home cooked dinners by the season

4th of July Rubbed Barbecue Pork Back Ribs

4th of July Rubbed Barbecue Pork Back Ribs

I’m not sure how long you have to do something before it qualifies as a tradition, but this will be our fifth year barbecuing pork back ribs for our Fourth of July dinner, so its probably safe to say that it is for us.

Pork back ribs are my favorite for their flavor and the ease in eating. I should disqualify right here that for the best way to cook them you will have as many opinions and methods as people you ask. Everyone who loves ribs has their best way to do them.

Here is my way – simplified to the fewest ingredients necessary.

First, I make a rub with brown sugar, kosher salt and a few dried herbs. By rubbing it on the meaty side of the ribs and allowing them to sit in the refrigerator several hours, they absorb the rub and will be way more flavorful than if you were to just baste them with barbecue sauce.

Second, I grill the rub side of the ribs first to get a good sear and so that after I turn them over I can begin basting them with barbecue sauce. You want to avoid putting the barbecue sauce having contact with the grill directly as it will burn.

Finally, once you turn the ribs and start basting them, make sure to adjust the so the ribs have time to cook through without burning.

How many ribs per person? It depends on whom you are feeding. Teenage boys and grown men will most likely eat more than we girls even though I hate to gender type. I generally plan on a half to three fourths pound of ribs per person.

4th of July Rubbed Barbecue Pork Back Ribs
Serves: 4 (can easily be doubled)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 to 2-1/2 pounds pork loin back ribs
  • 1-2 cups favorite barbecue sauce (I like Cattleman’s or Stubb’s)
  1. Combine brown sugar, salt, paprika, chili powder, thyme, cumin, tarragon and black pepper; rub as much or as little as you like (I use half of the rub mixture and cover and save the rest for another time) on the meaty side of the ribs; refrigerate 2-4 hours.
  2. Heat barbecue over medium heat; put rubbed side of ribs down on barbecue; cook 15-20 minutes, making sure not to burn the ribs.
  3. Turn ribs and adjust heat to a lower temperature. Baste with barbecue sauce and cook until cooked through (internal temperature of meat is 150 degrees F when inserted in thickest part) basting several times during cooking and adjusting the heat to a lower temperature if the ribs begin to burn, about 20-25 minutes. Remove ribs from grill and allow resting 5-10 minutes before cutting into individual ribs.


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