What Temperature to Cook Pork Ribs on Grill?

Grilling pork ribs in high temperature.

How High Should the Temperature of the Grill to Perfectly Cook Pork Ribs?

Seeing pork ribs on the dining table often brings out the little child in you. More often, you would let your facade and sophistication down while enjoying the flavorful meat of pork ribs. Pork ribs, of course, are a gooey type of food, and eating them could be messy. Yet, you will find it hard to resist them, and you will end up eating them with gusto, even if your shirts get dirtied.

The pork ribs, being a mouthwatering food, necessitate a lengthy cooking time. It requires a slow type of smoking or roasting that makes use of the 3-2-1 technique. The use of this technique would enable you to achieve a relatively consistent and tender result. 

This technique involves smoking or slow cooking the ribs for three hours over indirect heat. Then, after three hours, you wrap the pork ribs in foil along with some liquid. Then, you cook it again for two hours. Afterward, you remove the ribs from the foil and cook the ribs for another hour. During the last hour, you can sauce the ribs and sear them.

The Ideal Temperature for Basic Grilling

If you ask experts in grilling pork ribs, they will all concur with the idea that the recommended temperature to keep is 225°F. Of course, you need to maintain this temperature throughout the slow and lengthy cooking process. At this temperature, the cooking process may take five to six hours. You can keep the ribs’ internal temperature at a minimum of 190°F. 

Once you achieve this internal temperature, it doesn’t mean the ribs are ready. It may take more time to melt fats and break down the muscle fibers and connective tissues. So, sometimes, you need to up the temperature up to 205°F to cook the ribs thoroughly.

Phrase 1: The Start of Grilling the Ribs

At the onset, it will be best to preheat the grill to about 200°F. Then, put some oil on the grill. You can increase the grill’s preheating temperature to kickstart the burning of the wood. The suitable temperature at this point should be 375°F. 

Once the smoke emits from the smoke bombs, you can lower the temperature to 200°F before setting the pork ribs on the grill. It will also help if you position the rack of ribs in the right place. At this point, the ribs need indirect heat (medium). If you put them on direct heat, you may quickly dry the ribs. 

If you’re using two-burner grills, you can use one burner. Yet, whichever burner you use, you should place the smoke bombs over or close to the burner. Moreover, the smoke bombs should be under the cooking grate. Position the ribs at the opposite side of the working burner on the grate.

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When positioning the racks, let the bone side face downward the grill. Afterward, close the lid. Then, set the temperature to around 200°F. Let the rib cook for thirty minutes on each side. Close the lid to enable the grill to keep as much smoke as needed. 

However, you can never expect the grill to produce plenty of smoke, but the smoke it gets would be enough to achieve that appetizing smoky taste. After an hour, inspect the ribs to see if the sides are already brown. If not, you can position the ribs over direct medium heat and let them cook for ten to twenty minutes.

Phrase 2: Wrap the Ribs Using Foil

After an hour of cooking, the ribs will become brown on each side. At this point, you can steam the ribs using apple juice to tenderize them. You can likewise utilize other juices like orange juice or pineapple. Then, wrap the meat tightly in foil to keep the juice intact. 

Afterward, place the wrapped ribs onto the grill on the side where there is indirect heat. Close the lid again and increase the temperature to around 375°F. This temperature is enough to let the apple juice boil to tenderize the ribs. 

Keep the ribs in the grill for thirty minutes before you lower the heat. Then, you can unwrap the ribs and test if they are already tender and flexible. Hold the rack of ribs at one end and figure out if it is already flexible. 

If you notice that any sides have not entirely browned, you can wrap the ribs back inside the foil and allow them to grill for another ten to fifteen minutes using indirect heat at around 250°F to 265°F. Depending on the grill, you may take less or more time to brown all sides. Rotate the wrapped ribs and check the temperature, and fire every thirty minutes.

Phrase 3: Unwrapped to Complete the Cooking

After cooking the ribs inside the foil, you can unwrap to finish the cooking process. This cooking stage may take an hour to complete. Remove the ribs from the wrapping foil. Then, brush the ribs’ both sides with your favorite sauce. 

