How would you like to have delicious, smoky and tasty ribs that were charcoal grilled on the table in less than an hour and a half? You definitely can, with this quick and easy four step process. Get everything together before you start:
- The rib racks
- Seasoning for the ribs
- Barbeque sauce for the ribs
- The grill with cooking rack
- Charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal
- A chimney starter
- Several sheets of newspaper
- A match or push button fire starter
- A rectangular or square metal drip roasting pan
- Long-sleeved grill gloves or mitts
Preparing the Charcoal
You will need a chimney starter, or charcoal chimney, to get your coals burning nice and hot. They eliminate the need for lighter fluid. Remove the cooking grate from your grill, then put the chimney on the bottom.
Put your charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal pieces in the top section of the chimney. Then roll up a few sheets of newspaper to put into the bottom of the chimney. Light the newspaper with a match or push-button fire starter.
Let burn for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the coals are gray and hot at the top.
While that is burning and heating up, you have plenty of time to prepare the ribs in step 2.
Prepare the Ribs and Seasonings
You want to make sure the membrane is removed from the ribs before placing them on the grill. This is a tough portion of the ribs that won’t cook well and shouldn’t be there while grilling. Slide a knife underneath it, then carefully lift and loosen the membrane until it tears. From there, you can simply grab the membrane with a paper towel and remove it. A bit of running water can remove the rest of it, if you need to do that.
With the ribs all set and ready, it’s time to put together your personal special seasoning mix or ‘rub’ to put on the ribs. This is usually made by combining salt, pepper, herbs, and other spices. You can find multiple recipes for this in grilling cookbooks, online, from friends and family, or put together your own spice blend. Generously coat the ribs with the spice mixture.
The final step before grilling the ribs is to cut the slab in half. Many rib racks won’t fit on a regular grill cooking grate. So, it is necessary to cut them down to size.
With the ribs seasoned and cut, set them aside until the grill is prepared.
Setting up the Indirect Heating
Now, it is time to add fuel to the grill and get the fire going. In this case, when cooking ribs quickly, you will want to create an indirect heat situation within your charcoal grill. Indirect cooking is for any type of meat or vegetable that takes longer than 20 minutes.
That means air will be vented up underneath the side of the bottom with the charcoal and mesquite woodchips, then travel over the ribs on the other side of the grill and finally out up through the top. This flow of hot air is what makes the ribs taste delicious – they become infused with the smoky flavors from the mesquite woodchips.
Wear long handled grill gloves or mitts. Pick up the charcoal chimney, then put a square or rectangular metal drip roasting pan in the bottom of the grill. Pour the flaming hot charcoals on either side of the drip roasting pan – use caution, since they are hot!
With the charcoal added, pour on some soaked mesquite woodchips. These will add an excellent wood smoked flavor to the ribs.
Put the cooking grate back on top of the charcoal and drip roasting pan. Then put the grill lid itself on to preheat the grill. The vents should be open on the top and the bottom.
Adding the Ribs
Brush the cooking grate down to eliminate any food particles. Then set your seasoned ribs right on the cooking grate and directly above the roasting pan. Close the lid and cook for 20 minutes. Don’t peek, because then air will escape.
After 20 minutes, lift the lid. Brush the ribs with the barbecue sauce flavor of your choice. Then close the lid and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
Open the lid. Remove the ribs to a separate plate, and then serve! It does take about an hour for the charcoal to cool down. You might need to replace some briquettes at the 20 minute mark.