How To Smoke Ribs On A Charcoal Grill

How To Smoke Ribs On A Charcoal Grill

Cooking a bunch of chicken can leave you wanting for some BBQ ribs in your life. The process of using a charcoal grill, one of the best ways to grill in terms of taste and it brought back a lot of memories. Consequently, that’s how I was feeling after preparing for a BBQ competition a while back.

I’d been using my 22″ Weber kettle grill a lot at the time (I now use the Weber gas grills)… experimenting with chicken thighs, getting ready for the Viejas BBQ competition. Cooking ribs on Weber kettle grill brought back memories of what it was like before I purchased a dedicated smoker and how I used to make excellent BBQ ribs on just that one simple piece of equipment. However, not everyone has a smoker, but most folks have a kettle-style charcoal grill of some sort to cook on.

So in honor of the standard charcoal grill and making delicious BBQ Ribs, here is a little something for you to try.

The main thing to remember here is to have all of your coals on one side of the kettle. You don’t even need that many briquettes, just one charcoal chimney full is about all you’ll need. I only had one rack of ribs, but you can quickly do up to four on your kettle if you use a “rib rack” … not to be confused with a “rack of ribs.” A rib rack will hold your ribs vertically on your grill or smoker to maximize the horizontal space. Continue reading to learn how to smoke ribs on a charcoal grill.

Ribs on the Grill. Delicious.

BBQ Ribs On Charcoal Grill

BBQ Ribs

Many people get confused between grilling and barbecuing; barbecuing a slow process that takes a lot of time. The meat that is being barbecued is heated in low heat and produces tender and juicy meat. To BBQ Ribs, we will be using a charcoal grill to get a piece of juicy, smoked, and tender meat.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 1 Rack
Calories 416 kcal


  • Bag Of Charcoal
  • Wood Chunks
  • Charcoal Grill


  • 1 Rack Of Ribs
  • BBQ Rub
  • BBQ Sauce


  • First, you will need to prepare your ribs by removing the membrane on the inner side of the rack of ribs. You can trim them Kansas City or St. Louis style if you wish…. or you can do like I did and just take off the flap of meat on the membrane-side of the rack. Check out this video on trimming your ribs.
  • After your rack of ribs is trimmed, coat it with a generous amount of your favorite BBQ rub on all sides. Steps 1 & 2 can be done a day ahead of time. Be sure to refrigerate your meat and make sure that it is stored in such a way that it doesn't come into contact with any other food.
  • Remove the top grate from your Weber or Stok charcoal grill. Light one charcoal chimney starter full of coals. After the coals have ashed over, pour them onto one side of the kettle. Offsetting the lit charcoal is crucial because it sets up your BBQ for cooking with indirect heat. It is also essential to be extremely careful here because those coals are very hot.
  • Over the coal, add a couple of chunks of hickory and replace the top grate. Cover your grill and close the vents. Wait for 15 minutes. 
  • On the top grate of your grill, opposite the hot coals, we will add the ribs. Cover the grill and let the ribs cook for 4 to 5 hours, depending on the heat of your grill. Try to keep the temperature of the grill between 225 F and 250 F. You can use a thermometer to keep checking the temperature. If the grill is running a little hot, keep checking the ribs regularly and ensure that they are not getting too toasty. On the other hand, if the grill is running a little low, open the vents of the grill a little bit and let some of the air in. 
  • Pop open a cold beer, and put your feet up while you wait for the ribs to get done.
  • You may wish to glaze your ribs with your favorite BBQ sauce or some honey about half an hour before removing them from the grill.
  • Remove your ribs from your grill and let them rest for 10 to 15 minutes. A sheet pan is perfect for this. Cut up the rack of ribs, serve and enjoy.


Serving: 6gCalories: 416kcalCarbohydrates: 8.9gProtein: 36.1gFat: 26.3gSaturated Fat: 9.1gSodium: 512.8mgFiber: 0.8gSugar: 8.1g
Keyword BBQ Ribs
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