Tutorial - Smoking Ribs using Nat Gas/LP Grill [General]

2009 Aug 7
Hey everyone. I've been dabbling with smoking a lot this summer so I thought I'd put together a little tutorial on how to smoke low n' slow using a natural gas/LP grill. Cooking ribs slowly using indirect heat like this renders the fat down and yields fall-off-the-bone tender smokey goodness. Never again will you boil ribs (likely a cardinal sin punishable by death in the deep south).

Here's what you'll need...

Natural Gas/LP Grill
Rib Rack/Holder
Smoker Box
Wood Chips
Aluminum Pan
Silicon Gloves/Oven Mitts

Ribs (preferably Baby Backs, however this method works with any rib cut)
Dry Rub
BBQ Sauce

2009 Aug 7
Rib Rack

You can pick one of these up at Home Depot, Canadian Tire, or pretty much anywhere that has BBQ accessories. They're intended to hold the ribs up vertically to a) maximize space and b) promote even smoking. Most hold 4 racks. If you're into beef ribs try to find one that's high enough so it holds them firmly in place.

2009 Aug 7
Smoker Box

Your Smoker Box will be used to hold the wood chips. Most are made of cast iron or stainless steel. Again, you should be able to find one at any retail store with BBQ accessories.

Some people opt to use aluminum foil but I would advise against it because it leads to uneven smoke. You'll also find yourself replenishing it quite often as the wood chips will burn faster.

2009 Aug 7
Wood Chips

Here's where you can have some fun with the flavouring of your ribs. If it's your first time doing this I'd suggest a milder wood, something like Apple. I also like using a mix of Cherry/Oak. Mesquite works well with pork ribs but has a very strong flavour and can be overpowering for some.

You can find wood chips at Le Baron Le Baron or Canadian Tire.

2009 Aug 7
Prep Work - Removing Membrane

· First thing you'll want to do is remove the membrane from your ribs
· By removing the membrane you allow the rub to penetrate the underside of the ribs.
· Most importantly leaving the membrane *on* can result in chewy ribs - when cooked it turns hard and tough.

· The easiest way to remove the membrane is to start at one end of the rack and loosen a piece of the membrane with a knife.
· Once you have a piece loosened grab some paper towel or a cloth and hold onto the membrane - this allows you to get a tight grip on it.
· Peel the entire membrane off. If you're lucky it will come off in one shot!

· There are many video tutorials available on YouTube and other sites which show this procedure in greater detail.

2009 Aug 7
Prep Work - Cleaning Ribs

· After removing the membrane you'll want to clean up the ribs.
· Rinse under cool water and remove any excess blood or fat deposits.
· Once clean, firmly pat dry with a paper towel/cloth.

2009 Aug 7
Prep Work - Rub

Like the choice of wood chips this is where you can experiment. I use a basic savoury Memphis rub which works well if you want dry ribs (no BBQ sauce).

* 4 teaspoons paprika
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 2 teaspoons onion powder
* 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
* 1 teaspoons cayenne

· Apply your rub liberally on *both* sides of the ribs
· Let the rub sit for 30min-1hr until the rub is 'wet' and has soaked in. Some people like to wrap them up and let sit overnight.

2009 Aug 7
Prep Work - Soaking Chips

· Wood chips have to be soaked in order to smolder slowly and avoid burning up into ash.
· Soak the chips in hot water for at least 30-45min.
· Fill your Smoker Box with a mixture of soaked chips and dry chips for tinder - I usually do a 75/25 mix of wet:dry. This takes some playing around with depending on the size of the chips, how hot your grill is, etc.
· Don't fill the box too high or the chips will fail to ignite and smoke.

2009 Aug 7
Getting the Grill Ready

· Remove all warming racks, and the left grill plate.
· Place a pan underneath the right grill to catch fat drippings.
· Light your grill - you only want 1 burner ignited at all times. We are cooking with indirect heat.
· Place the smoker box directly over the flame, or as close as you can get it.
· Turn on high and wait for the chips to start smoldering.
· Once smoke is emitting from the Smoker Box, turn the temp down as low as you can get it (most gas grills can get down to ~250-275).

· You are now ready to commence smoking.

· Place your rubbed ribs on the rib rack (lol!) and place on the right side of the grill (opposite side of grill that is ignited).
· Close lid.

2009 Aug 7
Monitoring and Control

· Optimal temperature for low and slow ribs is 225. You will find this hard, if not impossible, to achieve on a gas/LP grill.
· The hardest part of cooking ribs this way is maintaining a constant low temperature, but keeping it hot enough to allow for the wood chips to ignite and smoke.
· I have found that 275 works well on my grill. Of course this will all depend on what type of smoker box you are using, the size of the wood chips, mixture of wet/dry chips, placement of your burner, etc. The lower, the slower, the better! Definitely takes a little playing around with.

