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Perfect bbq back ribs glazed with a bourbon BBQ sauce.
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5 from 4 votes

perfect bbq back ribs

Cook the back ribs to an internal temp of 195F and sauce them with a simple bourbon BBQ sauce for award winning ribs every time.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 15 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bbq back ribs, perfect ribs
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 673kcal


  • 1-3 racks meaty back ribs around 3 lbs each

Rib Rub

  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder - pure. Like New Mexican or ancho
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp coarse black pepper - butcher's grind is perfect
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder

Simple Bourbon BBQ Sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or water
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp pure chili powder
  • 2 tsp bourbon
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Franks red hot sauce (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp granulated onion or onion powder
  • 2 dashes liquid smoke (optional)


Prepare your grill

  • Bank lump charcoal or pure charcoal briquettes along opposing sides of a Weber kettle. Place a drip pan between the banks of charcoal. Light one bank of coals. Control your airflow so the kettle settles at around 325F.
  • If you are using a gas grill light one burner and prepare your wood chips. Place your drip pan along side the lit burner.

Prep the ribs

  • Remove the skin from the rib side of the rack. Use a paring knife to separate a bit of the skin from a bone, then slide a finger between the rib and the skin and start to pull up. Get a grip on the skin and pull carefully from the rack. This can be easy or a real hassle - just seems to vary rack to rack. I have no clue why...
  • Rub the ribs all over with the dry rub.

Cook the ribs

  • Place the ribs on the preheated grill above the drip pan. Keep the ribs away from direct heat. Cook, rib side down. Rotate the ribs 180 degrees end-to-end every 15 to 20 minutes. When the fire starts to burn out, light the lump charcoal on the opposite side. Continue to cook, turning the ribs every 15 to 20 minutes.
  • After about 1 hour start checking internal temperature using an instant read thermometer. Measure in a few places between the ribs. Make sure the probe doesn't touch the bone. If it does, it will read wrong.
  • Cooking time can be as little as one hour if it's a lean rack. A meaty rack can take up to 2 hours.
  • When the ribs reach an internal temperature of 190-195F sauce and cook another few minutes.


You can cook two racks using this technique. You don't ever want the ribs over direct heat. If you want to cook more ribs, use a rib rack. It's a bit trickier to rotate the ribs but it is doable if you are diligent.
Rib rub makes enough for one rack
Use pure chili powder in the rub and sauce if you can find it. New Mexican red or Ancho are ideal.
BBQ sauce makes enough for 3-4 racks.


Serving: 6people | Calories: 673kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 50g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 169mg | Sodium: 1104mg | Potassium: 714mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 995IU | Vitamin C: 1.7mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 2.6mg