Mastering the Art of Grilling Ribs on a Gas Grill

For all the barbecue lovers out there, you may have wondered: “Can you achieve that mouthwatering flavor of BBQ ribs on a gas grill?” The answer is a resounding yes! In this article, we will show you the ropes of grilling ribs on a gas grill and unveil the secrets to achieving tender, juicy ribs that will have your taste buds dancing.

You may be a fan of charcoal grilling, cherishing the smoky essence it imparts to meats and the time spent tending to the fire. However, we understand that not everyone has a charcoal grill at their disposal. Fear not, as we are here to guide you through the process of barbecuing ribs on a gas grill.

Low and Slow: The Key to Perfectly Grilled Ribs

Regardless of whether you’re grilling baby back ribs or spare ribs, the principles of low and slow cooking remain the same. This slow cooking method ensures that the ribs become tender and succulent, ready to melt in your mouth.

two racks of spare ribs on a platter

Timing is Everything

On a gas grill, cooking ribs low and slow usually takes about 3.5 hours. However, keep in mind that the number of racks you’re grilling, your grill’s ability to maintain a steady temperature, and the meatiness of the ribs can slightly influence the overall cook time.

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half racks of pork ribs on a platter

Mastering the Temperature

When grilling ribs on a gas grill, you’ll need to pay attention to your grill’s temperature. You’ll start with a lower temperature of 255°F and then increase it to 285°F after wrapping the ribs. To ensure accuracy, we highly recommend using a reliable leave-in thermometer. The thermometer in your grill’s lid may not be as trustworthy, as it measures the temperature in the upper part of the lid, not where the food is cooking.

pork rib with a bite taken out of it

The Power of Wrapping

Wrapping the ribs is a crucial step in grilling BBQ pork ribs on a gas grill. Not only does it help maintain a beautiful color, but it also helps the ribs cook faster and breaks down the connective tissues, ensuring tenderness. You can choose between aluminum foil or butcher paper for wrapping, whichever you prefer.

ribs on tin foil before they are wrapped up

Infuse the Flavor with Smoke

While it’s true that a gas grill may not produce stick burner-style smoke, you can still impart incredible smoke flavor with some inexpensive accessories.

Wood Chips: You can use wood chips in a smoking tube or create a homemade aluminum foil packet. Contrary to popular belief, soaking wood chips in water does not make them smoke longer. To make a foil packet, fold a sheet of aluminum foil in half, place about 1 cup of wood chips on it, and fold up the edges to create a packet. Poke several holes in the top for the smoke to escape.

aluminum foil packet with smoke coming out of it from wood pellets

Pellets: If you have a pellet grill, you’re in luck! Pellets provide fantastic flavor and can be used in a homemade foil envelope or an inexpensive smoking tube.

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Whether you choose wood chips or pellets, simply place them over an active burner on your gas grill. Within minutes, the chips or pellets will start to produce smoke, infusing your ribs with that irresistible smoky aroma.

Setting Up Your Gas Grill for Smoking Pork Ribs

To smoke pork ribs on a gas grill, you’ll need to create two different zones of heat. Ideally, you should have at least two burners, although three is preferable. By lighting one burner and leaving the others off, you can create an oven-like environment with an added smoke element.

The ribs will be placed over the inactive burner, cooking through indirect heat. The wood chips or pellets will be placed over the direct heat of the active burner, generating smoke. This method allows the ribs to slowly come up to temperature, rendering fat and breaking down connective tissue without burning.

ribs with smoke on a gas grill

Tips for Grilling the Perfect BBQ Ribs on a Gas Grill

Here are some insider tips that will take your BBQ ribs on a gas grill to the next level:

  • The Wrap: To achieve tender, juicy ribs with an appetizing color, make sure to wrap them tightly with foil or butcher paper.
  • The Thermometer: Don’t rely on your grill’s thermometer. Invest in a reliable leave-in thermometer to accurately monitor the temperature at the grill grates.
  • The Smoke: Whether it’s wood chips or pellets, the key is to maintain clean smoke, which is almost transparent. You don’t need excessive smoke that makes you think something’s on fire.
  • The Moisture: Gas grills tend to create a dry cooking environment, so spritz your ribs every hour to keep them moist.
  • The Zones: Remember the importance of two-zone cooking for optimal results.
  • The Lid: Once you close the lid, resist the temptation to peek. Keeping the lid closed helps retain heat and smoke.
  • The Doneness: Aim for super tender and juicy ribs that are not falling off the bone but still allow you to take a bite without the meat falling apart.
  • The Plan: Before diving in with your ribs, do a test run with your grill and thermometer. Familiarize yourself with the gas knob positions and their corresponding temperatures in the indirect cooking zone.
  • Overall: This article focuses on the grilling technique itself, not on barbecue sauce, dry rub recipes, rib preparation, or membrane removal. For additional information on those aspects, we encourage you to read our comprehensive guide on making barbecue ribs.
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sliced pork ribs on a tray

How to BBQ Ribs on a Gas Grill: A Step-by-Step Guide

Now that we’ve covered the essentials, let’s dive into the process of grilling BBQ ribs on a gas grill. Follow these steps for mouthwatering ribs that will have everyone asking for seconds:

Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 3.5 Hours | Serves: 4


  • 2 racks of spare ribs
  • 1/4 cup Grillseeker BBQ Rub (or your favorite BBQ rub)
  • 3/4 cup favorite barbecue sauce (try our easy homemade sauce)
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

Step 1: Light one burner of your grill and place the pellets or wood chips over the active burner. Close the lid and allow the temperature to stabilize at 255°F, as indicated by a reliable leave-in thermometer.

Step 2: Place the seasoned ribs on the grill over indirect heat, bone side down. Close the lid and let them cook for 45 minutes without peeking.

pork ribs cooking on a gas grill

Step 3: While the ribs are cooking, mix the apple juice and vinegar in a spray bottle. After the initial 45 minutes, spritz the ribs for the first time. Work quickly and close the lid immediately. Spritz the ribs every 20 minutes until they have been on the grill for approximately two hours. The exact timing may vary slightly based on the color of the ribs. Look for bones peaking out as a good indicator.

pork ribs on a gas grill being spritzed

Step 4: Remove the ribs from the grill and adjust the heat to maintain 285°F. The ribs should have a beautiful color and a slight bend when held. While the grill is heating up, tightly wrap the ribs in aluminum foil or butcher paper. Before sealing the wrap, add a couple of tablespoons of the juice and vinegar mixture to tenderize the ribs.

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Tip: If you prefer sweeter ribs, consider adding butter, honey, and brown sugar to the wrapped ribs. This is a popular technique in the world of barbecue.

pork ribs being wrapped in tin foil

Step 5: Place the wrapped ribs back on the grill over indirect heat and close the lid. Allow the ribs to cook for one more hour.

Step 6: Remove the wrapped ribs from the grill and unwrap them. Return the unwrapped ribs to the grill over indirect heat. Glaze them with your favorite barbecue sauce, close the lid, and let the sauce set up and get tacky on the ribs for 20-30 minutes.

pork ribs on a gas grill having sauce applied to them

Step 7: Remove the ribs from the grill, slice, and serve.

sliced pork ribs on a baking sheet

With these easy-to-follow steps, you’ll become a BBQ rib master on your gas grill. So gather your family and friends, fire up the grill, and get ready to savor the most delicious ribs you’ve ever tasted.

For more mouthwatering recipes and grilling tips, visit Family Cuisine.

Article based on the original content from GrillSeeker.

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