Championship Baby Back Ribs

Disclosure: El Diablo Mustards has paid a fee for recipe development and product features in posts on Welcome to the Cookout written by this author.

Disclosure: Hot Box Grills has paid a fee and supplied products for use and to be featured in posts on Welcome to the Cookout written by this author.

©Welcome To The Cookout!™ photograph of CB's Championship Ribs showing the El Diablo Steakhouse Mustard amidst baby back ribs cooked with it as an essential ingredient

This post by El Diablo Mustards and I’m compensayted for my recipes and marketing help. It’s my very good luck that I am a big fan of this mustard flavor!

Championship Baby Back Ribs

I’ve written about outdoor cooking for more than a decade with thousands of columns and articles, hundreds of hours of video, TV and radio and 3 successful cookbooks – and have decided most backyard cooks use their grills to prepare food in 3 primary categories.

  1. Burgers, Brats and Hot Dogs 
  2. Chicken (parts and sometimes whole on a beer can)
  3. Steaks & Chops (beef, pork, lamb)

And based upon the number of emails and questions I’m asked at cooking demonstrations — just about every backyard cooks wants to learn how to make “ribs” on their grill. The most popular ribs are pork – either baby-back ribs (usually these are not from an actual baby hog but cut smaller from the loin ribs – thass OK) and spare ribs. Here’s as good an explanation of the difference of these two cuts of pork ribs:

Baby Back Ribs: These “loin” ribs is smaller and less meaty and that makes them easier to cook on a backyard grill that isn’t a “professional smoker.” There are usually 11-13 ribs in a rack that  from the back bone. If you’ve every purchased a loin roast with ribs, that’s the same thing.

Spare Ribs: These are larger ribs (approximately 10-13) connected to the loin bones to the belly or breast bone area. I s’pose you could call them “Belly Ribs” as the opposite of “Back Ribs.” Depending upon the place where you purchase these ribs they may come in a cryovac sleeve and contain part of the sternum (breast bone) and a strip of cartilage and meat (aka rib tips). It’s best to trim these sections off prior to cooking because they cook at a different rate than the spare ribs.

There are many styles, theories and cooking myths about how and why and what you need to do to prepare the perfect ribs. Let’s just say I enjoy simple basic preparations when it comes to cooking. Buy good ingredients and don’t mess up. Once you’ve mastered the basics you may wish to pursue other methods, techniques and ambitions. To that I say “May the Pork be With YOU!”

My rib preference for backyard cooking is the Baby Back, sometimes labeled Loin Back and my reasoning is simple – they are easier to prepare and cook on my backyard cookers. I’ve prepared this recipe on a gas grill set up for indirect cooking and using a smoke-bomb to add smoke flavor. And I’ve prepared these on a basic off-set smoker too. Recently I’ve returned to using charcoal as my fuel of choice – I use hardwood lump charcoal, not the popular petroleum-based briquettes – and love the heat and flavor the wood charcoal adds to the meat. My preferred cooker these days is a Hot Box Grill 360+ and I’ve become associated with the product because I believe it is a great all-around cooker that most backyard cooks will find delivers the kind of food they want in all 3 basic categories (see above) and especially smoking meat like pork, beef, chicken and … ribs.

Smoke coming from Hot Box Grills whilst cooking CB's Competition Rib recipe

Blue Smoke escaping by design from the Hot Box Grill 360+ is blue in color – an indicator the temperature of the lump charcoal fire is spot on. Experienced pit masters will tell you that “Blue” smoke is sweeter and doesn’t contain the harsh compounds of white smoke. My experience suggests they are correct. The temperature of the fire and how hot the charcoal or wood is burning will affect the way compounds in the wood are “processed” by the heat. Too hot and it’s gonna be bad for cooking temperature-wise so the meat will cook to fast and not render the rat nor break down the connective tissues in the meat – both of which add flavor – and the compounds produced by the hot burning will add an acrid or scorched flavor to the meat.

