St. Louis Grilled Ribs Recipe (With Grill Setup!)

Grilling season is in full swing and these St.Louis Grilled Ribs is one recipe that you need in your barbecue repertoire! These succulent, fall of the bone ribs are always a hit. Find out how to grill the perfect ribs every single time and become a pit master!

St.Louis Ribs being mopped on a grill

I don’t think there’s much more impressive when it comes to grilling, than serving up succulent and juicy ribs – they are such a crowd pleaser! Follow this recipe for perfect St.Louis Grilled Ribs every.single.time!

How to make my St.Louis Grilled Ribs Recipe



  • Rinse the ribs under cool water to remove any bone chips from butchering.

  • Remove the membrane from the ribs if it is still intact. HERE is a great instructional video.
  • To dry brine the ribs, season them with kosher salt like you would if they were served to you unsalted; about ¼ teaspoon per pound of ribs. Wrap each slab with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1-2 hours.

  • After 1-2 hours, remove the ribs and liberally brush both sides of the ribs with canola oil. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons Pork Dry Rub evenly over both sides of each slab of ribs, and wrap the ribs with plastic wrap. Place the ribs in the fridge 8-24 hours.


  • When it’s time to grill the ribs, a two-heat-zone grilling method will be used and 225°F is the optimal temperature.

  • To set up a kettle-style grill for slow, low cooking, start by heating half a chimney of briquettes.

  • Remove the ribs from the fridge to warm to room temperature.

  • Once the briquettes are ready, pour them over the lower grate and against one side of the grill. “Bank” them up the side of the grill. Place 4 ounces of wood chips/chunks on top of the coals. Fill a stainless steel pan with 2 cups of water and set it on the cool side of the grate opposite the coals, and close the grill lid.

  • Adjust the intake damper on the bottom of the grill to get the temperature of the grill to 225°F before adding the ribs. Place the upper grate over the grills with the lift-up opening placed over the coals. Preheat the grill 5 minutes, then open it and clean and oil the upper grate.

  • Place a stainless steel pan filled with 2 cups of water, on the grate, directly over the coals.

  • Unwrap the ribs and place them, meaty side up, on the cool side of the grate opposite the pan of water. “Mop” the ribs with the Vinegar Mopping Mixture.

  • Place the lid on, with the vent over the ribs, and cook 30 minutes.

  • After 30 minutes, place another 4 ounces of wood chips/chunk directly onto the coals. Replace the lid and cook an additional 2½ hours.

  • If the temperature goes below 200°F, add 10 hot briquettes over the coals (as needed). Also, add additional water to the water pans, as needed.

  • After the ribs have cooked a total of 3 hours, “mop” the slabs with the Vinegar Mopping Mixture and turn them 180°. Do NOT flip them over. Close the lid and cook an additional 2 hours. Keep a close eye on the grills internal temperature and add more hot coals and water, if needed.

  • After a total of 5 hours cooking time, heat another ½ chimney of briquettes. While the briquettes heat, take a peek at the ribs, and give the ribs the “bend test”. (Pick the meat up, with tongs, by one end to see if the meat will “break” or slightly tear apart, if it does, it’s ready). Transfer the ribs to a baking sheet to coat lightly with your favorite BBQ sauce and to rest while the coals heat.

  • Once the coals are hot, place a slab of ribs directly over the coals and cook 30 seconds each side. Repeat with the second slab of ribs.

  • Cut the ribs between the bones, and…

  • Enjoy!

Set up of the grill and cooked St.Louis Grilled Ribs

St.Louis Grilled Ribs being brushed with marinade

What are St.Louis Style Ribs?

St.Louis style ribs come from the belly side of the rib cage of a pig, just above the breast bone. They contain more bone than meat, but they also have a high fat content which makes them tender and flavorsome. They are also known as spare ribs.

What’s the difference between St.Louis Ribs and Baby Back?

Baby back ribs come from the top of the pig’s ribcage, closer to the spine and they are usually meatier and leaner than St.Louis ribs. Baby back ribs have a higher demand so they are often more expensive. Both types of rib require a long and slow cook time so that they become tender.

Can you substitute Baby Back Ribs for St.Louis Grilled Ribs?

Although the cooking method is essentially the same, St.Louis ribs take longer to cook as they are bigger. If you are feeding a crowd, St.Louis is a great way to go as they are larger and will feed more people.

Two ribs on the grill

St.Louis Grilled Ribs on parchment

How do you prep ribs?

To ensure you are serving the best ribs EVER, you do need to do a little prep work, ideally you would do this the day before you are cooking them.  You will need to remove the membrane if it is still intact, you can also ask your butcher to do this for you. They need a dry brine and rub to really help to tenderize them, and they should be left for at least 8 hours before you start to cook them.

What do you serve ribs with?

Ribs are the perfect summertime grilling food, and should be served alongside all of your usual favorites. Check out these barbecue side dishes for some inspiration!

Instant Pot Potato Salad with Dill Pickles

Creamy Coleslaw Recipe (Homemade Coleslaw)

Kale Caesar Salad Recipe

Green Goddess Pasta Salad Recipe

Mexican Corn on the Cob (Mexican Grilled Corn)

Ribs sliced ready to serve

A rack of ribs cooked and sliced

Top tips for making St. Louis Grilled Ribs Recipe

  • Start prepping these ribs the day before cooking them to ensure they are perfectly tender.
  • Make sure the membrane has been removed.
  • Brine the ribs for as long as you can.
  • Warm the ribs to room temperature before cooking them

Two racks of St.Louis Style Ribs

For more grilled meat recipes, be sure to check these out!

Juicy Grilled Burgers Recipe (How to Grill Burgers)

Grilled Pork Chops Recipe

(HUGE) Grilled BBQ Brisket Burritos

And be sure to check out these posts for more handy rib cooking tips!

Best Barbecue Ribs Recipe

Are My Ribs Ready Yet?

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