Backyard BBQ Ribs


The most-read post on this blog is my recipe for making BBQ ribs in the oven, so it’s funny that I haven’t posted the original, smoked BBQ ribs recipe, until now. What can I say… better late than never!

How to make a smoking pit out of your backyard BBQ

The trick here is to create a steady temperature, smoke, and an offset heat source for a long period of time. You’ll need a BBQ that has adjustable air vents and a lid. If your grill has no internal thermometer, you can stick the end of a meat thermometer through one of the air vents and wire it in place to control the temperature.


  • 1 backyard BBQ equipped with a lid and adjustable air vents (a Weber will work fine)
  • 1 meat thermometer
  • aluminum foil
  • 3 cups wood chips
  • 1 disposable aluminum bread (plum-cake) pan
  • 1 bag of charcoal

Soak the wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes before smoking.

Fill the aluminum bread pan half-full of water and place it on the side of base of the grill farthest away from the air vents.

Ignite about 35 pieces charcoal on the other side of the grill.  When about half the charcoal has turned grey, and the other half is still black (about 15 minutes), adjust the air vents so they are only slightly open. You will need to regulate the vents (opening them wider for higher heat, or closing them slightly to lower the temperature) throughout the cooking process to maintain a constant of 235°F/115°C.

Lay the wood chips over the hot coals, and once you have regulated the temperature, place the grill on the BBQ. Lay the prepared meat (in this case, ribs) on the grill directly above the pan of water, not over the hot coals. Cover the BBQ immediately and follow the recipe’s instructions. If cooking for more than 2 hours, you will need to add about 12 charcoal briquettes per hour. You may also add a few more damp wood chips (soaked in water first) if you like a more pronounced smokey flavor.

BBQ RIBS (costine affumicate)

  • 1 recipe dry rub (recipe below)
  • 2 racks of pork ribs, about 3 lbs / 1.4 kg each
  • barbecue sauce (recipe here)

Trim any loose hanging ends, and remove the membrane from the bone side of the ribs.

Apply the BBQ Rub to the whole surface of the rack of ribs, thick enough to heavily coat the meat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature before cooking.

Grill method: Prepare the grill for indirect heat, according to the instructions above.  Place both rib racks, bone side down, on the grill directly over pan of water. Cover and cook for 3 – 3.5 hours, regulating the air vents to maintain a constant temperature of 105-115°C. To test for doneness, poke the meat between the ribs with a toothpick or sharp knife. It is ready when the utensil meets no resistance and slips easily into the meat. When they are very close to done, brush the ribs liberally with warm BBQ sauce and cook for 15 more minutes. Remove from oven and cut the ribs parallel to the bones. Serve with lots of napkins and no silverware.



A rub is a dry mixture of salt, spices and sometimes sugar, that are “rubbed” all over the meat before it’s cooked. This procedure is great for fatty cuts like pork ribs and brisket, since it adds flavor and crunch without adding extra grease. There are as many recipes for dry rubs as there are cattle in Texas, and all serious BBQ chefs have a favorite mixture. The following is an all-purpose rub, feel free to add or subtract flavors at will.

  • 2 large tablespoons of salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown (or cane) sugar
  • 4 tablespoons paprika dolce
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder or cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch of cumin

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Store in an airtight container.


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