Chicago Style Barbecue Baby Back Ribs Recipe

Grilled until falling-apart tender, this recipe for barbecue babyback ribs is much like what you'd find in Chicago, the Windy City. Slow cooked in the grill for hours, the ribs are also steamed at the same time, which ensures moist, juicy eating.

Chicago ribs are spicy, and you'll find the rub mixture is heavy on the ground red pepper. Cut that amount in half for milder ribs.


This recipe is for two slab of baby back ribs. Remove the membrane from the bony side of the slab if it's still intact. Doing that makes the ribs more tender and allows the spicy rub to reach more of the meat.

  • Two baby back rib slabs
  • One tablespoon paprika
  • One tablespoon brown sugar
  • Two teaspoons dry mustard powder
  • One teaspoon garlic powder
  • One teaspoon celery salt
  • One teaspoon ground red pepper
  • One-half teaspoon ground allspice

Combine the dry ingredients and season both slabs on all sides. Wrap in plastic wrap and lay on the counter to warm up a bit as you're getting the grill ready to go.

Use the indirect grilling method. In a charcoal grill, pile 30-40 burning briquettes against one side of the charcoal grate. Place a handful of soaked smoker wood chips directly on the hot coals. Position a disposable aluminum baking pan opposite the coals and fill half full of hot water.

Gas Grill Barbecuing

Position the cooking grate over the charcoal. When the wood begins smoking, place the slabs, meaty side down, directly over the pan of water. Replace the lid on the grill, with the lid-vent positioned over the ribs. This forces the smoke past those soon-to-be-luscious baby backs!

Continue grilling the ribs for two hours, turning and rotating after the first hour. Wrap in foil and continue grilling for another hour. Your barbecue babyback ribs are done if the meat pulls apart easily when two bones are gently pulled apart.