Ribs on the Grill (Hot and Fast Ribs)

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Don’t have time to wait for the ribs on the grill to cook? This post will teach you all you need to make ribs on the grill in a time crunch. Cooking ribs on the grill doesn’t have to take all day!

Sliced ribs stacked on a cutting board with text overlay - Ribs on the Grill.

Pork Ribs on the Grill

So you’re a little short on time but you still want super tasty ribs that won’t break your teeth? No worries, friend, I got you covered!

Let me introduce you to my hot and fast ribs. From fridge to your face in 4 hours. The secret is in a higher cooking temperature and a short stint wrapped in foil with sweet braising liquid and butter.

Some people like saucy, tender ribs, some people like them simple and quick, and others (the purists) like them to bite through but stay on the bone. However you like your ribs I’ve got a recipe for you.

Sweet rub being sprinkled on a rack of St. Louis Ribs.

Cooking Ribs on the Grill

These ribs on the grill are not super traditional, but they are super tasty. You won’t get a thick pink smoke ring cooking faster at higher temperatures, but the rub and braise will infuse the meat with lots of delicious porky flavor.

These ribs will fall off the bone, but they also have a little bit of a crunchy chew on the exterior from the caramelized sugars in the rub, braising liquid, and sauce.

If you are looking for tender, moist, fall all the way off the bone ribs, invest a little more time and try my 3-2-1 ribs recipe. This recipe will get the job done and yield tasty tasty results in less time. I’m cooking St. Louis trimmed spare ribs. If you’re cooking baby backs, congratulations! Your ribs will take even less time!

Apple cider being poured over ribs topped with brown sugar and pads of butter in a large sheet of aluminum foil.

Ingredients for Making Ribs on the Grill

Just like my other rib recipes, these ribs are all about the basics. You don’t need much to make ’em taste good. 

  • 1 rack of St. Louis pork ribs. You can also use baby backs for this recipe if you life, just keep in mind they will be ready even faster.
  • 2 Tablespoons Signature Sweet Rub. This rub can be made using my recipe here on Hey Grill Hey for Best Sweet Rub, or you can buy it directly from our store and have it delivered to your house.
  • 1 cup apple cider. Any brand or variety will do.
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar. Make sure to go with the dark brown sugar instead of light for that extra molasses!
  • 2 Tablespoons salted butter.
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce. I like my Everything Sauce on these ribs, but a nice Kansas City BBQ Sauce (or your favorite!) will taste amazing on these as well.

Once you have all your ingredients assembled, it’s time to get these ribs on the grill!

BBQ sauce being basted on a rack of hot and fast ribs.

How to Cook Ribs on the Grill

Not only are these ribs cooked in under 4 hours, but they’re extremely easy as well! You don’t need anything fancy to make these. Simple ingredients, a reliable grill, and a meat thermometer are all you need to make this recipe a success.

  1. Prep the ribs. Trim the ribs and remove the membrane on the underside of the ribs. Quick tip: snag a paper towel and use that to grab the end of the membrane and pull to remove. Season with my Best Sweet Rub (also available from our store!), and you’re ready to go!
  2. Grill. With your grill preheated to 300 degrees F, place the seasoned ribs on the grill and cook for 2 1/2 hours.
  3. Braise. Prepare the ribs and braise in a large sheet of aluminum foil. Close the foil tightly around the ribs and return to the grill.
  4. Finish grilling. Continue to grill the ribs for another hour, remove the ribs from the foil and brush liberally with your favorite BBQ sauce. Return the ribs to the grill and grill for another 15 minutes to set the sauce.
  5. Rest and serve. Remove the ribs from the grill and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes. Slice and serve!

That’s it! You’re all set to enjoy some tasty ribs in record time!

BBQ sauce drizzling down a stack of sliced hot and fast ribs.

More Ribs Recipes

Looking for more ways to cook and enjoy pork ribs? Hey Grill Hey has a handful (or should I say, plateful?) of ribs recipes you’re gonna love.

