. Sprinkle each side of each rack with 1 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp of herbes de provence, and 1/2 tsp Spanish paprika. Let rest at least one hour, and up to 48 hours (keep in the refrigerator if resting for over a couple of hours).

2. Skewer the ribs:Every three bones, poke a hole in the middle of the meat (between the bones) with a paring knife. Then, weave the ribs onto the skewer through the holes.

Ribs on rotisserie spit

3. Prepare the grill: Set your grill up for rotisserie cooking at indirect medium heat. For my Weber Summit, this means turning the two outer burners (burners 1 and 6) to medium, and turning the infrared burner to medium. I want an internal grill temperature of 325*F to 350*F. Then I put my drip pan in the middle, over the unlit burners. (See here for more rotisserie setup details.)
*Note: If you have any sugar in your rub, you should set the grill up for medium-low heat, about 300*F.   Sugar will burn quickly under the high heat of the grill.

4. Cook the ribs: Put the skewer of ribs on the rotisserie, and start it spinning. Cook with the lid closed for about an hour and a half, depending on the heat of your rotisserie (mine took about an hour and 15 minutes). You’re done when the ribs are nicely browned, and the meat has pulled back from the bones on the end by 1/2″.

5. Serve: Remove the ribs from the spit, and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Cut the ribs into serving size portions (I cut between every second bone), and serve.

Variations:
*Memphis style dry ribs: Substitute barbecue rub for the herbes de provence and paprika, and reduce the heat to medium, and increase the cooking time to 1 to 1.5 hours.

*Wet ribs: Use the Memphis style variation, above, then: once ribs are cooked, brush them with your favorite barbecue sauce and cook for another five minutes, or until the sauce is starting to brown into a nice, sticky glaze. (Watch the ribs on this step – there’s a lot of sugar in barbecue sauce, and if your rotisserie is hot, you can go from glazed to burnt very quickly!) Remove from the rotisserie, brush with another coating of sauce, then let rest before cutting to serve
(Or, check out my Rotisserie BBQ Baby Back Ribs post)

*Provencal ribs: Skip the smoked paprika. After salting the ribs, rub them with about 1tsp of Dijon mustard. (You want a very thin coating of mustard on the ribs), then sprinkle on the herbes de provence.

Notes:
*You can cook 1 or 2 slabs of ribs at a time, depending on the size of your rotisserie skewer. In the pictures I only cooked one slab, because I was just feeding me and the kids. I can fit two easily on the big skewer for my Weber summit grill, and could probably squeeze three on if I tried.

*The weaving is the hard part; the thicker your skewer, the harder it is to fit it between the bones. But, really, it’s not THAT hard, and the results are worth it. Give it a try!

Questions? Comments?  Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:
Click here for my Rotisserie Spare Ribs with Dry Rub recipe.
Click here for my other rotisserie recipes.

Inspired by:
Steven Raichlen How To Grill


Check out my cookbook, Rotisserie Grilling.

Everything you could ask about the rotisserie,
plus 50 (mostly) new recipes to get you cooking.

It’s a Kindle e-book, so you can download it and start reading immediately!


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Filed under: Rotisserie, Sunday dinner

by

Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.

19 Comments

  1. Email question from reader colin:

    Just found your site and am excited to try the recipes.

    I have the Weber silver summit with four main burners, a rotisserie burner and a smoke box burner and want to start using the rotisserie. So for this recipe would I have burner 1 and 4 on along with the rotisserie burner? And what temp (high/med etc) would I have them on? Would I cook the ribs with the lid open or closed? Thanks for your help, I really like your site so far!

  2. MikeV’s response:

    You’ve got the right idea: Burners 1 and 4 on high, along with the rotisserie burner (also on high). Keep the lid closed while cooking.

    Also, when lighting the rotisserie burner, remember: keep the knob pushed in for 20-30 seconds, until you can see the whole infrared burner glowing red – it needs to get really hot to start pulling gas through the gas line. I didn’t know about the “keep the know pushed in” part when I first did the recipe, and the infrared burner wouldn’t stay on. It’s in the manual, but you have to read carefully to catch that part.

    Good luck!

    PS: Thank you, Colin, for helping me see where the recipes aren’t very clear. Because of this question, I’ve updated the recipe (and my other rotisserie recipes) to explain this better. In general, unless I say otherwise, cook with the outer burners and rotisserie burner on high, and keep the lid closed while cooking.

  3. Jeff Turner says

    What a great and helpful website! I just purchased a Weber Summit 470 with 4 burners, infrared rotisserie, smoker box and searing station. Great rig, but almost no info on how to use it. Your site fills that purpose.

    I first tried your rotisserie cornish hen recipe. Did two birds and they were WONDERFUL. Just attempted your rotisserie baby back recipe, but that was a disaster. Set the grill just as you advised, with only outside burners and infrared on high. Also had smoker on low.

    Ribs fit nicely over 9×12 drip pan and spun evenly. I avoided peeking until after 40 minutes and discovered the ribs were charred beyond edibility. The drippings were also charred.

    I did notice that the temperature in the box stayed above 600 which concerned me, but I believe that was true also for the cornish hens.

    Used a rub (no sauce) that contains some sugar, but all the ones I looked at do as well. I suspect I had a flare up in the drip pan, but not sure why.

    Could it be that the drip pan was too close to the side burners, or was there something(s) else that I likely did wrong?

    I would greatly appreciate your thoughts and help with this.

    Thanks, again, for your great website!

    Jeff Turner
    Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas

  4. @Jeff Turner:

    I’m sorry to hear about the flare up! I think you have the right potential culprits – sugar in the rub, or a flare up in the pan.