Time is an essential element of barbecue that is too often disregarded by the average backyard cook. Taking time to prepare the meat by removing the membrane and trimming away excess fat or cartilage is not something to ignore. Rubbing the meat with spices before wrapping and resting in the cooler or fridge so the chemical reaction between the natural sugars, proteins and enzymes in the meat and the compounds in the spices can interact and work their magic takes time…rushing this process will produce less-than-satisfactory results. And gee-whiz – everything is so rush rush rush these days, one of the reasons we enjoy outdoor cooking like this is to slow down and get away from the hectic lives of computers, phones and even TV.

When you’re finished cooking ribs they will kinda look more-or-less like these in the photo below. Don’t worry if they aren’t exactly like the photo – what matters is the taste and you can fiddle with the ingredients and the smoking and cooking times to get the taste you want. I hope you enjoy the process. ~ Barry CB Martin

RIBS - El Diablo Steakhouse-by Barry CB Martin of Welcome to the Cookout

Rest meat after cooking. During this time the muscle fibers relax and re-absorb some of the moisture squeezed out when they contract during cooking and the juices also cool down and are thicken a bit. IMHO warm food tastes better than HOT food anyway.

5.0 from 1 reviews
CB's Championship Baby Back Ribs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Barbecue is to contemporary American food culture as pasta is to Italian and rice is to Asian food culture. Cooking lip-smacking barbecue ribs is the goal of just about every backyard cook. This recipe is a winner because it's simple and uses very familiar ingredients - one of which is El Diablo Steakhouse Mustard.
Recipe type: Rub
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
  • 3 racks of baby back or loin back ribs - about 4-6 pounds
  • 1 cup of CB's Rib Rub
CB's Rib Rub - ingredients
  • 1 part garlic powder or granulated garlic (not salt)
  • 1 part ground ginger
  • 1 part smoked paprika
  • 1 part kosher salt
  • 1 cup of El Diablo Steakhouse Mustard
  • 1 cup of CB's Finishing Sauce
CB's Finishing Sauce - ingredients
  • 1 cup tomato ketchup (try to get one without corn syrup if possible)
  • ½ cup red wine - merlot and syrah are perfect
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  1. Prep the ribs by removing the membrane from the back of the ribs.
  2. Place rib racks one-at-a-time in large sheet pan or food safe tub and apply rub all over, working it in with your hands. It's a good idea to wear food safe gloves when doing this.
  3. Wrap individual rib racks in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator over night or at least 8 hours.
Finishing Sauce
  1. Combine ingredients in jar and shake vigorously to combine
  2. Remove plastic wrap and slather or brush on El Diablo Steakhouse Mustard to give a light coating of all meat surfaces, doesn't have to be thick.
Cooking Ribs
  1. Place ribs in smoker or barbecue set for indirect cooking and holding at about 350°F - 375°F. If necessary rotate position of ribs about every 45 minutes - mopping with finishing sauce each time - cook for about 2 hours.
  2. Wrap each rack of ribs with foil after mopping with finishing sauce and cook an additional 45 minutes or until the meat begins to pull back from the ends of the bones about ½ inch or so and the bones feel loose when using the "wiggle test."
  3. Remove racks as they each are ready, unwrap and rest for about 15 minutes before slicing off sections of ribs in "2 rib" pieces.
1. Each rack may cook a bit differently so cooking times can vary.

2. Some folks enjoy a bit of a crust on the rib and toss them on the grill to roast over direct heat for just a few minutes
©Welcome To The Cookout!™ photograph of CB's Championship Ribs showing the pitmaster of Hog Heaven inspecting ribs for even smoke and flavor.

Wielding a knife to check the smoke ring, texture and overall presentation of baby back ribs is the pitmaster of “Hog Heaven – Cincinnati’s Competition BBQ Team.” These were a test run in preparation for the actual contest “turn in” ribs entered in the 2014 Memphis In May BBQ Competition. They used a version of this recipe (secret ingredients not revealed) and placed 5th out of 40+ entries in the Patio division.