· Try not to open the lid of the grill. Maintaining a constant temperature is key.
· Replenish wood chips often - you do not want them burning up and turning into ash. Replenishing can be anywhere from 1hr-2hrs again depending on what type of chips you use and the mixture of wet:dry.
· Ensure you use a silicon glove/heavy duty oven mitt when handling the smoker box (unless you have some crazy "chef hands"). Dispose of the old chips in a metal pail (they will still be smoldering) and replenish with a new mixture of wet/dry.

· Ensure you rotate your rib rack halfway through to allow for even cooking/smoking.

· The whole process can take anywhere from 4hrs-6hrs+
· Ribs are done when the meat is pulling back from the bone and internal temp is ~160.

· Sauce/baste during the last 30 minutes. I prefer to remove the ribs from the rib rack in order to do this.

2009 Aug 7
Hope this helps! Feel free to add any comments/suggestions/questions or anything I may have missed.

2009 Aug 7
Great tutorial, and great pictures. Does your rack not hold the ribs upright? Or were you not using a rack?

2009 Aug 7
yes the Rib Rack holds them upright, i just didn't take a photo of it.

i like to finish them off flat on the grill - it's easier to sauce/baste.

2009 Aug 7
I'm going to second the technique of using a cloth or paper towel to grab hold of the membrane on the inside cut of the rib, I found this to be most frustrating before discovering the 'cloth method'.

Monty - did you do something different with the rack of ribs farthest away from the camera in the last photo? It looks like just dry rub - no mopping sauce & resulting caramelized bark.

2009 Aug 7
no sauce - just rub + smoke

2009 Aug 7
Monty - I hate you. I'm still counting down the days until I'm able to BBQ... apartment living sucks!

And where is Fresh Foodie? He needs to give us more detailed review on the Big Green Egg he received, I need to know if it's worth the money or not.

2009 Aug 7
chim: until then enjoy your liquid smoke...sucker!

agreed FF needs to post a detailed review of the Egg. get the man a video camera and do it ala zymurgist :P

2009 Aug 7
Nice rack monty!

And well done, too!

2009 Aug 9
Excellent write-up, I do mine in the same manner but have opted for foil pouches rather than a smoker box since it's cheap and I find it efficient.
I've never used a rib rack but I may have to look into that if ever I have a large quantity to smoke.

Good job, I want ribs now.

2009 Aug 10
Nice work, Monty!

Chimi, the Egg is totally worth it if you love BBQ! Seeing the cute little thing with smoke streaming from its cap makes me happy in a way I never expected. :-)

BTW my connectivity is a wee sporadic for the next week as I explore New England with the family. In Portsmouth, New Hampshire right now. High restaurant prices suggest that this may not be much of a foodie trip!

2009 Aug 10
FF - Cool. I might be receiving one as a gift as well! One thing I'm curious/skeptical about - the use of the BGE in the wintertime, will the heat/cold extremes cause severe wear & tear... something I should probably scour a few other BBQ forums for...

2009 Aug 10
Chimichimi - I have been using my BGE for over 4 years now - I will dig out a picture that I took a few years back and posted on the BGE Users group web page. The picture had me holding a Thermometer showing -20C and beside the BGE sitting doing Beer Can Chicken at a steady 300. The only problem is shovelling out the BGE to get to it! I have used it all winter to do ribs/steaks and even did a 15lb Turkey. I loved it as did most of the guests but my wife likes it done the old fashion way !! Here is a link to a good BGE reciept:

Other good receipts:


Here is the BGE Forum:


Advanatge with winter cooking - less beer consumed by standing around the BGE

Quick Note: Most stores or BBQ shops will begin to put way the lump coal for winter space- ie Canadain Tire for example -if there is any left they put in the back until the spring. So stock up by mid Septemebr. Usually they drop the prices on the bags so they do not have to store them. So boys - stock up !!! Once you start using the BGE - you will never use gas again. Man, I sould like a spokemen for the company!!! I wonder if they pay commission



2009 Aug 10
JDK - Thanks for the info! I am no longer a skeptic! Very helpful!

2009 Aug 10
Not a problem - enjoy and try new things. If you do get one - make sure you purchase the baking stone. It acts as a baking board for wood oven pizza and reverse, with the grill on top - provides for indirect cooking. Here is a good BBQ web page for anyone who BBQ or grills

Happy BBQing - off to do some rib steaks !!



