How to smoke ribs using a gas grill

smoker box for gas grill

I love smoked ribs and usually make them in a Weber grill.  I am planning a graduation party and will not have a Weber grill but I really want to make BBQ / smoked ribs.  With that in mind, here are directions for smoking ribs using a gas grill.

Grilling on indirect heat.

Ribs are best when they are grilled with wood smoke, cooking them slowly at low heat. To get a consistent low heat by grilling it is necessary to grill meat over indirect heat. To do this, simply turn up the heat on one side of the grill and place your meat on the opposite side.

Indirect grilling on a gas grill.

To set up your gas grill turn off one burner if you have two leaving the other one on. If you have three burners, turn off the two burners on the edges, or if you are having issues maintaining your goal temperature of 225 degrees, turn one of the edge burners on and leave the other two off.

Smoking with woodchips on a gas grill.

Smoke flavor give ribs that incredible taste! Follow the steps below to set your gas grill up to make the most incredible smoked ribs.

Purchase woodchips at home improvement stores or where you can buy a grill. The best woods for smoking are hickory and mesquite. Both woods yield strong flavors quickly. Placing wood chips directly on the flame will cause them to catch fire and burn out quickly; producing a messy pile of ashes and very little smoke. House the woodchips in something that won’t burn; and will not produce toxic chemicals when under high heat.

You can purchase a woodchip smoker box — a onetime purchase that will cost less than $20. These boxes are sturdy, durable, and work very well.

Most grilling experts recommend soaking woodchips in water, but you can also use wine, beer, whiskey, and even fruit juice for at least an hour prior to usage. Then drain and place them in your smoking pouch or smoker box.

BBQ Spare ribs


  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup paprika (hot paprika for an extra kick)
  • 3 tablespoons black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons salt (preferably coarse salt)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Rub ribs with dry rub. Applying a dry rub to your ribs is essential. The combination of salt, sugar, herbs, and spices will enhance the meat’s flavor, add some heat, and help promote a tasty surface crust.This recipe makes about 1 cup. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix with your hands. Store the remaining rub in an airtight jar away from heat or light; it will keep for at least 6 months.
  • Turn the burners on and place your smoker box directly on top of one of the burners you will be using (refer to the indirect grilling instructions above).
  • Turn the burner you placed your smoke box on to maximum heat. Wait until you see some smoke coming out of the grill (waiting is important as opening the lid to check will only delay the process by letting the heat escape).
  • Once you see smoke coming from the grill, turn the burner to medium-low and place the slab of ribs on the grate over the burner not in use.
  • Remember we are cooking slowly on low, indirect heat. Maintain a temperature of 225 to 235 degrees throughout the cooking duration.
  • The woodchips will burn out eventually, however, continue cooking the ribs without smoke until they are done. Your ribs will have picked up lots of flavor from the 45 minutes or so of smoke.
  • Fill the spray bottle (easily purchased at a grocery store or gardening store) with a small amount of apple cider vinegar or water. Every 30 minutes or so, lift the lid of the grill and spray a bit of the apple cider vinegar or water directly on the ribs to coat them and prevent them from drying out.
  • The ribs should be fully cooked within 4 to 5 hours.
  • About 20 minutes before the ribs are done, spread a coat of your homemade or favorite store-bought BBQ sauce onto the ribs.

Checking for Doneness

A big obstacle when checking ribs for doneness is that you cannot use a meat thermometer. The thermometer will not read accurately because you can’t probe the meat deep enough without hitting the bone. Here are a few ways to check your ribs for doneness:

  • Stick a toothpick between two bones. If it goes in and out of the meat without resistance, they are done.
  • Cut the bone on the end off and taste it for doneness – my favorite way.
  • Cut into the meat with a knife and check to make sure there is no pink juice near the middle of the meat.
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