How-To: Hickory Smoked Ribs on a Gas Grill

At the in-laws, and no Traeger. Had to improvise!

I learned you can turn any gas grill into a smoker, by using a pellet tube or smoke box.

With a tube, simply fill with your favorite pellets, light one end with a propane torch or lighter. Let pellets burn until smoke is established, and they begin to glow. Then blow out the fire, and let the smoke roll. Similar with smoke chips, but you need to add water first, and let them soak/expand, before adding to smoke box. If going chips route, check out Char-Broil Simple Smoke (Hickory, Apple, or Cherry).

Simple instructions:

  1. Remove silver skin on the back of the ribs (see how-to if that’s Greek to you)
  2. Rub ribs generously with mustard
  3. Add your favorite rub liberally to both sides of the ribs
  4. Cover in saran wrap, put back in refrigerator for 30 minutes to 4 hours.

On a four burner gas grill, start half of the burners on one side. Set to low. Put your smoker tube above one of the grates. Close lid, and let temperature climb to 225F. Adjust burner accordingly to get it to keep at that temp.

  1. Remove ribs from refrigerator and un-wrap.
  2. Add ribs to the cold side of the grill, bone-side down.
  3. Close lid, and let smoke build.
  4. Every hour, for two (2) hours, open grill and re-arrange ribs.
  5. At two hour mark, cover ribs in foil, adding a 1/2 cup of apple juice, and leave on for another (1) hour.
  6. Check ribs at 3 hour mark for tenderness and temp. They should be fall-off the bone, with meat receding from bone by at least a 1/4 inch.
  7. Once cooked to optimal tenderness, remove from foil and add sauce for wet ribs, or remove and let rest for 15 minutes.

Cooking on charcoal? Check on this Classic Baby Back Ribs recipe from Weber, using a similar technique.

Here’s what the finished product should look like:

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