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Rotisserie BBQ Baby Back Ribs

I love the crisp, almost bacon-like flavor I get from rotisserie baby back ribs. I also love barbecued ribs, cooked low and slow, and glazed with barbecue sauce. I wanted to combine the two, but I had to be careful. Part of what makes barbecued ribs taste so good is sugar.

Sugar is a key ingredeint in both barbecue rubs and barbecue sauce, and it burns easily. I had to be careful with the high heat of the rotisserie. I want ribs that are sweet and glazed, not bitter and burned.

The rotisserie itself helps with this – the constant turning keeps the sugar from being exposed to direct heat, except in short blasts. To be on the safe side, I also cut back on the heat – I cooked the ribs at medium high insead of my usual high heat. I held back the sweet barbecue sauce until the very end, brushing it on the ribs for the last ten minutes of cooking. That way, the heat of the grill would turn the sauce into a glaze on the ribs, but it wouldn’t have enough time to start burning.

These tricks worked. I now have ribs with a crisp crust from the rotisserie, covered with layer of sweet, glazed barbecue sauce. Ahhh…pork heaven.

Recipe: Rotisserie BBQ Baby Back Ribs

Cook time: 90 minutes


  • Grill with Rotisserie attachment (I used a Weber kettle with the Rotisserie attachment; the kettle is here and the rotisserie attachment is here)
  • Aluminum foil drip pan (9″x11″, or whatever fits your grill)
  • 1 fist-sized chunk smoking wood (preferably hickory)


1. Prep the ribs: Remove the membrane on the bone side of the rib. Loosen it by running a butter knife between the membrane and one of the bones on the end of the rib, then pull it off. Sprinkle each side of the rack with 1 tsp kosher salt and 1 tsp of barbecue rub. Let rest at least one hour, and up to 48 hours (keep in the refrigerator if resting for over a couple of hours). Also, at least one hour before cooking, put the wood chunk in water to soak.

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 woven onto the skewer.

3. Prepare the grill: Prepare your rotisserie for cooking on indirect medium heat (see details here) and add the wood chunk to the coals. (Indirect Medium heat should be 325*F to 350*F). For my Weber kettle, I light a chimney starter* three quarters full of charcoal, wait for it to be covered with ash, then pour it in two equal piles on the sides of the grill.  I put the drip pan in the middle of the charcoal grate, between the piles of coals. Finally, I put the wood chunk on one of the piles.
*I highly recommend the Weber Chimney Starter, because it is larger than most chimney starters. It holds 5 quarts of charcoal, which exactly the right size for cooking this recipe.

Ready to cook – note that I had to use two chunks of
wood to get my “fist sized” piece.

4. Cook the ribs: Put the skewer of ribs on the rotisserie, and start it spinning. Cook with the lid closed for 1 hr 15 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes. (I had very meaty ribs, and I had to cook them for 1 hour and 45 minutes this time). After one hour of cooking, add 16 unlit coals to the grill, 8 to each pile of coals, to keep the temperature going for the second hour of cooking. The ribs are done when they are nicely browned, and the meat has pulled back from the bones on the end by about 1/2″.

The ribs are ready for glazing

5. Glaze the ribs: Brush the ribs with the barbecue sauce, and then cook, covered, for another ten minutes to glaze the ribs.

Brushing on the sauce

6. Serve: Remove the ribs from the spit and let rest for 15 minutes. Cut the ribs into serving size portions and serve, passing extra barbecue sauce at the table.

*Honey glazed ribs: Instead of the barbecue sauce, make a glaze of 1/2 cup honey and 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, mixed together.

*Don’t have a rotisserie?  Set your grill up for cooking on indirect medium-high heat, with a drip pan in the middle, just like I show above.  Then put the ribs on the grate, and flip them every half hour or so until they are cooked through.  Other than that, it’s the same recipe!

*You can cook 1 or 2 slabs of ribs at a time, depending on the size of your rotisserie skewer. On my kettle, I can just squeeze two slabs onto the skewer; on my big Weber Summit, I can fit three easily.

*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!

*Oh, and don’t do what I did this time – I forgot to put the first fork on my spit before I wove the ribs on, and I had to take them back off to get it on there.

What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:
Click here for my basic Rotisserie Baby Back Ribs recipe
Click here for my Rotisserie Beef Ribs recipe
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


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.


  1. OGJamie says

    Used the recipe – rub and sauce included – pretty much as directed and my kids loved the results. The word “heavenly” was used. Grilled it in a torrential downpour but still came out great. I’m a vegetarian so can’t provide my own testimony but kids love it and there is almost none left after two days.

  2. Rick Kelland says

    Trying your rub and sauce tonight.
    Ribs are rubbed,
    Used local maple syrup in the sauce.
    Recently built a rotisserie fire pit.
    A four footer, has about 60 lb capacity.
    Will try two racks of baby ribs using torrefied maple wood.
    Will share the results.
    Thanks for the idea.

    • Rick Kelland says

      Trying your rub and sauce tonight.
      Ribs are rubbed,
      Used local maple syrup in the sauce.
      Recently built a rotisserie fire pit.
      A four footer, has about 60 lb capacity.
      Will try two racks of baby ribs using torrefied maple wood.
      Will share the results.
      Thanks for the idea.

    • Rick says

      That works!!
      Though i may have cooked them a little too fast, they were supberb, this will be the way i cook ribs from now on.
      Thanks again,

  3. David says

    Mike tonight I am trying the Chinese Restaurant style baby back ribs. I saw it in your cookbook — is it on-line too? Is the reference to the rub a typo because there are no ingredients for a rub in the cookbook?

    Also, I reverse seared a 5 bone rib roast over the holidays and I was a Rotisserie hero! Thanks for the encouragement.


  4. Jacob53 says

    Mike.  What a great recipe.  I’ve made the ribs twice now – once with one rack and the second time with two racks.  Both times they came out perfectly.  So easy – and everybody loved them.  

    I can’t tell you how much I like your site.  Like you, I’m a dad who cooks dinner and I love my Weber.   When I look at your recipes I just feel “I want to make that tonight”.  It’s great to find someone who share’s my take on food.

    Keep up the good work.  My daughter says thank you for the Rotisserie Chicken.  The Best!


    • brian says

      I tried the ribolator but ended up returning the thing…the skewer is definitely the way to go. The ribolator is a lot of work; the set up and clean up is not worth it.

  5. Wind-tech says

    looks good but i use a rib-o-lator and they turn out perfect. i also cook chicken and veggies on it as well.

  6. South Carolina Rib Man says

    I’m going to try this tomorrow! Had one rack to many, so I set it back. Guess where it going! Thanks for a great blog!

  7. Shaun Michael Walker says

    I made the decision earlier this week to rotisserie ribs this weekend (rotisserie makes a great verb). I found this recipe and am excited to give it a try! Thanks for putting helpful links in (ie the video showing you how to remove the membrane – nobody likes membrane). I just completed my first rotisserie project a week or two ago – two 3 lb chickens with a chipotle rub. Do you ever experiment with chipotle? Thanks!

  8. hfsmm1 says

    I recently started cooking baby back ribs on the rotisserie and I love it. They cook quicker, evenly, and are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. I like cooking this way as compared to having the ribs sit in a rib rack. The only downside is not being able to fit more than one slab of ribs on the rotisserie at a time. Maybe I will buy another grill so I can do two at a time.

    • Arthurk99 says

      I do two slabs back to back on my rotisserie. I trap the ends in the rotisserie forks then I run skewers lengthwise on the slabs and tie it with cooking twine. Two for one!!

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