Ribs on the Grill Recipe

Hot and Fast Ribs: Flavorful and Tender in Under 4 Hours

4.92 from 12 votes
Don't have time to wait for the ribs on the grill to cook? This post will teach you all you need to make ribs on the grill in a time crunch. Cooking ribs on the grill doesn't have to take all day!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time4 hours
Resting Time15 minutes
Total Time4 hours 20 minutes
Servings3 people
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  • 1 rack St Louis pork ribs
  • 2 Tablespoons Signature Sweet Rub recipe link in notes below
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 cup Everything BBQ Sauce or your favorite tomato-based BBQ sauce


  • Preheat the grill. Prepare your grill for indirect grilling. The target temperature on your grill should be 300 degrees F. I recommend using fruit woods like apple, peach, cherry, or hardwoods like hickory or oak for this recipe.
  • Trim the ribs. Trim down any excess fat and use a paper towel to grab and remove the thin membrane on the back of the ribs. Season liberally with the sweet rub.
  • Grill the ribs. Place the ribs directly on the grill grates on your grill, close the lid, and cook for 2 1/2 hours at 300 degrees F.
  • Make the braise. After your ribs have cooked for 2 1/2 hours, place a large sheet of tin foil on a flat surface. Remove the ribs from the grill and place on the foil bone side up. Fold up the corners of the foil to create a well around the ribs. Top with the brown sugar, butter, and pour on the apple cider.
  • Finish grilling. Close the foil tightly around the ribs and crimp to seal. Return the ribs to the 300 degree F grill for another hour to hour and fifteen minutes.
  • Finish grilling the ribs. Remove the foiled ribs from the packet (watch for steam) and return to the grill.
  • Add the sauce. Liberally brush the ribs with your favorite BBQ sauce and grill for 15 more minutes to set the sauce. Don't leave on any longer than 15-20 minutes or the sugars in the sauce will burn.
  • Rest, slice, and serve. Remove the ribs from the grill, and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Slice, serve, and enjoy!


Best Sweet Rub: https://heygrillhey.com/best-sweet-rub-grilled-pork-chicken/


Calories: 1231kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 68g | Fat: 102g | Saturated Fat: 33g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 347mg | Sodium: 354mg | Potassium: 1116mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 259IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 163mg | Iron: 7mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!

**This post was originally published in April 2015. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same.

Cooking Ribs on the GrillRibs on the GrillHow to Grill Ribs



Susie is the BBQ Brain behind the Hey Grill Hey website. Her passion for smoked meats and developing fun, new recipes have landed her on the Food Network, cooking turkeys with Shaq, and on a couple of Guinness World Records. When she’s not grilling, she is hanging out with Todd and their three kids, preferably outdoors!

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Recipe Rating

Reader Reviews

29 Reviews

  1. Eric Wakefield says:

    I used baby back ribs. Temp was 275 deg. did 2 hrs. then wrapped and did another hour. Took out of aluminum added BBQ sauce and did about 30 minutes. Ribs got to 200 deg. They were very tasty and tender. I didn’t soak in anything. Only had about 4 hrs. to make these. I tweaked it a little being the ribs were smaller. Will make these again. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. TishC says:

    I just used Morton’s for a rub, added a few TBSP apple cider vinegar along with the apple juice I had on hand and my family was raving about these. Cooked at 300 on our Traeger, following all the same cooking temps, foil, basting, rest, etc and these were probably the best ribs I’ve ever made.

  3. Bethan says:

    You mention that this recipe works for baby backs too, but that cooking time is even shorter….any guidance you can provide on the time for each step? i.e. should the first stint on the grill be less than 2 hours? Or do you shorten the time in foil? Or both? Thanks!!

  4. Jon Schray says:

    I followed this recipe with two racks of St. Louis cut ribs and they came out amazing. My wife asked me to never cook ribs any other way.

  5. Larry Propps says:

    I filled the recipe as best I could. A few time the smoker got up to 330 while I was out, but, these ribs were fall off the bone tender. I was thankful I saw this recipe as I was a few hours late getting started on the traditional method, so this had us eating before bedtime!


  6. John says:

    1st time doing St Louis ribs and pressed for time. Ribs were AWESOME!!!!!!
    Only 2nd time ever I even smoked ribs. These were absolutely fantastic!. Nice smoke ring and ribs were not tough.
    Will use this recipe again!
    Can’t beat 4.5 hours!!!!!!

  7. Dick Curwin says:

    One day I forgot to remove the silver skin, when it was done in the smoker I pulled off the skin and turned it meat side up, holding it by both ends and the bones fell right out. I see no down side to this but I haven’t repeated it as it might have been a fluke.

  8. Dave Britton says:

    Used this recipe tonight on a cheapo smoker grill. Turned out fantastic. I don’t usually have this much luck in controlling the temp but this method was very nice for someone who doesn’t usually do slow on his pit. Thank you–Wifey was very impressed.