Kansas City-Style Baby Back Ribs


  • 4 slabs skinned baby back ribs (about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds each)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup seasoned salt (Lawry's is preferred)
  • 1/4 cup garlic salt
  • 1/4 cup celery salt
  • 1/4 cup onion salt
  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme


  1. Prepare the dry rub by sifting together the sugar, seasoned salt, garlic, celery and onion salts, paprika, chili powder, black, cayenne and lemon peppers, sage, mustard and thyme in a large glass mixing bowl. Store in an airtight container, preferably a glass jar, and utilize as a dry rub for this recipe and other barbecued meals, also.
  2. Prepare your grill to maintain a temperature of 230 degrees F to 250 degrees F while cooking the ribs. You may use oak, hickory or apple-flavored wood chips. If you do, soak the bag of wood chips in a bucket of water next to your grill and add them as you grill the baby back ribs. This water-soaked method helps release the full essence of the smoky flavor from the wood chips in the steam and smoke created on the grill.
  3. Blot ribs with a paper towel to remove excess moisture, then sprinkle both sides of the ribs with the dry rub. Arrange slabs on the grill and prepare to cook the ribs for 4 to 6 hours, adding more coals as necessary to maintain the heat.
  4. Halfway through cooking, turn the ribs. The ribs are done when you can gently pull them apart with gloved hands. Transfer ribs to the cutting board and allow them to cool slightly before cutting and serving.
  5. Serve with your favorite warmed barbecue sauce on the side, or return the cut ribs to the grill and bathe them in your favorite barbecue sauce as you grill for about 10 minutes more, being sure to turn them once, then serve.
  6. You can reduce the grilling time by precooking or parboiling the baby back ribs. Either parboil them in a large stock pot until they are gray, or bake in a moderate 350 degrees F oven until lightly browned. Apply dry rub as directed. You may also want to mix up and keep ready a light basting liquid of 1 cup water, 1/2 cup olive oil and 3 tablespoons dry rub just in case the ribs start drying out on the grill. Total cooking time will be about 1 or 2 hours, depending on the thickness of the ribs.

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