Easy Grilled Ribs and Secret Dry Rub Recipe

by Alli

This shop was compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. 

My husband is the grilling king! We use our grill year-round, but it really gets a workout during the summer. When it comes to grilling, I serve as the sous chef, but it never stops me from telling my husband how to get his grill on. 

Grilled ribs are not hard to make at all. The grill does all the work!  But don’t tell my husband I said that and please don’t tell him that I’m giving away his secret dry rub recipe.

Grilling ribs is one of the easiest things to do. I promise! Be sure and rub them down with my secret dry rub recipe. #HogWIldThrowdown #ad

If you’ve never grilled ribs, I’m gonna walk you through the easy process. Once you’ve tasted your masterpiece, you’ll never fear the grill again. Scouts honor.

Grilled Ribs & Secret Dry Rub Recipe

First of all, let’s make the not-a-secret-any-more dry rub. Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. You probably have them all in your pantry.

Easy Grilled Ribs and Secret Dry Rub Ingredients

For this recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients. The full printable recipe is down below.

  • brown sugar
  • paprika
  • salt (I use kosher)
  • black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • cumin
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • thyme powder
  • prepared yellow mustard
  • 2 racks Baby Back Ribs

Helpful Hint: I use prepared mustard to coat the ribs before applying the dry rub because the dry rub adheres better and the mustard acts as a carrier for the dry rub. You can’t taste the mustard at all, but you can skip it if you’d like. It’s all good.

My husband has a charcoal grill, two gas grills, and a smoker. For ribs, we always use the charcoal grill. It adds so much more flavor to the ribs.

 Funny BBQ Sauce Story

During a trip to St. Maarten, we fell in love with the BBQ sauce at our favorite restaurant. We asked our waiter if it was homemade and he told us that the BBQ sauce was imported. We were like, “WOW.” We then asked if he would share the name of the sauce and where it was imported from. He said it was KC Masterpiece, imported from the USA. We’ve been serving it with our grilled ribs ever since that day. 

KC Masterpiece

Back to my Easy Grilled Ribs

A chimney starter is the cleanest and easiest way to get the charcoal going. I don’t like using lighter fluid, so this is the easiest way to avoid it.

How to Grill Ribs

I add a little newspaper to the bottom, fill the top with charcoal, and light the newspaper. In about 10 to 15 minutes, you’re ready to grill.

How to Grill Ribs

You’ll know the coals are ready when the ones on top have started to turn a bit gray with ash. Pour the coals into the grill and cover with the grate.

How to Grill Ribs

Once the grill is good to go, add the ribs and grill, covered, for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Ribs are done at 180° F when checked with an instant-read thermometer.

Grilled Rubs

Helpful Hint:  Always use a grill mitt when lighting charcoal and using the grill.

Are you ready to get your grill on?

Yield: 4-6 servings

Easy Grilled Ribs and Dry Rub Recipe

Grilled Ribs & Secret Dry Rub Recipe

Grilled ribs are tender and delicious when you season them with this dry-rub recipe.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes


  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons salt (I use kosher)
  • 2 Tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Cayenne pepper
  • 3 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons thyme powder
  • Prepared yellow mustard
  • 2 racks Baby Back Ribs


  1. Mix the first nine ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Rub the Smithfield ribs with prepared mustard.
  3. Sprinkle the dry rub over the ribs (you may have some left over. If so, cover and store in the pantry).
  4. Wrap ribs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight.
  5. Preheat grill to medium heat.
  6. Arrange the ribs on the grill and grill for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, turning with tongs occasionally until meat is tender and crisp on the outside.


These ribs have a perfect bite to them, meaning the meat texture is not fall-off-the-bone tender but they are tender. If you like fall-off-the-bone tender ribs, cook them a little longer.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 394Total Fat 24gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 14gCholesterol 88mgSodium 2399mgCarbohydrates 20gFiber 3gSugar 13gProtein 26g

Did you make this recipe?

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Try These Delicious Grilled Ribs Recipes

Originally published in May 2016, updated in May 2021


Nicky May 12, 2016 - 5:35 am

very descriptive recipe Alli. Thank you for your sharing. I wish to have free time to try this grilled ribs formula one day 🙂

kayla May 12, 2016 - 6:09 am

Always love your recipes Alli, this one sounds/looks spectacular! Love that sticky, smoky BBQ flavour! Cant wait to try this one out! x

Robin Masshole Mommy May 12, 2016 - 7:18 am

I will most definitely be trying that rub the next time I make some ribs. Summer is coming fast and that means we will be grilling outside a LOT real soon!

Mimi Green May 12, 2016 - 8:54 am

Yummy! I love grilled food, but we don’t use our grill often. I feel like that is man territory; I know that is real 1965 way of thinking. Honestly I just don’t know how to use it. I don’t want to burn my food or my house down.

