This recipe will walk you through the process of using the “hot and fast” technique on your smoker for making perfectly tender and delicious baby back ribs.
I do personally enjoy a good slow smoked 3-2-1 method for cooking ribs, but sometimes I don’t have 5 or 6 hours on my hands, so that is when this method is ideal.
Though I will be breaking down how I make my hot and fast ribs on the Big Green Egg today, it is possible to recreate this recipe on any grill/ smoker, and yes, even in your oven if that’s what works for you!
Just whatever you do… please stop making ribs in the slow cooker. We don’t need that kind of negativity here.
Below I will outline all the tools you need for a successful cook; how to prep your ribs, how to prep your grill, and how to implement this method into a much faster final product that you can be proud of.
Be sure to read through all the tips and techniques in the article below and grab the complete recipe at the bottom of the page.
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- Boning/Trimming Knife & Cutting Board
- Paper Towels
- Baking Sheet
- Drip Pan
Welcome to my virtual classroom! Use the guided notes below where I often answer commonly asked questions I get from readers and cooks just like you.
This information is meant to help you have a stronger understanding of this recipe and the process so you can find success all on your own.
Ready to begin cooking? Simply jump to the recipe below and begin.
What is the “Hot and Fast” method for cooking ribs?
If you are new to smoking BBQ or haven’t tried this method there are important things to note before getting started.
Hot and fast does not actually mean your grill should be blazing hot (we’re not cooking a steak here), but the temperature goal is much higher than what you would typically use to smoke meat.
Standard rib recipes typically sit between 225 F – 250 F depending on the type of cook, the grill, and the personal preference of the griller.
A hot and fast method is really all about keeping your smoker sitting at 300 F for the entire cook.
Believe it or not, that 50-75 F degree difference is a major game-changer in the amount of time the ribs spend on the grill.
Rib cook times may vary slightly with this method, but typically my baby backs cook in 2.5 – 3.5 hours give or take.
Below I will share more tips on how to know when your ribs are ready to be pulled from the grill.
How do I set up my smoker and set it for indirect heat?
Every grill and smoker is different, so there are some variables here. If you have a kamado-style ceramic grill like the Big Green Egg (or maybe you do have one) then the method I use can easily translate.
The biggest thing to take away from a grill set up regardless of what you cook on is that you do not want a direct flame hitting your food.
I place my charcoal in the base of the grill and light it and let it heat for about 10 minutes with all the vents open and the lid as well.
Depending on what model Egg you have, you need to insert the stone components (conveggtor) to help disperse the heat and create an indirect cooking environment.
Depending on the size of your grill, it could take 15- 30 minutes for the temperature gauge on the top of your grill to read out correctly.
I highly encourage you to get a thermometer that can be inserted at the grill grate level for a more accurate reading as well. Regardless, get your grill prepped and holding steady at 300 F, and make sure to keep the lid closed!
How do I prep my ribs?
Depending on where you buy your ribs and your comfort level, you can ask your butcher to prep your ribs for you. I personally enjoy processing my own, but do what works for you here!
Start by patting your ribs dry and removing moisture from all over the meat. I peel off the back membrane and look to see if the ends are too thin and need to be trimmed at all to create an even cook.
Trim and remove any silver skin and feel around the sides of the ribs for any smaller bone fragments and trim those as needed.
For dry rub ribs, I typically go with mustard as a binding agent for the dry rub. Spread on a very thin layer both on the top, sides, and under the ribs on the bone side as well.
You can use your favorite store-bought rub or make your own.
If you want a good keto all-purpose rub (basically a well-rounded blend of spices and no sugar) then try this recipe as well.
Spices like chili powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper will give it some flavor, color, and a little kick.
Sprinkle a nice layer of rub all over your meat and let it rest. Don’t actually rub the rub in (you will end up rubbing it off), but pat it on if needed.
I like to let mine sit while the grill preheats for at least 30 minutes to get the rub soaked in and sweating.
How do I smoke ribs fast?
Place your ribs on the center of your grill (meat side up) and close the lid! “If you’re looking, you’re not cooking”, as they say so let them do their thing!