Afterward, you can put the ribs back onto the grill for another hour of grilling. You can increase the grill’s temperature to 275°F to complete the cooking process. 

Temperature Level for Fast Grilling Method

You may frown at the idea of cooking pork ribs for six hours because you lack the patience to do so. So, if you are a bit impatient, it will help to check this method which is a faster way to cook pork ribs. This method requires you to cook the ribs at 325°F. 

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Position the ribs on the very top rack and cook them unwrapped for 1-1/2 hours to 2 hours. After they develop a deep brown color, wrap them in butcher paper or foil. The use of butcher paper allows some steam to escape and prevent braising. Then, return the ribs back to the grill and cook for another 1-1/2 hours to 2 hours. 

Then, check for doneness. You can use the last 30 minutes for saucing the ribs and glazing them. After that given time had elapsed, take the ribs off the grills, and allow them to rest for fifteen minutes. 

Using this method, you can speed up the cooking process by at least two hours. Yet, this method opens you to more chances of drying out the ribs and overcooking them. So, you need to monitor the ribs during the cooking process diligently.

Differentiating Between “Ready” and “Done”

When smoking or grilling pork ribs, you should be able to differentiate between ready and done. Ready, of course, signifies that the meat has achieved an internal temperature of 145°F. At this point, the meat is already good to eat because it is cooked. Moreover, it is safe to eat at this point. Yet, it doesn’t mean that you will enjoy eating it or like it, for the meat is still tough. 

Done,” on the other hand, means that there are instances when the meat, during the cooking process, had reached an internal temperature of 190°F to 205°F. This temperature range will melt the collagens and fat that make the meat tough to eat. At this point, likewise, the ribs are already moist, delicious, and tender. 

The generally accepted temperature for the pork at the end of cooking should be 145°F. Nevertheless, this temperature is not enough to allow the fat and collagen to melt to render that perfect flavor and taste for the meat. 

The ideal bite only happens when the meat’s inside temperature has already reach 165°F. So, if the internal temperature of the ribs has already got around 165°F, let it cook until it reaches 195°F to 203°F. In this way, the meat will be done and will be delicious and mouthwatering to eat.

Simple Tips for Grilling Ribs with Poper Temperature

When you perfectly grilled ribs, they become moist and tender. Moreover, they do not fall off or detach from the bone easily. Besides, when you take a bite on the ribs, you won’t have a hard time biting off the meat. You can also pull off the meat from the bone using your fingers. 

Some meat also stays on the bone after taking a bite off it. If the ribs fall off, it also indicates that they have been steamed and boiled. It also means the ribs have been overcooked, which makes them look mushy and flavorless. If you’re new to grilling or smoking, you can check out the following simple tips:

  • If you’re a beginner in smoking or grilling, starting with baby back ribs will be best. These ribs are easy to cook and cook quickly. They are also tender and well-marbled. 
  • It will also help if you remove the membrane before cooking. The membrane or connective tissues are tough. They also prevent the smoke and rubs from penetrating the meat. 
  • Another tip to remember is that you should maintain a consistent temperature throughout the cooking process. Remember that constant temperature at the recommended level is essential to the proper cooking of the ribs. So, if you are smoking meat, you need to maintain the temperature somewhere between 225°F to 250°F. During the finishing hour, you should keep the temperature somewhere between 325°F to 350°F.  
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When it comes to grilling or smoking ribs, you will do well if you subscribe to the saying: “Nothing is achieved without sacrifice.” You need to be patient and sacrifice your time and effort to produce nicely cooked ribs. You also need to be a bit scientific, sans leaving everything to chances. When I say you need to be patient, you need to wait for hours to cook the ribs patiently. If you lack patience, you better steer away from smoking or grilling ribs.

On the other hand, when I say you need to be scientific, you need not leave anything to chance when it comes to monitoring and maintaining the temperature of the grill or the smoker. It will be best to get an air probe or a reliable thermometer to provide an accurate temperature reading. If you have enough patience and tend to be a bit scientific, you will go a long way when it comes to smoking and grilling pork ribs.

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