Gas-Grilled Beef Back Ribs

Some eagle-eyed readers may recall that in my Memphis-style barbecue beef back ribs recipe from earlier this year, I only used half of the huge 16 lb. package of beef back ribs that US Wellness Meats sent me. I had been eyeballing the remaining two racks of ribs for a while and I decided to take a different approach to the ribs this time; the Memphis-style recipe was a lot of fun, but it also took a lot of work (and some specialized equipment) to get that perfect taste. This time around, I wanted to make something that was ridiculously easy and still produced some high-quality, juicy, and tender beef ribs.

So I turned to my dear old gas grill, and let the magic of indirect heat run its course.

You’ll Need:
2 racks US Wellness Meats beef back ribs (8 lbs)
1 tbsp black pepper
1/2 tbsp salt
1 tsp each ground mustard, paprika, cumin
1/2 tsp each curry powder, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon
1 cup barbecue sauce

Combine all the dry ingredients, then take a pretty picture of the dry rub to show your friends.

Sprinkle the dry rub over both sides of the ribs and let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

As the ribs are hanging out, take a large handful of mesquite wood chips and soak them in water for 30 minutes.

To get a good amount of smoke going, add the soaked chips to a smoker box and place the box under the grill grates on one side of the grill (directly under a burner). If you happen to leave your smoker box outside in the rain sometime, you’ll get a nice rusty color to it like mine! Preheat your grill for about 10 minutes, then leave only the burner under the smoke box running.

Place the ribs on the opposite end of the smoker box (the cool side of the grill) and cover. Adjust the burner’s intensity to get a grill temperature of as close to 265 degrees as possible. Grill the ribs using this indirect method for three hours, or until the rib’s internal temperature reaches 180 degrees.

After three hours, the ribs should look slightly crispy on the outside and most of the fat should have cooked off the meat.

Turn the burners up to medium heat and grill the ribs on direct heat for a couple minutes, to burn off the remaining fat. This should only take a few moments once the heat is going. Brush on some barbecue sauce and remove the ribs from the grill.

Slice the ribs into singles using some kitchen shears and enjoy!

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18 thoughts on “Gas-Grilled Beef Back Ribs

  1. I have been grilling beef ribs on a gas grill for MANY years. I have found that if you boil them first for NO MORE than a half hour and then put them on the grill (on the cool end) and set the temp. for Medium, they will finish cooking and be soft , juicy and VERY flavorful. Cook them for at least 3 hours and brush on BBQ sauce once every half hour. You can use any BBQ sauce of your choice, I use Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory & Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce and it gives the ribs a nice sweet/smokey flavor that you can’t get enough of. After cooking, remove from grill and let sit for 10-15 mins. before cutting apart then serve and enjoy.


  2. Just made them and they were great. Boiling is not needed as mentioned in other review, just a slow steady 250-275F does the trick. Doesn’t need any sauce either. Next time I’d cut the salt down or out but that is just personal preference. Thanks!


  3. Frankly, reading this and some of the comments is painful. Soaking wood chips is an exercise in futility. How much water do you think is absorbed? Hint: almost none.

    However, if you take a metal tray, put a healthy portion of smoking wood in it, and wrap it tightly with aluminum foil, you will get a smoke bomb. And after it’s all done, great hardwood charcoal!

    An opinion on smoking woods: Mesquite is the absolute worst of all the common ones. It imparts an almost bitter flavor; the only aficionados come from Texas. Well, hell, other that good oak in the hill country, what else do they have?

    Best smoking wood is very subjective. For me, apple and other fruit woods are at the top of the heap. Close behind, nut woods like hickory and oak. I’ve not tried citrus, although it is legendarily very good. And then there’s mangrove, the wood of generations of crackers for smoking fish. I’m soon to try, nice mangroves growing in my yard.


    1. Thanks for the feedback. I agree that mesquite is an inferior smoking wood, I’ve come to adjust my indirect smoking method over the years (this recipe is from a couple years ago). I use hickory and fruit woods now, with a combination of chunks and chips, with the chips placed in a tray filled halfway with the water – that way by the time the chunks burn up, the water has evaporated out of the chips and they will smoke afterwards. Both adjustments are reflected in my more recent recipes, like this one: and are in my cookbook.

      I’ve heard about smoke bombs but haven’t tried one yet.


      1. Thanks for your courteous response despite my rather scathing opinion! You are true gentleman, Russ!

        FYI, the smoke bomb tray has to be steel, thin aluminum burns through.

        I’ve pulled a lot of BBQ information from many places, but here is my guru: . “Meathead” not only has lots of experience, but many very scientific examinations on cooking processes from an scientist associate.

        Meathead’s Big Bad Beef Rub is perfect for beef ribs. While I’ve made my own pork rib rub based on Memphis style, I don’t think I could improve the beef version. My several friends and relatives that eat my BBQ consistently claim that no Q joint makes as good as Paul’s. And, “No sauce necessary.”

        The spices and herbs in a rub need oil to release flavors. One can wait until the meat fats eventually seep into the rub, or you can speed things up. I always rinse the ribs, pat dry, then brush on melted beef tallow or coconut oil. I do not use grain oils. None in my house. Then sprinkle the rub on.

        I put a smoke bomb over one half of my cheap gas grill. I use an old broiler tray under the meat so that the fat is captured and doesn’t bet down on the flames, meat and tray on the side of the grill away from the bomb. I use a digital oven thermometer, the probe laid across the meat, keep it at 200-225 degrees and cook until the meat readily leaves the bones.

        I’d be surprised if one can do better.


    1. Bryan, I think wrapping them in foil near the end, once they’ve developed a nice smoke ring, is a good idea. This recipe is fairly old, before I mastered the art of finishing ribs :) That being said, beef ribs have more heft to them than baby back ribs, so they’re a bit more forgiving!


  4. My first visit to your blog. Google brought me here because it’s also my first time making beef back ribs. Now that you know this post is still getting hits, and you fully admit your recipe is amateurish compared to how you prepare ribs now isn’t an update or new link in order? Do you think I should feel confident using this recipe and techniques? Thanks.


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