Green eggs and…ribs – Succulent and Smoky Grilled Pork Ribs

The Big Green Egg (aka the BGE) has revolutionized our kitchen. I am no longer the sole cook in our house. G cooks often and he likes it! And more importantly, Emma loves it!

Smoky Succulent Pork Ribs | EmmaEats

We grill year round and have always made sure that the barbecue was within easy access of our kitchen door. Since acquiring the BGE, one of the first places we clear after a big snow is the path to it. Salmon, trout, cod, lamb chops, steak, chicken, pork or beef tenderloin, even squash for Katie – and one of G’s specialties: pork ribs.

We love them all.

And every time we have ribs, Emma asks when we’ll have them again.

For Emma’s birthday luau this year, she asked for Daddy’s ribs. G was only too happy to oblige. One thing across all of the guests, picky eaters or not,  they also loved these ribs.

Simplicity is the key with them – there’s no sauce and not a lot of seasonings added. The focus is on the smoke. G uses hickory or apple wood for our ribs, and Emma’s favourite is apple. She actually noticed when we grilled salmon on our gas grill and interrogated G about why he didn’t use apple wood!

These ribs take awhile to cook but the majority of that time is hands-off, giving you lots of time to relax and build up that appetite you’ll need for when they are ready!

Succulent and Smoky Grilled Pork Ribs

(serves 6)

  • 2 kg (approximately 5 lbs) pork back or side ribs
  • 2 tsp kosher salt, ground
  • barbecue sauce (optional)

Load the BGE well with charcoal as it will be cooking for 6-7 hours. Light it and allow it to come to a constant temperature of 180-200F. Let the fire settle in – it should not be overly smoking from the charcoal. This takes about 20 minutes after lighting and putting in the plate setter and grill.

While the BGE comes to temperature, slice the rib racks in half. You do not need to season them at all to start.

Put one wood chunk (either hickory or applewood, whichever you prefer) into the fire. Then place the ribs on to the grill and leave them to cook at 180F – 200F. They will be on for at least 6+ hours. The longer the better.

About 2 hours after the ribs have been cooking, add another chunk of wood to the fire. Leave the ribs to cook for another few hours at the same temperature of 180-200F.

About an hour to an hour and a half before the ribs are to come off the grill (at least 4 1/2 hours since you started them), lightly salt the ribs. Use the back of a spoon to rub it around and get good even coverage. No salt should be visible. At this point, if desired, you can also brush on barbecue sauce. (We usually leave the sauce off and just use it for dipping when they are served if at all.)

About 15 minutes before pulling the ribs, increase the temperature to around 300F for 15-20 minutes to allow the ribs to crisp. Pull, cut and serve. For the adults, you can have some hot sauces for dipping. Chipotle sauce works nicely as a light dipping sauce if you like the vinegar/spice/heat. I prefer Diana’s Sauce personally.

Tips and Suggestions:

  • This recipe is tested on a Big Green Egg. If you haven’t heard of or used a Big Green Egg, you need to go find out about it: try the official Big Green Egg website, as well as here, here and here. Other barbecues may need a water tray so the ribs do not dry out and a smoker box or something equivalent to hold wood for smoking.
  • The woods we use for smoking ribs are either hickory or apple, and preferably chunks not chips. They smoke longer and more evenly. Leaving the chunks in water to soak for an hour or so before you start helps keep the temperature steady otherwise it may spike from the burning wood. Hickory makes a classic stronger smokier flavour and apple gives a more mild flavour. Use 2 chunks (each the size of an apricot) added at different intervals over the total cooking time. Remember to leave at least an hour and a half of smoke-free cooking time at the end so your result is not bitter tasting.
  • These ribs reheat beautifully. Although I don’t expect you’ll have leftovers, if you do, wrap them in foil and put into an oven preheated to 350F for 20 minutes.


  1. Pingback: Food for the Grill or Smoker « Wavensongz's Blog

  2. Pingback: Build A Big Green Egg Table – Quick Tip !

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