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A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.
Annabelle is an experienced food writer and editor. She focuses on common sense, easy to replicate recipes formulated to help keep things fresh and exciting while fitting into her day to day life as a wife and mother.
Outdoor grilling is a favorite pastime for Americans year-round. Using a propane grill to cook fall off the rack ribs allows you to prepare a delicious meal faster than cooking them on a charcoal grill. Propane grills also don’t create much mess, making clean up a cinch!
However, there is a skill to grilling ribs on a propane grill. It can be easy to over or undercook your meat. Preparation and attention to detail are crucial to achieving melt-in-the-mouth results.
Following these simple tips ensures you prepare exquisite tasting ribs every time you fire up the grill.
1. Preparing Your Ribs
Propane grills ignite and heat very quickly, so the first step is to ensure your ribs are ready for cooking when your grill reaches the desired temperature. If your interested in knowing more about propane grills, we've made a propane grill review.
Store-bought ribs rarely come ready for grilling, so you’ll need to trim any loose fat from the lean meat.
You can add more flavor to the ribs using a dry rub. While you can choose any spices you enjoy, you can make one of the most popular dry rubs with two teaspoons of salt, two teaspoons of granulated garlic, and 1-2 teaspoons of paprika. Mix the ingredients in a small bowl, and use your hand to rub it evenly over the surface, making sure to cover both sides and each end.
Some of the dry rub may fall off, but the meat’s natural moisture will retain as much of the rub as your need. You don’t want to add too many ingredients to the ribs as they could overpower the meat’s flavor.
2. Heat Your Grill
It’s a good idea to preheat your grill so you can add the ribs to the grates approximately 10-20 minutes after applying the rub. This time frame ensures the ribs are still moist and have plenty of fresh rub on their surface. If you use a salt rub too early, it can draw moisture to the meat’s surface, which can evaporate quickly during grilling.
When learning how to grill ribs on a propane grill, it’s best to use indirect heat. This method reduces the risk of meat cooking too quickly and drying out. If you have a three-burner propane grill, turn on the two side burners and leave the middle burner turned off. You’ll create an even heat distribution throughout the cooking chamber and leave adequate space to place the ribs in the middle of the grilling grates.
Preheat the grill to around 300°F. At this stage, there is enough heat to grill your ribs. However, this is also an excellent time to add smoke bombs that can add that authentic smoky barbecue flavor to your meats. There is no need to buy a smoker box, as you can easily create a DIY version at home.
Soak around ½ cup of wood chips in cold water for 30 minutes to prevent them from burning too quickly when on the grill. Place them on a tinfoil sheet and wrap them so there will only be one layer of foil separating them from the grill grate. Poke 5-6 holes in the tinfoil to let the smoke escape. Place your smoke bomb on the grill over the burners that are turned on. At this stage your ribs should be warming to room temperature on a cutting board for 30 minutes to ensure they cook evenly.
3. Place Your Ribs on the Propane Grill
When learning how to grill ribs on a propane grill, you should place your seasoned ribs in the middle of the grates, bone side down, and above the burner that is not producing heat. Close the lid and allow your ribs to cook over indirect heat for approximately 30 minutes. Don’t lift the lid during this time as it allows smoke to escape.
After half an hour, see your food if its cooked by checking if the ribs are brown on all sides. If any areas are still raw, grill for another 10-15 minutes until browning is complete. Remove the ribs from the grill and place them on tinfoil on top of a plate or cutting board. Simultaneously turn the grill temperature up to 375°F.
Pour a light covering of apple juice, or another flavoring of your choice, over the ribs, and wrap the foil around the meat. Place your ribs back on the grill for another 30 minutes to lock in the moisture for a more succulent meat texture because the juices keep the texture soft.
After 30 minutes, your ribs are ready to eat. Use a digital meat thermometer to check the internal rib temperature is at least 145°F. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state this heat level is necessary to ensure pork is safe to consume.
Don’t Forget the Fixins
Ribs are tangy and sweet, so certain sides provide a reset for your taste buds. Serve your ribs with coleslaw, baked beans, and hush puppies or mac ‘n’ cheese, cornbread, and collard greens for a lip-smacking, delicious southern meal.