If you want to serve your guests succulent, melt-in-your-mouth ribs that everyone will rave about, our grilled St Louis Ribs recipe is your go-to solution. The incredibly satisfying BBQ flavor of this juicy rib meat is over-the-top when you use a foil-wrap glazing method and bring your St. Louis style ribs in for a stellar finish.
🍽️ Why This Works
The perfect cut. This style of ribs is specifically cut to create a perfectly rectangular, flat rack of ribs, making them just right for grilling! You’ll get an even exposure to the heat.
Homemade dry rub. Getting the right seasoning on ribs is all about ratios, and this recipe is a well-balanced blend of everything you need for amazing grilled St Louis ribs.
The fastest method. If you are used to grilling your ribs for four hours at a super low temperature, and you just don’t have any more time to waste, this recipe is for you. High-heat grilling is the fastest and best way to grill St. Louis style ribs. At just under two hours, it’s not super fast. And at just 300ºF it’s not super high heat either. It’s a good compromise so you don’t end up with chewy, tough meat. Instead, you end up with perfection.
📝 Ingredient Notes
St-Louis-Style Ribs – When you are purchasing ribs at the store, you can usually find baby back, St. Louis style, or boneless ribs. For this recipe, we used St. Louis-style ribs.
Dry Rub – We used a simple homemade dry rub made up of ingredients you probably already have in the pantry. Brown sugar, paprika, garlic and onion powder, and some salt and pepper.
Glaze – Don’t skip the glaze. This is a three-ingredient option using butter, brown sugar and honey. Since it is fairly sweet, it will complement any of the spices you used in the dry rub.
What are St. Louis Style Ribs?
These St Louis cut ribs are cut so that the sternum bone, cartilage, and the rib tips are removed which creates a nice rectangular-shaped rack for ease of grilling and a pretty presentation. An official cut of pork recognized by the USDA, St. Louis ribs were the practice of numerous meat-packing plants located in or near the city in the mid-20th century. The style of cut became popularized and is now common across the country.
⏲️ Equipment and Tools
Grill | We use a Big Green Egg, but since this is a simple direct heat grilling recipe, and BBQ will work wonderfully.
Foil | Our St. Louis Style ribs are wrapped in aluminum foil with the glaze ingredients for thirty minutes. It’s the “secret sauce” that brings everything together.
Step One: Make the dry rub by combining all of the ingredients together in a small bowl and stir to break up all the chunks of the brown sugar. Since it makes so much, store it in a jar for other recipes.
Step Two: Remove the membrane on the ribs if it is still attached. Pat the ribs dry with a paper towel and then coat them with the dry rub. I recommend going a bit heavy on the dry rub.
Step Three: Grill for 60-90 minutes at 300°F using direct heat. The time will vary depending on the thickness and marbling of the meat.
Step Four: After the ribs have reached an internal temperature of 200°F, it is time to add the glaze and finish it off. Prepare the foil for the ribs by laying out two layers on the countertop. Add the brown sugar, butter, and honey as shown in the photo above.
Note: While the USDA notes that 145°F is the minimum temperature to cook pork, it will result in tough and rubbery ribs. Instead, let these come up to about 200°F. That extra temperature will break down the connective tissue and will result in extremely tender and tasty pork ribs.
Step Five: Remove the ribs from the grill (we like to place them on a baking sheet) and add them to the foil. Fold the foil over to seal everything together and let it grill for 30 more minutes.
Step Six: During the last five to ten minutes of grilling to char the ribs a bit, coat the ribs in the glaze. Let the ribs rest for five minutes before serving.
Put out your charcoal grill in a snap with these couple of tricks.
❗ Recipe Tips and Tricks
Overlap the foil so that you don’t have any leakage of butter which can cause flare-ups on your grill.
Make sure you rub the “dry rub” into your meat for best results. Cover both sides of the rack of ribs.
The easiest way to remove the membrane is to make a large slit down the membrane on the backside of the ribs. Use a paper towel for grip because it is very slippery. The membrane should pull off in two halves – one on each side of the slit. If it does not, just lift up the corner with a knife again and repeat the process until all of the membrane is removed.
If the ribs feel gritty when you remove them from the packaging, run them under cold water. The butchering process can leave bone chips on the meat.
The dry rub recipe will cover three racks of ribs. Each rack will contain between 10-13 ribs. You should plan on at least four ribs per person and up to one rack per person if you have hungry college boys just coming back from the gym.
🧑🍳 Storage and Reheating
Keep leftover ribs in an airtight container or freezer-quality sealed plastic bag for two or three days in the refrigerator. Freeze for up to three months. There is no need to thaw the ribs before reheating them.
Ribs are best right off the grill. However, the nice thing about Grilled St Louis Ribs is that you can easily reheat them in a skillet since the rack is mostly flat on the meaty side. Add some butter or a little bit of vegetable oil and get it hot first. It should only take a few minutes to heat the ribs through. Add sauce to spruce them up. If you have an entire rack to reheat at once you can do that on the grill or in the oven.
