BBQ Baby Back Ribs

Mastering babybacks is a right of passage for BBQ chefs. Here’s how I cook them.

(taken from an article I wrote for Crumbs Magazine)

You need:

  • Whole racks of Babyback ribs (1 rack per person)
  • Base BBQ Rub (recipe below) or your favourite commercial rub – choose one with high sugar and paprika quantity for ribs.
  • California Rancher Oaky & Smoky BBQ Sauce
  • Apple juice
  • Brown sugar & honey
  • Cherry, pecan or hickory woodchips


  • Take a blunt butter knife of the end of a spoon and gently start to tease away the membrane on the bone side of the ribs. Once you have loosened a corner, use a piece of kitchen roll, grab hold and pull the whole membrane away
  • Generously season with BBQ rub
  • Set your BBQ to cook indirectly at a low heat or your smoker to approx 120C. Add some wood chunks or chips to the coals of your smoker or in a little tin foil pouch (pierce a few holes) if using a charcoal or gas BBQ.
  • Place the ribs onto the grill meat side up and allow to cook slowly for around 90 mins.
  • Flip the ribs over and give them a further 60 mins.
  • Next lay out some thick tin foil and pile 2-3 racks on top. Sprinkle the meat side of each rack with with brown sugar and a drizzle of honey.
  • Fold the foil into an envelope and seal up, leaving one side open. Pour in approx 50ml of apple juice, or cider then seal the pack completely.
  • Return to the BBQ to cook for a further hour.
  • Remove from foil and increase the temperature of your cooker by about 30-40 degrees.
  • Cover each meat side of ribs with BBQ sauce and allow to caramelise on the grill for approx 10 mins.
  • Slice between each bone and serve with coleslaw


Here’s how to make a good base BBQ rub that will work well particularly on pork and chicken. Add more or less cayenne to adjust the heat. Scale down the paprika and sugar if using with beef or lamb.

  • 4 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon celery salt or garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chilli powder
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper or chipotle

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and store in an air tight container.


This article was written by Jon

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