Quick and Easy Dry-Rubbed Grilled Barbecue Ribs
Seriously, this dry-rubbed barbecue ribs recipe only takes 90 minutes to make—that’s fast for ribs! The flavors are incredible, of course, but that’s not all. This easy barbecue recipe is cooked fast and hot because sometimes you just want some good barbecued ribs right now. Don’t get me wrong… I do love a low and slow grill approach. But these come out so tender, juicy, and flavorful that there’s almost no excuse to do it any other way. When summer finally rolls around, I’m certain this is going to be the first recipe to hit the grill.
Let’s get into the difference between a dry rub and a marinade for grilled ribs—it’s all about the flavor!
This post includes the best dry rub recipe for grilled ribs. Yum! If you’re wondering “What is a dry rub,” great question! A dry rub is a mixture of salt and spices. In terms of options for adding flavor to meat, fish, or veggies, I tend to think of dry rubs as the opposite of marinades. Marinades and dry rubs both add tons of flavor and dimension to your recipes, but they work in totally different ways.
While marinades are great for tenderizing the meat by breaking down muscle fibers and adding moisture, the flavor of a marinade is usually the focal point of the recipe. They’re great for tougher cuts, slow cooking, and recipes like carne asada (btw, if you’re into great carne asada recipes check out my grilled steak recipe with homemade chimichurri or my skirt steak marinade three ways).
Dry rubs, on the other hand, allow the flavor of the meat to stand out. That’s why I love dry rubs on higher quality, premium cuts like ribs. The main ingredients in a good dry rub recipe are salt, sugar, and spices. The salt enhances the flavor of the meat, and the sugar caramelizes in the heat, resulting in a delicious crusty coating on the outside of the ribs. Dry rubs are more about enhancing the flavor of the meat, rather than overtaking it with something else. It’s called a dry rub because you literally rub the spice mixture onto the surface of the meat before cooking.
What’s my go-to ingredient to add heat to a dry rub for barbecue ribs? Smoked paprika!
My favorite ingredient in this easy dry rub mix is the smoked paprika. Smoky and spicy with subtle hints of sweetness, smoked paprika is a specialty spice made by slowly smoking Pimenton. Pimenton is a type of pepper from southwestern Spain. Its subtle spice has woodsy notes that set it apart from your everyday paprika. And it smells soooo good. When you smell that paprika wafting off the backyard grill, you know it’s gonna be a good night. Friends and family are on their way… cue my favorite Bruno Mars playlist, please!
You may ask: How do I grill these barbecue ribs so fast?
Instead of cooking these ribs on low heat for several hours, I cook them on high heat on my outdoor grill. The secret ingredients are the dry rub and the grilling process. All you have to do is wrap the ribs in foil so they steam while they roast. It only takes about an hour on high heat! Yep, high heat—that’s how to make ribs, fast. After an hour, you can remove the ribs from their foil packet and smother them with your favorite barbecue sauce. Slap them back on the grill for that final char and voila—barbecue ribs in about 90 minutes!
Before you go, here are a few more tips on how to properly store the dry rub and what other proteins work well with this dry rub recipe:
This is my go-to recipe for fast and easy barbecue ribs. You can easily double or triple this one, and any unused dry rub can be kept at room temperature in a baggie or container and used on meat, chicken, or even fish. Get creative with it! And if you make a genius discovery, let me know on Facebook or Instagram.