5 Ways to Cook Ribs

Our best methods for preparing delicious ribs, from smoking to braising and beyond.

Balinese Sticky Glazed Pork Ribs
Photo: Louise Hagger

Smoking ribs on the barbecue can be long and tedious: depending on your setup, the fire may need to be tended frequently for several hours or more. Luckily, there are many ways to prepare delicious baby backs and spareribs, whether you've got half a day, a yard, and lots of patience, or nothing more than a slow cooker. Here are our five best methods for cooking ribs:


For ribs with that incomparable smoky flavor, you've got to cook them low and slow on the grill, adding more charcoal and wood chips every so often to keep the temperature steady. Ribs cooked this way need some pampering (you would too, if you were spending hours in a sauna): To create a great crust, rub them in advance with spices. For extra flavor after the crust forms, try spritzing the ribs with a mixture of cider and cider vinegar, or finish them off with a glaze.

Roast, then grill

If you want to capture some of that smoky flavor but can't quite commit to the half-day spa treatment for your ribs, let your oven do the initial work, cooking the ribs low and slow until they're tender. Then just grill them over a blazing fire, brushing with a glaze until they're nicely caramelized. (Or, you can reverse the process by starting the ribs on the grill and then slow-roasting them in the oven until they're meltingly tender.)

Roast, then broil

And what if you're one of those poor unfortunate souls without a grill? Are you destined for a life without ribs? Of course not. Simply roast them at a low temperature until tender, then use the broiler to give them a nice crust.

Braise, then fry

For super tender ribs with extra crispy bits, you can cook them slowly in a flavorful liquid, then deep-fry them and toss with a glaze, chicken wing style.

Braise, then broil

For absolutely delicious indoor ribs, braise them in a pot (or slow cooker) until they're tender and then glaze and broil to finish. Starting with a super flavorful braising liquid has an added advantage: you can reduce it into a sauce or glaze for serving. If you're short on time, use a pressure cooker.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles