These Low and Slow Ribs are always worth waiting for! So grab a drink and some friends, because cooking these low and slow ribs is almost as fun as eating them!
Reading: Slow cook ribs on grill
Low and Slow Ribs
For this post, we’re going old school and cooking up some low and slow ribs. These are the kind of ribs you throw on the grill, hang out on the deck with friends and a drink, and eat when they are done. There’s no real specific time frame here, though you can plan on maybe 5-6 hours or so.
Honestly, low and slow is my favorite kind of cooking. This method takes a little practice to know when your ribs are done based on what you and your family likes, but practice makes perfect and the payoff is juicy, smoky, rib-loving goodness.
If you hate ribs that fall off the bone, this recipe will be your best friend. These low and slow beauties create that perfectly done bite through rib that traditionalists and competitors love to serve and eat. These ribs are also some of the juiciest of all of my rib methods. While slicing the ribs, juice covered my knife and cutting board. I had liquid rib love running down to my wrists by the time I finished cleaning the first bone.
Make sure to have some towels handy, these guys are gonna be messy and delicious!
Smoked No Wrap Ribs
Read more: Bone-In or Boneless Leg of Lamb
These ribs are cooked the entire time on the smoker unwrapped. This gives you insanely delicious and smoky ribs that simply scream BBQ. Since they’ll be in the smoke the entire time, make sure to give some thought to the wood you choose to pair with your pork.
I cooked the ribs in this post over indirect heat with apple wood pellets, but any other fruit wood or mild hardwood (hickory, oak, alder) will produce awesome results. Go for a wood smoke that will complement the pork and not overpower it.
Low and Slow BBQ Pork Ribs
Most of my rib recipes (like my popular 3-2-1 Smoked Ribs and Hot and Fast Ribs) are foiled with an apple cider and butter braising liquid to keep them moist and tender while cooking on the smoker.
This recipe skips the braising step, so you have to keep them moist another way. Steam and basting are the magical solution to this conundrum. Using a small saucepan heat apple cider and butter and then place it in the grill with the ribs. The steam from the liquid will keep the ribs from drying out.
Basting the ribs every 45 minutes to an hour will really help the smoke particles cling to the meat and form a beautiful red mahogany smoke ring. With these powers combined, you’ll end up with juicy, tender ribs every time.
How to Cook Ribs Low and Slow
Low and slow ribs are cooked exactly like the name suggests. You’re going to preheat your grill to a low temperature and cook them nice and slow until they’re done. Let’s chat about the process a little (and for a full, detailed recipe with ingredients and notes, scroll to the bottom of this post!
- Prep the ribs. Pat the ribs dry with a paper towel. Trim off any excess fat on the ribs and remove the membrane on the back of the ribs. Quick tip: Grab a dry paper towel and grip one side of the membrane with the paper towel. Pull to remove.
- Season. Grab a bottle of my Signature Sweet Rub (or make it yourself using my recipe for Best Sweet Rub), and go to town seasoning the ribs. Don’t be shy.
- Make the basting sauce. Melt butter and apple cider in a saucepan and place it on the smoker alongside the ribs.
- Smoke. Smoke the ribs for 1.5 hours without lifting the lid. After the hour and a half, brush the ribs liberally with the sauce every 45 minutes. Continue smoking for another 3.5-4.5 hours or until the ribs have reach your preferred doneness (see the paragraph below about doneness).
- Sauce. Sauce at the end or don’t, it’s up to you. The smoke flavor is going to shine through either way and my the rub is perfectly sweet and hot enough to carry the flavors on its own. I like to use my Everything BBQ Sauce with these ribs, but just about any sauce will taste awesome (especially those with a ketchup base).
- Enjoy. Allow the ribs to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.
How Long to Cook Ribs Low and Slow
The biggest conundrum when cooking ribs using this low and slow method is wondering how long they will take to cook. The beauty of this method is that the ribs are done when they’re done.
Each rack of ribs will cook differently, so no two racks will cook the exact same length of time. We can estimate that they’ll likely take anywhere from 5-6 hours (give or take an extra hour both ways). Before you enter into this recipe, make sure you are not under any super restrictive time limits for making these ribs. They’re done when they’re done.
Low and Slow Rib Doneness
But how do you know when the ribs are done? There are four different criteria to meet to determine doneness:
- Temperature. Ribs are done when they reach an internal temperature between 185 and 190 degrees F.
- Bend. Grab the slab with some tongs. If the ribs “bend” or droop a bit they’re done.
- Crack. When testing for the bend, if the surface of the ribs crack slightly, they’re ready for eating.
- Pull. These St. Louis ribs do not fall of the bone. They should, however, pull off the bone easily.
Once the ribs meet all 4 criteria, you can feel confident they are ready to remove from the heat and get into!
More Pork Ribs Recipes
Here at Hey Grill Hey we know a thing or two about ribs. Whether you’re grilling or smoking them, we’ve got a recipe for you. Check out the most popular pork ribs recipes below!
- Ribs on the Grill (Hot and Fast Ribs)
- Apple Jalapeno Smoked Ribs
- Smoked Pork Ribs
Low and Slow Rib Recipe
**This post was originally published in April 2015. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same.
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