I like that you don’t use lighter fluid.

David @ Spiced May 12, 2016 - 10:24 am

Yay for summer grilling! This winter wasn’t too bad snow-wise, but it’s time for warmer weather…and ribs on the grill. The story about the imported BBQ sauce is a classic! Thanks for sharing! #client

Jenn May 12, 2016 - 10:53 am

Oh my goodness, these looks and sounds delicious. I am not much of a cook. My ribs tend to turn out dry and not so tasty. I’ll have to pass this recipe onto my husband. he is the grill master.

Pam May 12, 2016 - 1:09 pm

We love grilled ribs. I think we have grilled just about every day over the past two weeks.

Jeanine May 12, 2016 - 1:10 pm

Wow. This screams at me to make this asap. I love ribs, I haven’t had them in so long though I would kill for this right now!

Jeni Hawkins May 12, 2016 - 1:41 pm

This made me want to BBQ so badly this weekend!!!! I have never used dry mustard in a rub, but definitely will try it now!

David Kitchener May 24, 2016 - 11:04 pm

This rub recipe doesn’t have dry mustard in it…although I’ve seen it. Spread plain yellow mustard on the meat to hold the rub. Works with all meats.

Sarah May 12, 2016 - 6:07 pm

This looks like an easy to make rub for grilled ribs. Thanks for sharing!

Ashleigh @Dash of Evans May 12, 2016 - 9:31 pm

Your house sounds like mine! We have a smoker, a gas and a charcoal grill. Last week we got the chimney starter and we LOVE it! That rub sounds ah-mazing! It would be super fun to put it in a mason jar for teachers at the end of the year. This makes me want some ribs! YUM!

Bella B (xoxoBella) May 12, 2016 - 11:02 pm

I have never BBQ’d with charcoal. I love ribs and so does my dad…I should get him a charcoal BBQ for fathers day and make this. 🙂

Vidya Sudarsan May 13, 2016 - 1:09 am

I don’t eat ribs, but I found it interesting to read about how these are made.

Sandra May 13, 2016 - 5:52 am

OMG, now I’m craving some good ribs!! I’m gonna save this link for future use! I hope to experiment this soon. Yay!

xoxo, Sands

Rebecca Swenor May 13, 2016 - 8:15 am

These ribs look so delicious and I love anything thing with KC Masterpiece products on them. Yummy!!! I am for sure going to be doing this recipe this weekend. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

michele d May 13, 2016 - 8:20 am

Smithfield has the best pork. I’ve been to Smithfield, Virginia and visited their plant last year. Their ribs are so tasty. I could eat them year round! Love your dry rub recipe.

Claudia Krusch May 13, 2016 - 8:25 am

We looooove ribs. We have grilled almost every day over the past two weeks! My husband grills even when it’s raining!

Ashley Steer May 13, 2016 - 9:39 am

Oh man!!! That looks soooooo good. I’ve been meaning to try my hand at ribs for awhile, but unfortunately, we don’t have a grill..

Chantal May 13, 2016 - 2:00 pm

Those ribs looks absolutely amazing! I am so happy that the nice weather is here so I can use my BBQ.

Zan May 13, 2016 - 3:51 pm

Grilled anything is always our favorite! But I will have to introduce my husband to this type of ribs!! That seasoning mix/rub sounds very familiar to one I make – but I usually use less sugar. I will have to try this mix – I know it is going to be tasty!

Lorelai @ Life With Lorelai May 13, 2016 - 7:40 pm

Oh, we are going to have to give this secret dry rub a try! The ribs look amazing. Love the funny story…HA!

Life With Lorelai

Bonnie @wemake7 May 13, 2016 - 9:24 pm

Yum! Those looks really good! I am so glad that warmer weather is finally here for barbecues.

Dawn McAlexander May 14, 2016 - 12:09 am

Ribs are one of my favorite things to barbecue. I can’t wait to have my next cookout so I can try this recipe out for myself!

Hannah Adkins May 16, 2016 - 12:22 am

BBQ ribs are such a summer classic. I use the KC Masterpiece sauce ALL of the time. The honey flavor is definitely one of my go to sauces.

Jim Lampe May 21, 2016 - 6:39 pm

paid for by smithfield pork.
nice ad.
low & slo is also nice.

Jorge McMillan June 1, 2016 - 5:48 pm

My wife and I just got a grill and want to start grilling. No meat can be grilled though with out a rub of some kind to put all over it. This recipe sounds so good and one that I cannot wait to try putting on my ribs.

Alli June 3, 2016 - 9:46 am

Let me know if you like the rub as much as my family does.

Jorge McMillan June 3, 2016 - 11:00 am

Will do, thanks!


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