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BBQ St. Louis-Style Ribs

Easy St. Louis-style ribs, these are the best BBQ ribs of summer! Pork spareribs cooked low and slow on the grill and basted with BBQ sauce until tender and practically falling off the bone!

BBQ pork spareribs cut into sections.

My husband.  It's time to name him I think.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to use his real name or a pseudonym.  His name is Mark.  I might nickname him once in a while, we'll see.  A few things about Mark.  He likes his meat, or protein as he says.  Mark consumes a "protein" three times a day.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner, he prefers a meat item on his plate.  Ugh, so much fun cooking for Meathead and my middle daughter, the Vegetarian (although she just recently started eating meat again after seven years).

Next, Mark eats ice cream every day.  Every. Single. Day.  I kid you not.  If we are out of ice cream, panic ensues and he, and the kids, go out for ice cream.  My sister-in-law, Paula, once asked me if Mark ate ice cream every day.  So does his brother.  Paula doesn't get it and neither do I.  We both think the ice cream thing is a bit much.  I've only seen him give it up for Lent.  And he is responsible for our three girls developing the same habit.

Two slabs of cooked St. Louis style ribs.

And my last tidbit about my husband is he really likes crunchy things -- potato chips, crackers, the crunchier the better.  You do not want to be any where near him when he's in a zone crunching away, it's like nails on a chalkboard.

I might share more interesting things about Mark another time.  He's a great guy and father and we love him.  Which brings me to his ribs.  He is the king of the grill around here.  We have a gas grill that is about 23 years old.  In the middle of winter in Chicago, a brand new shiny Weber gas grill arrived at our house.  My husband worked on the Weber account and they wanted him to have a gas grill to really know the product.  Well, Mark knows that gas grill inside and out and has been grilling on it for 23 years.

BBQ sauce ingredients.

Homemade BBQ sauce in pan with brush.

Mark grills a lot of chicken and he loves veggies on the grill.  But I think his favorite is ribs.  We have been living in St.Louis now for 14 years and he never makes the St. Louis-style ribs.  He says they're not good and he likes baby backs.  I kept saying we really should try again, maybe we're not cooking them right.  St. Louis-style ribs are spareribs with the rib tips and brisket flap removed.  I did a little researching and we decided to try again.

Two slabs of pork spareribs with dry rub, ready for grill.

So first I made some barbecue sauce.  I've never made sauce before, we always use bottled and he definitely has some favorites.  I had all the ingredients on hand, it was a simple sauce and very good.  I also learned about a technique of thinning the sauce with water and basting the ribs with it frequently throughout the cooking process.  By basting coat after coat, it builds flavor and a caramelized crust instead of burning too quickly.

We used two slabs of ribs.  I prepped them for him by removing the membrane on the bone side.  I got it started with a knife and my fingers and then used a paper towel to rip it off.  You don't want that membrane on your ribs.

Ribs off the grill, cut into sections with basting sauce in background.

There are so many ways to barbecue ribs, dry rub vs. sauce, gas grill vs. charcoal vs. smoker vs. adding smoking chips, etc.  There's a reason for all the rib competitions.  This is how we make them, feel free to adjust and tailor to your grill type.

I am going to have to get Meathead now and defer to him on his technique this time for BBQ St. Louis-style ribs.  They were fantastic, the best he's ever made in my opinion.  I think we have a new favorite rib around here.  xxo- Kelly

St. Louis style BBQ ribs, close up of single rib section.

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Two slabs of BBQ pork spareribs.

BBQ St. Louis-Style Ribs

Easy St. Louis-style ribs, the best BBQ ribs of summer! Pork spareribs cooked low and slow on the grill and basted with BBQ sauce until tender.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 962kcal


  • Your favorite dry rub
  • 1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce (see note for a simple homemade sauce)
  • 2 slabs St. Louis-style pork spareribs, thin membrane removed from the back side
  • Salt and pepper


  • Season ribs with dry rub, starting with the back side first. Don't use too much rub, just a nice coating. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit for a half hour.
  • Heat your gas grill on high, clean and then turn off the center flame and set the two outer flames to medium. You are aiming for a temperature of 250º to 300º.
  • Combine barbecue sauce with one cup of water and set aside.
  • Place ribs on the grill, bone-side down for 30 minutes. Flip ribs and grill for another 30 minutes.
  • After one hour, start basting the ribs with the thinned sauce every 10 minutes. Here's how: start with the meat side up and baste twice, 20 minutes. Flip and baste the back side, 10 minutes, then flip and repeat basting the meat side two more times, 20 minutes.
  • The meat at this point should be pulling away from the ends of the bone like in the first photo above. This is what you're looking for. Baste the ribs one more time, meat side up and turn the heat off. Keep the lid closed for 10 more minutes. Our ribs were done after about 2 hours. If needed, keep basting and flipping every 10 minutes until done, about 2 to 2 ½ hours.
  • Remove from grill. Cut into individual ribs and devour. Serve undiluted barbecue sauce on the side.

Recipe Notes

To make the barbecue sauce I made, in a small saucepan combine the following ingredients:
  • ⅔ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
and bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.


Calories: 962kcal Carbohydrates: 15g Protein: 51g Fat: 76g Saturated Fat: 24g Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g Monounsaturated Fat: 28g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 260mg Sodium: 631mg Potassium: 869mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 12g Vitamin A: 80IU Vitamin C: 1mg Calcium: 61mg Iron: 3mg
Did you make this recipe? Please comment, rate it and share! And mention me on Instagram @thehungrybluebird or tag #thehungrybluebird so I can see!


* Barbecue sauce adapted from the NY Times.


Recipe Rating


Thursday 14th of March 2019

Trying this recipe now. My big grill could only handle one rib in the middle. Can you tell me how you put 2 ribs in the middle on indirect heat without burning them. Thanks


Thursday 21st of March 2019

My husband does all the grilling and moves them around, he knows the hot spots. Just put them as close to the indirect heat as possible and rotate them around when you flip them.


Tuesday 12th of February 2019

Looks wonderful! Do you put the ribs in the middle area to avoid direct heat or one slab on each side with direct heat? TIA!


Sunday 24th of February 2019

My husband moves them around on our old gas grill, he knows the hot spots like the back of his hand. I think he goes for the indirect areas but pays closer attention to keeping it a steady temperature.


Tuesday 3rd of July 2018

These are new to me. What dry rub do you use as I don’t use one and would love to try.

Thank you.


Monday 9th of July 2018

I use a store-bought dry rub for pork, just look in the spice aisle for a dry rub, either all purpose or for pork.


Tuesday 4th of August 2015

I'm lovingly referred as 'Meathead' in this nummy post...