2009 Aug 11
Orleansfoodie: using an aluminum foil pouch works, no doubt. the first time i did this i just wrapped some chips in foil and poked a few holes in it. what i found with the smoker box though is it provided a more constant, even smoke and it didn't need to be replenished as often. plus it saves a ton of foil. you can find the boxes < $10 around Ottawa and even cheaper online. certainly a worthwhile investment!

for anyone looking to get a BGE style smoker/grill on the cheap - here's a Kamado i found locally on Kijiji


or if you're really serious check this out haha :P


2009 Aug 11
Great pics - glad I'm not the only one trying to figure out the right temp/smoke temperature consistency. One tip I did find on the web for not needing to replenish chips (and opening your bbq and loosing your heat/steam/smoke) is to make a smoke bomb. I use a tin foil loaf pan, fill with wet chips + water. Around the 2-3 hour mark the water is evaporated and the chips smoke up nicely.

The one other thing I'd add is too put a pan under the ribs. Fill the pan with very hot water before beginning the smoking. This keeps everything most, and the hot water make sure your temp doesn't come down too much.

2009 Aug 11
Monty - Excellent tutorial... nice job bud.

I have been thinking about doing this for some time now, I have a good book (which actually was quite similar in info to this) BUT the big advantage is knowing someone I know has tried it at home successfully. If we can get a weekend with 2 good days weather, I might just try this.

2009 Aug 12
Chimichimi - here is a link posted on the BGE forum that a friend took cooking in the winter with his BGE. Just thought I'd share it with everyone




2009 Aug 12
sourdough: good call on the liquid in the pan. i did forget to mention in the write up that i put water in mine just to add a little moisture. apple juice works as well.

f&t: it takes some practice. it's the little things that make the difference - removing membrane, constant low temperature, etc. the best thing is even if you make a mistake the ribs will still be better than any restaurant in Ottawa.

2009 Aug 12
monty/sourdough - instead of water, try Apple Juice - its adds moisture and a hint of sweetness to the meat. Even better if you use Apple wood chips. I have some very good luck using the two. Thats probaly why I need to lose 15 lbs


2009 Aug 12
monty, ribs look spot on!
gr8 job

2009 Aug 12
One thing to add would be a mop sauce. Start mopping after the first 30 minutes. This will ad another dimension to the ribs.

2 cups distilled white vinegar
half cup water
half cup dijon mustard
tablespoon of salt

2009 Aug 12
JDK: i've used it before in place of water. does add a little sweetness along with apple chips. complements pork quite nicely! i have read that some bbq purists aren't big on the whole pan w/ water or juice though - supposedly it inhibits the creation of bark.

obi: thanks! you're on Sparks right? i still have no idea where you cook, but if you ever run a special on ribs (kalbi short ribs?!) let me know ;P

Ken V: mops are one thing i've never experimented with. thanks for the tip. i'm just getting into smoking this summer but i'm friggin hooked. you have a Bradley, right? i'm thinking about picking one up. it's a cheaper alternative to something like a Traeger. plus the people on the Bradley forum seem pretty passionate about it. any feedback you have would be much appreciated!

2009 Aug 12
monty - smokin food is addictive for sure. Next time beer can chicken with your smokin method at about 300. It should try out just right. One bad side - you have to empty 1/2 of each beer can into a glass for consumption ;-)

And probably the best BBQ sauce I have had anywhere in the world is from Rudy's in Texas. Nice and with a little spice. I order a case every year for myself and family/friends for gifts. They do ship to Canada. BBQ BABY !!!




2009 Aug 12
Monty- Check this site out if you haven't already. I have two of his books and they are pretty good. Great tips and recipes. www.bbqu.net/
My next purchase is going to be a charcoal grill. Gas is quick and easy but I miss that charcoal flavor. My Bradley is great ribs are so easy the hardest part is chosing what cut. I'm trying to find Bison ribs that haven't been frozen.

2009 Aug 13
Ken V wrote

"Monty- Check this site out if you haven't already. I have two of his books and they are pretty good."

Man I love his show on PBS. It's on just before Nova on Tuesdays
Even after having supper he's got me drooling like Homer.
So bad I have to change the channel.

2009 Aug 13
Monty - As you are becoming quite the BBQ aficionado, and are probably doing this quite a bit, I thought you might appreciate some great basics from the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Cookbook... they are in BIG portions, but I'm guessing you'll make your way thru them. "D@mn Right".


1/2 Cup Paprika
1/2 Cup Kosher Salt
1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Granulated Garlic
6 Tablespoons Granulated Onion
1/4 Cup Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

DUMP - All the Ingredients into a bowl and rub them together with your hands.
STORE - In a plastic or glass container til ready to use.
MAKES - 2-3/4 Cups


1 Cup White Vinegar
1/2 Cup Water
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Red Rub (see above)
Tabasco Sauce

THROW - Everything together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cool, pour into a plastic container, cover, and refrigerate for later use.
MAKES - 1-3/4 Cups

=== === ===

As whether one should mop or not, the folks at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que say:

"To mop or not to mop, that is the question. There seem to be two schools of thought about moppin' ribs while they're cookin'. Personally, I think that if the ribs look dry and thirsty you should mop 'em. Mop sauce should never contain sugars that would burn before the ribs are cooked through. A good mop sauce is based on the spicy flavors of the rub."

