Best Cooking Time

How Long to Slow Cook Ribs

When you slow cook ribs the cooking process will take from three to seven hours. Allow more time if you want to marinate the ribs first.

Barbecuing is the low and slow process of using indirect heat and smoke. Try to keep the temperature of the covered grill or barbecue between 210 and 225 degrees.

Cooking Time and Temperatures For Ribs




Baby back ribs BBQ 1 - 1 1/2 lbs 3 - 5 hours 210 - 225 F
Baby back ribs BBQ 1 1/2 - 2 lbs 4 - 6 hours 210 - 225 F
Ribs in braising liquid covered in foil (good technique for indoors) 1 - 2 lbs 2 1/2 hours 250 F
St. Louis-style ribs 2 1/4 - 3 + lbs 5 - 7 hours 210 - 225 F
Pork Spareribs 2 1/4 - 3 + lbs 5 - 7 hours 210 - 225 F
Beef ribs 2 1/4 - 3 + lbs 5 - 7 hours 210 - 225 F
Cooking times and temperatures for Ribs

Test for Doneness: Pork ribs are done when the slab becomes limp and flexes or bends in the middle when you lift the slab from one end. You can also tell by feeling movement when pressing two bones together. Even when done, beef ribs are stifferthan pork ribs, but the meat gives a little when two bones are pressed together. Beef ribs will be chewier than pork ribs. If they are very tough you may need to cook them longer.

Slow Cooked Ribs

Denny's Baby Back Slow Cook Ribs Recipe

My brother, Denny, uses his grill all year long. He has honed and perfected techniques for quite a few feasts over the years, and one of our favorites is his recipe for baby back slow cook ribs.

He usually cooks at least two racks and he starts by pulling off the fell (the silver membrane attached to one side of the rack) with a pliers if necessary, and marinating the ribs for 2 hours in equal parts of white vinegar, lemon juice, Texas Pete hot sauce, and brown sugar.

He keeps additional marinade to be used for basting during the cooking process. When the ribs are removed from the marinade they are salted and peppered. Each rack is cut in half, and then the "half-racks" are stacked directly on top of each other for the cooking process. (For example, four racks of ribs cut in half would make eight half racks - cooked in two stacks of four half-racks.) These half-stacks are cooked using indirect heat in a covered grill with the temperature maintained at 225 F.

About every 15 minutes he rotates half-racks in each of the stacks, moving the bottom half-rack to the top of the stack, then basting the entire stack with more marinade.

After 3 hours he begins slathering the half-racks with barbecue sauce (not the marinade) and begins to check for doneness by lifting one end of a half-rack of ribs to look for flexibility. He continues to rotate the half-rack of ribs on the bottom to the top of the stack and slathering the stack with barbeque sauce, every 15 minutes until they are done.

The ribs are served with additional barbecue sauce.

Flavors That Go


When you slow cook ribs, they take in flavors from rubs, marinades, mops, sauces, and smoke.

Wood smoke: apple, hickory, oak, maple, mesquite.

Common ingredients used in rubs, marinades, and sauces:

Worcestershire sauce
barbecue sauce

bay leaves
soy sauce
chicken stock
red wine vinegar
Dijon mustard
brown sugar
maple syrup
minced garlic
red onion
cayenne pepper
chili powder
hot sauce
ground cumin
heavy cream
fresh thyme
dried thyme
tomato paste
fresh lemon juice
dried oregano
orange zest and orange juice


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