How to Cook Ribs on a Charcoal Grill

If there’s one way to please a crowd at a barbeque then it’s when you bring out the plate holding the holy grail rack of ribs.

Tender, delicious and perfectly grilled. Your meat-loving guests will be in awe. Well, they would be if you cooked them how we do! 

We hear you asking how do we cook our ribs?

You’ve come to the right place as we are going to strip it back to show you the best prep of the meat and grill, the best cooking method and the best way to serve to impress! 

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Ribs have always been a social food for us. The ultimate sharing plate, which we love.

You can get a lot of quality meat from a rack of ribs but you must inspect the meat before you purchase.

You want to make sure you pick the juiciest rack. To do this, make sure to avoid any shiners - when the bones are showing through the meat! 

Once you have your chosen rack of ribs, it is time for preparation.


Before you start cooking your ribs, you want to ensure that two things are fully prepared.

First off, the ribs and secondly, your charcoal grill. We like to use a charcoal grill as it adds to the barbecue flavors and compliments your spice rub so well. 

Speaking of spice rub, let’s dive in! To get the ultimate taste from your ribs, you need to season them! We aren’t talking about some sea salt and black pepper either!

Seasoning ribs is a form of art to many pitmasters so it shouldn’t be taken lightly. A simple but effective rub that we love includes the following ingredients for a rack of eight ribs:

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup paprika
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

All you need to do is mix these ingredients all together in a bowl and put to the side until we are ready to season the ribs.

Before rubbing your spice mix onto your ribs, you’re going to want to heat your charcoal grill. First. Remove the grill grates and add in your charcoal and if you want a smokier flavor, you can also add in some wood chips too.

Then you can put the grates back onto your grill and light the fire. Keep your eyes on the grill for a while to ensure that the grill stays lit and aim to reach a temperature of around 275°F. If you’re struggling to reach this temperature, just add some more charcoal to your grill.

Now it is time to season your ribs! This step is probably the most important as this is where you add a lot of yummy flavors to your meat.

To get an even more tender texture to your meat, it’s a good idea to take a butter knife and slide it across the underneath of the membrane to remove it. Then, you can go to town on your ribs with your spice rub.

Don’t be shy and ensure that there is a generous coverage across the rack.

You now should have a fully seasoned rack of ribs accompanied with a charcoal grill at the perfect temperature. This means that you are ready for the next step.

Time to get grilling!


To get started on cooking your rack of ribs, you want to place them directly over the heat on your grill and cook for approximately two hours.

This may sound like a long time but in the grand scheme of things, they will be so worth the wait. Just because they have to cook for two hours, doesn’t mean that you just leave them there and walk away. Ribs need some tender loving care to become the most delicious they can be. 

We advise to rotate them every thirty minutes to expose new sides of your ribs to the flames. This ensures that the ribs are evenly cooked throughout.

When you get to the one and a half hour mark, remove the ribs from the grill and wrap them in foil. Then add them back onto the grill for the last thirty minutes. This seals in any tasty juices that the ribs may have produced. 

Once the two hours have passed you can remove the foil. If you would like a more chargrilled effect on your ribs, then place them back onto your grill for another fifteen to twenty minutes. 

Remember to keep adding more charcoal to your grill if the temperature drops. This is essential when cooking on a charcoal grill to get heat thoroughly through the meat.

Serving Suggestions

Once you are happy with your ribs, it’s time to plate up! Your guests will now be salivating at the sight and smell of your ribs. If they can’t wait, of course, go ahead and let them dig in!

However, we absolutely love to serve our ribs with a homemade slaw which adds a tang to the sweet barbeque taste the ribs bring to the table.

As we are so good to you, we are going to break down the easy recipe of the slaw for you.

Grab yourself a bowl and add in the following ingredients:

  • 1 ½ lb shredded green cabbage
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar
  • ⅔ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 2 medium carrots, grated
  • ¼ tsp salt

Grab a plate, place a couple of ribs down and serve yourself a hefty spoonful of homemade slaw.

Finish off by adding some of your favorite barbecue sauce on top of your perfectly grilled ribs. This dish is certain to please a crowd!

Ribs really are the social food. Families and friends can all gather around and enjoy a meal which has been made so thoughtfully by the pitmaster.

Whilst the pitmaster cooks the ribs, maybe get your family or friends to prepare the slaw to keep them busy. They are just the perfect combo and we hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

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