You can spray your ribs with a diluted apple cider vinegar or this sugar-free Texas Mop Sauce recipe to help keep the bark moist before wrapping.
I do this around 30-45 minutes in on a hot and fast cook because I typically wrap mine after the first hour and a half or so.
How do I wrap ribs?
I personally love foil wrapping. This process creates an environment for the meat to cook and tenderize faster, without drying out too much.
I learned from my buddy Chef Josh how to do this and though I have experimented a handful of times, I keep going back to this method.
- Use two pieces of slightly overlapped heavy-duty foil.
- Add a little of your favorite barbecue sauce (make sure it’s at least room temperature or slightly warm) to the foil and a little bit of softened butter.
- Place the rib rack meat side down over the mixture on the foil and repeat your butter/ BBQ sauce combo to the exposed side of the ribs. This is the place you can always get a little creative and add things like more dry rub, sauces you like, and sweeteners if that’s your preference.
- Tightly wrap the ribs in the foil and squeeze slightly so there is very little to no space between the foil and ribs. Less space gives a better product and avoids steaming the ribs.
- Place them back on the grill for another 30-45 minutes. When they start to feel tender take them back out to finish off unwrapped.
- Sauce the last 15 minutes or so to create a nice glaze. Exposing the ribs from the foil at the end also helps tighten the bark back up.
How do I know when my pork ribs are done?
There are a few indicators here but ultimately it’s up to you to decide. I prefer my ribs very tender where they “bite off the bone” but don’t actually “fall off the bone”.
Some say, “fall of the bone” actually is an over-cooked rib, but really I believe this comes down to personal preference.
Here are some general rules to follow for checking to see if the ribs are ready:
- You can start by using a thermometer and checking the temperature. This can be used as a good guideline, but every rib rack and rib cook is slightly different.
- A good tip to note is that the ribs are “safe to eat” after 145 F but the collagen in the meat and tissue doesn’t break down until around 190-203 F. You’ll often see these numbers used throughout most BBQ recipes using beef and pork for instance.
- Test your ribs as well by seeing how they bend and look for the bones on the ends to be showing too. Ribs that start to bend and don’t break (but want to) are tender!
- Finally, use the probe end of a thermometer to “feel the meat” for tenderness. If the probe easily slides in, the meat is going to be tender and delicious.
What can I serve with my ribs?
My favorite sides to pair with these ribs are:
Smoked Hot and Fast Baby Back Ribs
- 2 Racks of Baby Back Ribs (or ribs of choice
- Yellow Mustard for binding
- Sugar Free Dry Rub or Rub of Choice
- Sugar Free KC Style BBQ Sauce or Sauce of Choice
- 1 stick Softened Butter
- Preheat your grill to 300 F and set it for indirect cooking. (See notes in the post above for more detail)
- Prep your ribs by patting them dry, trimming silver skin and extra bone fragments and removing the back membrane. Cover entirely in a very very thin coating of mustard. Use your favorite dry rub and apply a nice even layer to the bottom, sides, and lastly to the top of your ribs. Let this sit for 30 minutes.
- Place your ribs on the grill, bone side down, over indirect heat and let them cook for about and 1.5 hours. Spray or mist the bark if desired every 20-30 minutes or so if desired from the start of the cook (notes in post above).
- Wrap the ribs around the hour and half mark (when the bones are visible on the sides and the bark is set). Layer two pieces of foil so they slightly overlap, add warmed up BBQ sauce (a few tablespoons) to the bottom of the foil and a few tablespoons of softened butter. Spread it out slightly onto the foil and place the ribs meat side down over this.
- Repeat the same thing directly over the back of the ribs and then very tightly wrap the foil around the ribs as much as possible. The less air pockets the better! Place them back on the grill and cook another 45 min or so.
- Carefully unwrap the ribs from the foil and place them back on the grill to set. Sauce the last 15 minutes or so before removing from the grill. The ribs are tender starting at a temperature of 190 F. Use a thermometer and feel out the ribs to know when they look ready!
- Rest them slightly (this helps with cutting) and then slice into serviceable pieces and enjoy.