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

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Originally published in May 2016, updated in May 2021

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