If you don’t want to reheat the meat on the bone, you can cut it off the bone before placing it in the refrigerator. The leftover meat can be enjoyed as is or diced up for chili, baked potato topping, or rib-meat sandwiches.
Mix the dry rub ahead of time and keep it in a sealed jar. It makes enough for three racks of ribs, so if you aren’t feeding a crowd you can keep this for several weeks at room temperature and just make sure to stir or shake it good before using it.
If you cook the glaze in a sauce pan you can make that several days ahead as well and then heat it up to apply it to the ribs.
Some grillers like to let the ribs come up to room temperature before grilling them. Others say this is a myth and doesn’t actually impact the final dish. Those who prefer this method say that if the ribs are 20º closer to the final temperature when you start, you will have less overcooked meat on the outside by the time they finish. It takes about thirty minutes to an hour for ribs to come up to room temperature when sitting out on the counter, so if you have the time it is worth trying. Let us know in the comments what you think.
Additions and Substitutions
If you don’t want to make your own dry rub or glaze, you can purchase your favorites from the local grocery store or specialty shop. We are partial to the Dizzy Pig rubs found at Whole Foods.
Instead of glaze, you can use your favorite barbecue sauce. A sweet and spicy tomato-based sauce is a more traditional St. Louis favorite, if you want to give that a try. Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Chipotle BBQ sauce is one example of a spicy-sweet tomato-based sauce we enjoy.
If you have baby back ribs instead of St. Louis Style Spare Ribs, you can use the same recipe and cooking method, just a shorter cooking time. You might prefer to whip out your smoker and use the technique of Smoked Baby Back Ribs instead.
We also love this recipe for Grilled Plum Jam Pork Ribs if you want to try a little something different next time.
Make St. Louis Style Ribs in the oven. If you can’t grill, follow the same basic recipe using your oven. You won’t get that nice crusty bark or smoke flavor you get from the grill but you will still have tasty results.
Our grilled St Louis ribs recipe works great with anything you enjoy alongside bbq. Grilled Beer Corn on the Cob, Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Cream Cheese, or Bread Machine Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites would all be amazing choices.
Summer bbq’s call for a big batch of Smoked Mac and Cheese.
❓ Recipe FAQ
It will take 1.5 -2 hours to make St. Louis style ribs on the grill.
It’s really difficult to get a temperature on rib meat because the bones throw thermometers off. The best way to judge doneness is time and tenderness.
300ºF for the first 1.5 -2 hours with a final 5-10 minutes at 375ºF to get a little crispiness on the exterior.
You really can’t grill your ribs any faster unless you want chewy, tough meat. Our recipe can be ready in as little as 1.5 hours.
Baby back ribs are cut from a section that is closer to the spine and left in their natural shape. St. Louis Ribs are trimmed to be perfectly rectangular and come from the belly of the animal – the spare rib. The St. Louis style rib is larger and more meaty than the baby back cut and also has beautiful fat for flavor. Read more about the differences between St. Louis vs Baby Back Ribs.
The cooking method is exactly the same. Baby back ribs are faster because they are smaller and have less meat.
Yes. The St. Louis style cut ribs are larger than baby back and will require more time on the grill.
Maybe. This depends on the butcher. If the membrane is present, it should be removed before you add the dry rub.
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Grilled St Louis Ribs
- Sharp Knife
- ¼ cup Brown Sugar
- ¼ cup Sweet Paprika
- 2 tbsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tbsp Onion Powder
- 2 tbsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tbsp Cracked Pepper
Brown Sugar Glaze
- 4 tbsp Butter unsalted
- ½ cup Brown Sugar
- ¼ cup Honey
St Louis Ribs
- 1 rack St Louis Style Ribs
- Combine all of the ingredients for the rub together in a bowl and stir break up all the chunks. ***There is enough rub to cover 3 RACKS OF RIBS***
- Remove the membrane, if it is still attached. The easiest way to remove it is to make a large slit down the back side of the membrane on the backside of the ribs.
- Using the combined rub from above, apply the rub on both sides of the rack of ribs and rub it into the meat.
- Heat up the grill to 300 degrees and place the ribs on the grill bone side down for 60-90 minutes.
- Lay out several layers of foil, overlapping so there isn't any leakage.
- Using ingredients from Brown Sugar Glaze: Place the brown sugar, honey and butter on the foil, place the ribs meat side down onto the brown sugar mix and the bring the sides of the foil up to fold tightly. Bring in the ends of the foil and fold tightly.
- Place ribs back on the grill for 30 minutes and the allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- Bring the temperature up on the grill to 375 degrees and place the ribs back on the grill for 5-10 minutes, to create a little bit of char to the glaze.
- Remove from grill and allow to rest 5 minutes before digging in.