According to the "Rib Pit Boss Tips" (the Guide to Perfect Ribs) in the Book after your ribs are done, then you have a choice of either "finishing" them by two methods, either glazing them or caramelizing them... this is the point that you brush them with BBQ Sauce. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que recommends their famous Mutha Sauce or Hot Mutha Sauce for this purpose.

2009 Aug 13
Why can't we have a place like Dinosaur Bar-B-Q? The portions there are filling. There are no real BBQ places in Ottawa that are any good. Funny how people think good ribs fall off the bone. A good rib has some substance it doesn't just fall off the bone. Thats a tell tale sign it's been boiled a cardinal sin an any BBQers book. Going to smoke a Boston butt of pork in the smoker Saturday not sure if I should do pulled or jerk pork.

2009 Aug 13
Ken/Frank: agreed, Steven Raichlen is a bbq god! that rib rack/holder photo i posted earlier is actually from his branded line of grilling accessories.

F&T: great stuff! thanks!


did another batch today for a little get-together. here's a pic about 1/2 way through.

2009 Aug 13
OK gang - lets talk ribs ...BEEF RIBS.. remember that scene with Fred Flintsone orders a rack of ribs and the car tips over with the bronto ribs. This is one of my favorite Texas rib places and the best BEEF RIBS in the world. I saw the best bumper sticker in Texas: "Salad is what FOOD EATS"..and that speaks about Texas. The video is about 7 minutes long but after ..."Where do I find BEEF RIBS!!!"


I have tried doing Beef ribs at home, but this place smokes them for 18 hours. The all you can eat menu last about an order and 1/2.. and you are done!

Another example of great BBQ !!

Happy BBQing


2009 Aug 14
Have to agree JDK. I had beef ribs in San Antonio just like the Flintstones. I'll be heading to Brownsvill this winter I'll check out more Texan cuisine. The only salad I will eat now is ones without green leafy in it. Steve has an amazing cucumber salad that is great.

2009 Aug 14
Yum, San Antonio BBQ. They are big on the grilled beef & beef BBQ. Brisket and ribs there were monumental, it's too bad I forget the place I dined at (was just off the canal system), dirty cheap beer, massive ribs and amazing corn bread. Mexican food (especially breakfast) & BBQ (in general) were fairly mindblowing in both San Antonio & Austin.

2009 Aug 14
Gotta luv those Texas size ribs !!

2009 Aug 14
I am by no means a beef ribs expert, but I have had luck with the following very basic "hot-smoke" or "smoke-roast" technique on my charcoal kettle BBQ.

I start a med-sized charcoal fire on one side of the kettle. Let it get hot, until the charcoal is all white. Than add a few more handfuls of charcoal and put the grate down.

Prepare the beef ribs (individually cut btw bone, I think this is standard) and rub them with salt, pepper and good quality spanish paprika…I tend to keep it super simple. Pile them up on the opposite side of the kettle (such that they are receiving minimal direct heat), ideally they should not touch to ensure crisp smokiness on all sides. Then put the lid down and let it go for about an hour before the first status check.

To keep the “smoking” going as long as possible, I do what it otherwise generally bad business for long-cooked items…I check it a lot, about every half hour. This lets a lot of heat escape and extends the time the ribs can stay in the BBQ without overcooking. A good rule of thumb is every time you open the lid, add 15-20 min to your cooking time. With charcoal, your energy available for cooking is constantly decreasing, so you can stretch out the process for quite a while this way, about 4 hours. I tend to wrap the ribs in tinfoil for about the last half an hour once the heat is noticibly starting to drop on the BBQ. If you want to pull the meat off the bone when you eat them, you could skip this step.

The results are pretty darn good. I get a legit pink smoke ring about ¼ - ½ inch thick, and the meat is perfectly tender and smoky tasting without tasting like fire. It’s not 18 hour low-heat smoking, but it certainly does the trick with limited equipment.

2009 Aug 14
Thanks for the tips Tracinho. I will give it a try with my BGE and post the results and pictures. A good place to get Beef Ribs in Ottawa is at the Butchery in Bells Corners. They usually have them in stock but if you order them a day ahead, you should be ok, They also cook Beef Ribs and all you have to do is reheat them - ok, but mothing better then making yor own.

Beer Can Chicken tonight for family and friends !!

Have a good weekend !


2009 Aug 18

Here is a list of the BBQ joints around the canal area - thought that your spot might be in the listing. Schedule to go back to Texas soon. I'll be sure to stop at a few of these joints and make a report