You could win one of two excellent prize packages in the #GetGrilling Giveaway for National BBQ Month!

GetGrilling Giveaway for National BBQ Month

©Welcome To The Cookout!™ photograph of CB's Championship Ribs showing the El Diablo Steakhouse Mustard amidst baby back ribs cooked with it as an essential ingredient

GetGrilling Giveaway for National BBQ Month

I’ve joined 9 fellow food bloggers across the country to celebrate May is National Barbecue Month and each of us has developed a delicious recipe inspired by the versatile flavors of El Diablo Hot & Spicy Mustard. And guess what else?? There are two prize packages to be awarded!

Have fun checking out all the recipes from my fellow food bloggers and good luck…who knows YOU could be the winner of one of the 2 prize packages!

Prize Package #1 includes:

From Mr-Bar-B-Q

  • The Backyard Grill 4-Burner Gas Grill features an attractive stainless steel lid and a cast iron cooking surface with a 28-burger capacity. This outdoor gas grill also boasts a large warming rack, a convenient stainless steel tube handle, a built-in bottle opener and a handy temperature gauge. Two plastic wheels help to make positioning quick and easy. This full-size grill is a must-have for anyone who takes their outdoor cooking seriously.
  • The 3-Piece Ergo Handle Tool Set includes a long-handled spatula, fork and tongs. The set is made with high-quality stainless steel construction and patented, arched handles for maximum comfort and control.
  • Blue Rhino Coupon for Free Propane will get you cooking on your gas grill right away!
AND a 6 Pack of El Diablo Hot & Spicy Mustard. “The mustard that bites you back!” Perfect condiment to serve with the fabulous foods you’ll be grilling this season!  Dig it!
Prize Package #1 ?#?GetGrilling? Giveaway

Prize package #2 includes:

From Hot Box Grills

Hot Box Grill 360+ probably the most versatile outdoor cooker you’ll ever own. Grill, Roast & Smoke your favorite foods to perfection. You can configure the separate charcoal and food grates in hundreds of different ways, allowing you to cook all of your backyard and tailgating favorites. Grill a dozen or more big juicy hamburgers, roast two beer can chickens or smoke a 20 pound pork butt low & slow. Because of the unique patent-pending design clean-up, transporting and storing the Hot Box Grills 360+ is easy. It’s an American made, full-size heavy-duty powder-coated steel cooker that you can take just about anywhere!Tuck it behind the seat of your truck or place in the trunk of your car – the compact design leaves plenty of room!”
How’s THAT for a fun giveaway?? Follow #GetGrilling via your favorite social media channels for all the recipes and fun surrounding this awesome giveaway!

ENTER HERE: a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About Barry CB Martin

Barry 'CB' Martin is a Curious-About-Food author of cookcooks with a mission to help you learn the basics of outdoor cooking so you can prepare tasty meals for your friends and family. Sounds like a cool deal to me!
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  1. Carolyn says:

    I am the world’s biggest carnivore. This recipe makes my heart sing!

  2. I am super picky about my ribs, and baby backs are my go to as well. I love smoking them and slathering them in sauce. Dry some times is great too, but at my heart, it’s all about a wet sauce that wins it for me. I love the sound of these ribs. Finger licking perfect.

  3. Got a good non-wine finishing sauce?

  4. Barry CB Martin says:

    Rick – you can easily substitute a jam or fruit concentrate to make this sauce.

  5. Bianca Andrea says:

    I would love to try this recipie, well not me cooking it but maybe my boyfriend. He has a BBQ team and has been trying out diffrent ways to cook ribs.

  6. Hey Barry,

    I was flipping through your site and noticed the Hot Box Grill. I’ve been out of the loop for quite a while now, so my knowledge of the latest and greatest is exceptionally low. Do you have a link here that shows it being put to the test? I’d like to see & know more about that little rig. Especially if it can spew blue smoke like that!

    xo, Biggles

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