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I have some pork ribs that I want to barbecue, but being relatively inexperienced with BBQ and lacking a decent grill thermometer, I want to simplify things by cooking them partly in the oven and partly in the grill. Researching online has thrown up many variations as to temperature, timing, and which order to cook them in. So, some sub-questions:

  • Is it better to grill the ribs first, then put them in the oven, or vice versa?
  • In either case, is it best to use indirect or direct heat on the grill to get the necessary smokiness and glaze?
  • What temperature should the ribs be cooked at in the oven and for roughly how long (I know outcome is more important than timing)
  • Should the ribs be wrapped in foil in the oven for the entire cook?

FWIW my instinct is to grill (with some wood chips for smoke) first, then oven, but my concern then is how to get a good glaze.

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The goal with ribs is "low and slow" cooking to break down connective tissue. But a quick sear will help to lock in juices and provide a good smoky flavor. I find it's preferable to do this first so that the smokiness can work its way into the meat over the slow cook to come.

After seasoning, I would start with a sear on your grill over direct heat (8-10 minutes per side). Then, either move to a very low indirect heat on the grill and cover, which will provide a more smoky flavor, or transfer to your oven at a very low temperature (most home ovens go down to about 250F which is what I'd use). Baste both sides every half hour or so if you're using sauce. It should take about 2-3 hours at this low temperature to get good results, although you can let it go a lot longer if you want. I would have no problem at all cooking ribs for 6, 8, or 10 hours assuming you've got the time.

If you're cooking on the grill the whole time, the smoke will help create a delicious glaze. If in the oven and the glaze isn't as thick as you'd like by the time you're ready to serve, you can crank on the broiler and place the ribs underneath for just a couple minutes to dry out the glaze a bit.

You do not need to wrap them in foil during cooking if you have quality ribs and cook them slow. The only time I'd wrap them in foil would be at the very end once you have finished cooking, in order to keep them warm until you're ready to serve.

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    Good advice. Searing is just for flavor though. No juice locking happens. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Searing#cite_note-McGee-1 – Sobachatina May 22 '14 at 16:57
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    This worked well. I did cover the ribs with foil about halfway through as they were starting to blacken a bit, even at only 120C. Ribs were delicious, nice bark and pull off the bone tender. – ElendilTheTall May 25 '14 at 16:50
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I regularly have really good ribs at a local rib place, the cook told me to grill first then wrap in saran type wrap put in oven at 180 if possible. she said bone side down on grill, but I can't remember how long on the grill, I am gonna give it a try

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