    When I do ribs with a rub that includes sugar, I cut the heat back a bit, to medium-high heat. But even then, unless you put a huge amount of rub on, it shouldn’t be so blackened that it’s inedible – burned rub gives you more of a “cajun blackened redfish” effect. 600*F is rather high for a rub with sugar in it – next time, I’d say try medium to medium-high.
    (Like I did in my Rotisserie BBQ Baby Back ribs recipe- check it out.)

    For charred beyond edibility, my money is on a fire in the pan. The outside burners on the 400 are much closer than on the 600, which puts them under the drip pan, I think. Maybe some dripping fat got a flame to jump from the burner into the pan, starting a grease fire. Next time, add a cup of water to the pan, or however much it takes to get a layer of water on the entire bottom of the pan. I think that will minimize flareups. Or, use the rotisserie pan potatoes recipe on this site – it helps soak up some of the fat and keep it from flaming up.

    Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

    Mike

  5. Jeff Turner says

    Thanks, Mike. Great suggestions. I’ll give them a try and report back.

    Jeff Turner
    Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas

  6. Hi Mike, I did some rotisserie babybacks last weekend for the first time. I bought a stainless steel rack from a restaurant supply store that fits in the drippings pan and cooked the potatoes on it so they get flavored but not soaked with grease. Also, I checked the ribs after 20 minutes and turned my Webber 310 down to medium for the remainder of the cooking time, 55 minutes and a 10 minute rest. I did a Texas style rub, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and brown sugar. The rub would have burned had I not reduced the heat. I slathered the ribs with sauce the last 10 minutes. They came out perfect, just like you said, crunchy outside, tender and moist inside.. It was Saturday evening at 6 pm when I got a hankering for ribs and by 8 pm we were eating. Thanks for the ribcicle shortcut.

  7. gourmetronik says

    I just got a brand new grill. Very modest but yet it has a rotisserie attachment and a rear propane rôtisserie burner. I stumbled upon your site (from Google Search 😉 )and used your technique to cook ribs (Memphis rub and finished with a blackberry preserve barbecue sauce), and they came out simply perfect! I used to steam the ribs first and then grill them, but I’m never gonna do that. Thanks for sharing and exprimenting so we don’t have to!

  8. South Carolina Rib Man says

    Will this work well on a 22″ Weber kettle? Split a chimney of coals between the two sides and spin till done.

  9. Jim Beletti says

    Mike – you inspired me to try these.  They were “good”, though not “great”.  I feel I can improve upon them with the right rub and the right grill heat.  I was at around 325 degrees, before I added the ribs.  I added them, then fired up the smoker box burner.  Kept it all at medium since the only rub I had, had brown sugar in it.  Temp rose to 385-400 and held the entire time.  I even turned off the smoker box burner after it stopped smoking.  Cooked for about 1 hour.  A bit too done on the outside maybe.  Inside was cooked and was hot, but fat/connective tissue you have been rendered better.  I’m thinking 15 minutes longer at a lower heat and a better rub.  Thanks.  My pics on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3575695041676.153436.1552091014&type=3

  10. Thanks, Jim. I think you have the right idea – keep the heat down and cook the ribs longer.

    I’ve updated my rotisserie ribs technique since I published this recipe; I lowered the heat to medium-high in my Rotisserie BBQ Ribs, and lowered it even more in my upcoming cookbook – I cook them at medium heat (325*F to 350*F) for about an hour and a half.

    Unfortunately, I never came back and updated this recipe – I’ll do that now; thank you for the reminder…

  11. Gourmetrotisserie says

    I am so pleased I found this page. I have not tried your method yet as I have a question first. What is the need of turning on the burners beneath the ribs? Infrared cooking from my understanding is all one would need. Infrared burners will maintain a proper temp 250 to max 350. This temp never registers on the thermometer in the lid as it does not heat the air around it.  I have been infrared rotissering for 8 years now and have never lit the burners below. Am I missing something?  Thanks!!

  12. On my grill, the infrared burner is not hot enough to hold a temp of 350*F all by itself, so I have to add in the extra burners to get enough heat. At least, I don’t think it will – I’m going to have to try it.

    Also, with ribs, I want a more even heat because of the long cooking time. The direct heat of the infrared burner set to high seems like it would burn the ribs before they cooked through. I check the ribs, and if they are getting too brown, I’ll turn off the infrared burner and let them finish cooking with the heat from the other burners.

    And…the heat from the infrared burner will heat the air inside the grill just like the other burners…It registers on my grill thermometer. It’s better at heating the grill than my other burners, according to my thermometer.

  13. Christine says

    Why do I need a drip pan? My grill is infrared and has a pan under the grill racks?

  14. If you have a built-in drip pan, you’re good to go. You do need something to catch all the pork fat that will drip out of the ribs, or you’ll have quite a grease fire the next time you light the grill. (He says, having learned from hard experience.)

  15. Bill Shoemaker says

    Great site Mike V!

    I’ve noticed that in your book you wet brine baby backs – but that seems to be the only place. All your other recipes seem to use more of a dry brine or sprinkle the rub in advance. Have you changed your thinking on dry vs wet brine with baby backs? One time I used wet brined baby backs, but didn’t have a rotisserie – just on the grill – indirect, as low as I could maintain. The ribs were certainly juicy but I never repeated the wet brine experiment.

    Judy Rogers wrote the book on salt and I almost always follow her advice. She wet brines pork and dry brines almost everything else. But an overnight with rub seems to flavor the pork and satisfy me. How about you? Most all ribs are wonderful so we are talking degrees of goodness but it’s always worth it to take your cooking up a notch. So I would value your opinion.

    Best,
    Bill

    • I am still a fan of wet brining baby backs – I just need to be organized ahead of time to do it. If I don’t have the time to brine, I go with the spice rub and salt directly on the ribs.

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