This st louis ribs recipes make the most tender, flavorful and tasty ribs cooked on the grill. Coated in a flavorful dry rub, then grilled till perfectly tender, these ribs are then smothered in a rich homemade barbecue sauce infused with coffee and molasses!
This post was originally published in June 2018 and has been updated for content.
One of our favorite things to do during the Summer is to cook on the grill. We love sitting outside, while the kids play and we can relax and enjoy each other's company.
This st louis ribs recipe take minimal time to prep and can cook while you enjoy spending time with family and soaking up the sunshine. They are perfect for game day, summer bbq's or father's day.
🍖 Ingredient notes
- Ribs - St Louis ribs are meatier than baby back ribs and tend to be flatter so they brown up nicely and are easier to work with. They can be a bit more fatty than baby back ribs, but that makes them perfect for slow cooking. Ribs come in different sizes, but run approximately 2 ½ - 4 pounds per rack. When planning on serving sizes, allow for ¾ pound of raw weight per person.
- Dry rub - A dry rub is a mixture of seasonings that goes on meat before cooking. A good dry rub will not only flavor the meat, but will also seal in moisture. A combination of both dry rub and barbecue sauce is used to flavor the ribs and make them super tender. The recipe below will work for up to two racks of ribs or approximately 6 pounds.
- Barbecue sauce - I like making homemade barbecue sauce, but you can use your favorite store bought barbecue sauce as well. The recipe below is infused with coffee and molasses and has a deep, rich flavor that is not overly sweet. It makes about 4 cups of sauce which will be plenty for saucing two racks of ribs, plus extra for serving.
🔪 Step by step instructions
First, mix the dry rub ingredients in a bowl and generously sprinkle it over the ribs. Rub the seasonings into the meat on all sides and place the ribs in the fridge for 1 hour to rest.
While the ribs are resting, mix all of the ingredients for the barbecue sauce in a medium pot. Heat the sauce on the stovetop until it just starts to boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 45-60 minutes or until thickened and reduced by about half.
When the ribs are done resting, preheat the grill to medium high heat or approximately 375˚. Grill the ribs over direct heat for 5 minutes on each side until browned. Wrap the ribs in foil and move them to indirect heat to cook for approximately 45-60 minutes. The ribs should be tender and the meat should be pulling away from the bone.
Remove the ribs from the foil, slather in barbecue sauce and grill for an additional 5 minutes on each side over direct heat. Take the ribs off of the grill and allow them to rest for 10 minutes before cutting into pieces and serving.
Serve these delicious st louis ribs with extra barbecue sauce and plenty of napkins!
If you ever don't recognize a tool or skill that I mention, be sure to look it up in the Glossary of Cooking Terms and Definitions for more information.
⭐ Expert tips
- Don't just sprinkle the dry rub mixture onto the ribs, but massage it into the meat. This will help to infuse the flavor of the rub into it. Letting the ribs sit in the refrigerator will also give the meat time to absorb the flavor from the rub.
- Make sure to stir the sauce occasionally and cook on low to prevent the sauce from burning.
- Cooking times will vary some based on grill types. For a more "fall off the bone" st louis ribs recipe, cook them for an additional 15-30 minutes.
- Make sure to let the ribs rest for 10 minutes after cooking to let the juices reabsorb into the meat so they do not become dry.
🥘 Alternative cooking methods
- Oven - This st louis ribs recipe can be cooked in the oven instead of on the grill. After letting the ribs rest in the fridge with the dry rub, place them under the broiler on a sheet pan to brown for a few minutes on each side. Wrap them in foil and let them cook in the oven at 300˚ for 2-3 hours until tender. Slather them in barbecue sauce and place them back under the broiler for a few minutes on each side till lightly browned. Let them rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
⏲️ Make ahead instructions
This st louis ribs recipe can be prepped ahead of time if needed. Massage the dry rub mixture into the meat and place them in the refrigerator to rest, covered in plastic wrap, for up to 24 hours. Follow the instructions for cooking on the grill as directed.
The homemade barbecue sauce can be made, cooled and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days ahead of time. At serving time, reheat the sauce in a pot on the stovetop over low heat.
🥡 Storage suggestions
Leftover st louis ribs will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. They can be reheated in a 350˚ oven until warmed through.
Any leftover barbecue sauce will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 7-10 days or in the freezer for up to two months. Frozen sauce should be thawed completely in the refrigerator and can be reheated in a pot on the stovetop over low heat.
🍕 More game day recipes
If you loved this st louis ribs recipe, check out these other game day recipes that I know you will love too!
St Louis Ribs Recipe with Homemade Barbecue Sauce
St Louis Ribs
- 4-6 pounds st louis pork ribs 1-2 racks of ribs
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground mustard
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3-4 cups barbecue sauce recipe below
Homemade Barbecue Sauce
- 28 ounces canned tomato puree
- 1 cup strongly brewed coffee
- ⅔ cup dark molasses
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
St Louis Ribs
- Mix together the brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, ground mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt in a small bowl.
- Cover the ribs heavily in the mixture and massage it into the meat. Place the seasoned ribs in the refrigerator to rest for 1 hour.
- Preheat the grill to medium high heat or approximately 375˚.
- Place the seasoned ribs over direct heat on the preheated grill to cook for 5 minutes on each side till browned.
- Wrap the ribs in foil tightly and move them to cook over indirect heat on the grill. Close the cover on the grill and allow the ribs to cook for 45-60 minutes or until tender.
- Remove the ribs from foil and smother in them in barbecue sauce. Grill over direct heat for 5 minutes on each side.
- Remove the ribs from the grill and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with extra barbecue sauce.
Homemade Barbecue Sauce
- Mix all of the ingredients together in a medium pot and heat on the stovetop on medium high until it starts to boil.
- Once mixture begins to boil, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 45-60 minutes until thickened and reduced by about half.
- St Louis style spare ribs run approximately 2 ½ - 4 pounds per rack. When planning on serving sizes, allow for ¾ pound of raw weight per person.
- The dry rub recipe will work for up to two racks of ribs or approximately 6 pounds.
- Massaging the dry rub into the ribs and letting them sit in the fridge will help seal in the best flavor.
- This homemade barbecue recipe makes about 4 cups of sauce which will be plenty for saucing two racks of ribs, plus extra for serving. Store bought barbecue sauce may also be used.
- Make sure to stir the barbecue sauce occasionally and cook on low to prevent it from burning.
- Cooking times will vary some based on grill types. For more "fall off the bone" ribs, cook for an additional 15-30 minutes.
- Make sure to let the ribs rest for 10 minutes after cooking to allow the juices to reabsorb into the meat so they do not become dry.
Alternative Cooking Methods
- Oven - These ribs can be cooked in the oven instead of on the grill. After letting the ribs rest in the refrigerator, place them under the broiler on a sheet pan to brown for a few minutes on each side. Wrap them in foil and let them cook in the oven at 300˚ for 2-3 hours until tender. Slather them in barbecue sauce and place them back under the broiler for a few minutes on each side till lightly browned. Let them rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.