Indirect Grilling Introduction And Righteous Ribs

It’s mid-April and time to start getting ready for the upcoming spring/summer grill season. With better weather approaching, you should take the time to dust off the old grill and check on your supplies. Get out your grill and check to see how it survived the winter storage. Be sure to check all the moving parts, lid, wheels, grates, etc. for any problems before that first BBQ of the season.

Gather up all the grilling utensils and check for any issues or missing tools. Look to see how much charcoal is on hand as well as charcoal lighter fluid, wood chips, and the ever disappearing “clickers” needed to fire up the grill.

For the hardcore grill enthusiasts, this prep advice will be scoffed at since grilling season is a yearlong event. The veteran Grillmasters have enjoyed grilling throughout the year, for them, there is no off-season. Whether you’re a Grillmaster or a seasonal griller, being prepared is essential.

Indirect Grilling Made Easy

Once you’ve determined that you are ready to grill, it’s time to review a favorite grilling method called indirect grilling. This is a method of grilling everyone enjoys using when dealing with larger cuts of meat like roasts, ribs, pork shoulders, whole chickens or turkeys, to name a few. Indirect grilling works great when using wood chips to smoke your meat for extra flavor. There are some basic methods of indirect grilling that vary depending on the type of meat involved.

Two Zone Method

The two zone method uses charcoal briquettes on only one side of the grill. The other side of the grill is where you place the meat. This method works great when grilling a leg of lamb, hams, whole chickens, or roasts. Place about 25-30 briquettes on one side of your grill, then light them and wait for that “perfect grey.” Add a large handful of wood chips soaked in water to get the delicious smoked flavor using mesquite, apple, or hickory. Grilling time will vary on what you’re bringing to the table.

Three Zone Method

The three-zone method of indirect grilling involves placing charcoal briquettes on both sides of the grill leaving the center zone open. This method works great when grilling baby back ribs using the stacked formation. (rib recipe later) Place 20-25 briquettes on both sides of the grill and light them up.

Once the coals are ready, place the ribs stacked in a pile of two to three racks down the middle of the grill between the coals. Add wood chips soaked in water to both sides of the grill to get the great smoked flavor. Grilling time for the ribs will run 3-4 hours.

These are just two of the many ways to indirect grill. For these and several others check this out from Weber Grill.

Righteous Ribs

To make some delicious baby back ribs, follow these easy directions using 2-3 full slabs. To get great tasting ribs you’ll need:

  • Rib Rub
  • Honey
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Wood Chips (hickory or apple)
  • Charcoal
  • Your Grill

Rib Rub

Season to taste combining the following ingredients in a bowl and mix them all together:

  • Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Cajun Spice
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Brown Sugar

Rib Prep

Once your rub is ready, it’s time to prep the ribs. You will need to remove the membrane from the back side of the ribs. The easiest way is to take a knife and start prying up the membrane at the smallest end of the ribs. Once you have it started, take a paper towel and grab the membrane while pulling it toward the larger end of the ribs. It takes practice, but once you master it, you will have no problems getting it off in one piece.

After removing the membranes, place the ribs in a large foil pan. Next up take the rub mix and sprinkle it on both sides of the rack. Be sure to rub it in as you go along. Do the same with the other racks of ribs until they’re all seasoned. If you have any extra rub, save it until the ribs are going on the grill.

Grill Time

When the ribs are fully seasoned, light the grill using the three zone method as described earlier. When the charcoal on both sides of the grill is ready, replace the grate. Be sure to place the two handles over the coals to allow for wood chips later. Place one rack of ribs on the grill, and take the honey and drizzle it on the top of the ribs. Take any extra rub mix you have and sprinkle it onto the honey drizzled ribs. Do the same with the next 1-2 racks of ribs, drizzling honey and sprinkling the rub mix.

Next up is adding the wood chips that have been soaking in water to both sides of the grill. Gently drop a handful of chips through the two openings onto the coals and close the lid. Place the vent halfway open directly above one end of the ribs. You will see and smell delicious smoke rising out of the vent after a few minutes.

Let There Be Smoke

Allow the ribs to smoke for 45 minutes, then “shuffle the ribs” and add more chips. Do this every 45 minutes, shuffling the ribs to get an even smoke flavor. The ribs should cook for 3-4 hours so you may need to add additional coals to keep up the heat level. When you are on your last shuffle, take a sauce brush and brush on your favorite BBQ sauce on all sides of the ribs.

Let them cook for another 45 minutes then take them off and rest for 10-15 minutes. Racks can be cut into thirds, halves, or individual ribs depending on how many people are invited. Serve them with potato salad, baked beans, coleslaw, and of course your favorite adult beverage.

It doesn’t take long to master the two and three zone methods with indirect grilling. Give it a shot the next time you’ve got a craving for delicious BBQ baby back ribs. You will not be disappointed.


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