How to Season BBQ Ribs

By Chris / January 19, 2015
seasoned ribs


Proper seasoning of ribs before you throw them on the grill is the secret to delicious ribs. Seasoning ribs before grilling them helps keep their natural meat flavor. If you use the right herbs and spices, the ribs’ natural meat flavor can even become infused with the seasoning. Make sure you remove the membrane from the exterior of the ribs before adding any seasoning. If you don’t, the herbs and spice’s flavors won’t ever make it to the meat. Too much fat also prevents the spices from making it to the meat. While you’ll want to trim any excess fat, you still want to leave some fat on the ribs. For added flavor, use an indirect heat source to cook your ribs. This will help preserve the delicate balance of flavors you’re creating.

There are two general ways to season ribs, wet and dry.


Wet seasoned meat is rubbed with a sauce that is a mixture of BBQ sauce and varying spices. Ribs are typically marinated for several hours in this sauce. The longer you marinate the ribs, the more infused the spices become with the meat. Keep your meat in the fridge to prevent the meat from spoiling during lengthy marinating times, and never marinate for over 24 hours. When the ribs are thrown on the grill, the marinade is intermittently applied to the ribs until they’ve reached perfection. Wet seasoned ribs tend to be juicier than their dry seasoned counterparts.


Dry seasoned ribs are rubbed with a mixture of herbs and spices. No sauce is added to the seasoning, so it stays dry. Ribs are also left to sit when using dry seasoning to help the spices become infused. Typically, the ribs are wrapped in plastic wrap after they’re seasoned and left in the fridge for a few hours. It can be tricky getting dry seasoning to stick to ribs. What I recommend is brushing the ribs with a light coat of olive oil to help the seasoning stay on. As your ribs are grilling, reapply the seasoning on the ribs after the exterior begins to char. While dry ribs aren’t as juicy as wet ribs, you can enjoy the meat flavor much more since it’s not masked by the sugar that usually accompanies wet seasoning.

You’ll quickly find that you need more seasoning for ribs than for other comparable weight meats. This is due to all the fat and bone that come with ribs. Season ribs correctly, though, and you’ll be known as the leading authority on ribs in your household.

This is just the basics.  There is much more to come as ribs are my favorite BBQ! For an awesome recipe check out this one over at  This guy is the master I only hope to be some day.

Let me know your seasoning basics below and don’t forget to check out our other articles on the home page.

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