Make Ahead Ribs – braised then grilled! Learn how to slow braise the ribs in the oven the day before then grill and glaze them to sticky perfection the next day.
These make ahead ribs allow you to enjoy finger lickin’ good ribs on weeknights too because the slow, tender cooking of the meat can take place the day before. Twenty minutes or so on a low grill is all it takes to completely reheat them and glaze them to perfection.
Tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs need one most important thing to be really perfect. That thing is simply time. Slow cooking is the only way to achieve perfect ribs but that requires hours of slow smoking or indirect grilling to work and most people only have time to do that on the weekends.
My solution for weekday ribs is to split the cooking into 2 distinct and very simple stages. 2 1/2 hours in the oven the night before when you are watching Tv or doing housework, then dinner in minutes the next night when you finish them on a grill. I learned this in my very short time as a line cook in my early twenties. Nobody could ever tell that they were pre-cooked.
The braising also allows you to separate the natural meat juices from the fat that is rendered out in the oven. You can then save this pork stock to mix 1/2 and 1/2 with your favourite BBQ Sauce to mop on the ribs as they reheat and get a little char on them. This works incredibly well to keep the ribs from drying out as they are reheating. I used my latest recipe for Smoky Spice Honey BBQ Sauce on the ribs and they were incredibly delicious but I’d also recommend our Maple Chipotle Bbq Sauce too.
I like to use St. Louis style side ribs for this recipe because they are much meatier but you can use baby back ribs too, just note the adjustment in oven time. One last tip is to always cook your ribs in half racks. I always do this because they are much easier to handle on the grill. I find as they get toward the end of the grilling time a full rack is far more likely to break apart as you are turning them multiple times in the glazing process.
A dry rub is needed to season these ribs. You your favourite or make up a batch of my Smokin’ Summer Spice Dry Rub recipe. You’ll use that on everything, trust me!
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- 2 large racks of St. Louis style side ribs or back ribs if you prefer.
- Smokin' Summer Spice Dry Rub or other dry rub.
- 3/4 cup of your favourite BBQ Sauce
- 3/4 cup of the reserved pork stock from braising the ribs.
Cut the racks of ribs in half. Remove the silver skin from the back sides of the ribs if you prefer. (I remove it by loosening it with the handle of a spoon then tearing it off on long strips.)
Season lightly with salt and completely cover the ribs with a dusting of your favourite dry rub. Try my recipe for Smokin' Summer Spice Dry Rub.
Wrap each half rack of ribs in aluminum foil, rolling and pressing the edges together to get a good seal. Now add a second layer of sealed aluminum foil to each one of the half racks as well. Place the wrapped pork ribs on a balking sheet
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F and cook the ribs undisturbed for 2 hours and 30 minutes. (1 hour and 30 minutes for back ribs)
Carefully tear open a corner of each of the foil packets and drain the liquid off of the ribs into a small bowl or large measuring cup. Let the juices cool completely in the fridge so that the fat is easily removed from the top and discarded.
Chill the ribs for several hours or overnight. The precooking can be done up to 2 days in advance.
Preheat the grill to low heat and gently begin to reheat the ribs, turning often.
Mix the BBQ Sauce and pork stock together and begin to brush the ribs with the
mixture as you turn and reheat the ribs,
Take your time with this. I usually take 20 - 25 minutes to get them completely heated through and fall off the bone tender. It's worth the time!