Skip to main content

Want a dish that’s as captivating as the fireworks? Go with this BBQ ribs approach for the 4th of July

The best BBQ ribs for your 4th of July cookout

Fireworks. Apple pie. BBQ ribs. Just sort of gets you in the summertime spirit, doesn't it? The 4th of July is the biggest cookout day of the year in the U.S., which means the masses will soon be taking to the fire with their favorite proteins. But you're not the masses, you're an individual looking for a dish that will spark pure pleasure. Enter BBQ ribs.

Topping the list of popular menu items for the day is, of course, spare ribs. Meaty, messy, sweet and savory, someone-get-me-a-wetnap, ribs. There's just nothing like that sizzling smell coming off the grill on a hot summer day, while friends and family splash in the pool. While your cookout feast may feature lots of classics, such as burgers and corn on the cob, it's just not a July Fourth cookout without these delicious slabs of meaty goodness.

So fire up the grill, tie on that cheesy American flag apron your kid gave you, and grab the tongs. Let's make some BBQ ribs.




1 hour 20 minutes

What You Need

  • 2 pounds of baby back ribs

  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar

  • 3 teaspoons of onion powder

  • 3 teaspoons of garlic powder

  • 3 teaspoons of Old Bay seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon of paprika

  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon of cumin

  • 1 cup of barbecue sauce

While ribs in the oven are delicious, you may want to embrace the whole patriotic package this year and go full-on outdoor grilling for your menu. There is certainly something to be said for those bits of char, the flame-licked crispy bits of caramelized sugar from the sauce, sizzling and singing from under that lid. It's the taste of everyone's favorite summer holiday in one simple dish.

The truly wonderful part about these ribs is that they're a breeze to make. After a quick massage of dry rub ingredients, pop these babies in the fridge for the night, onto the grill the next day, and you've got yourself a magnificently meaty feast for a crowd. There's no trick, no fancy ingredients, just good ol' fashioned fall-off-the-bone ribs that will bring a messy smile to everyone's face.

Pork ribs grilling barbecue
Grandriver / Getty Images

Barbecue baby back ribs recipe

This ribs recipe is so delicious, we suggest making a large batch. They're going to disappear quickly. But even if, for some insane reason, you do find yourself with leftovers, these ribs are delicious reheated in the oven!

Step 1: In a small bowl, combine the sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, Old Bay, black pepper, paprika, salt, and cumin. Set aside.

Step 2: On a large rimmed baking sheet, rub the ribs all over with the spice mixture, and refrigerate overnight.

Step 3: When ready to cook, remove from the refrigerator and bring the ribs to room temperature. Bring the grill to medium heat.

Step 4: When the grill is ready, place the ribs on the grill and close the lid. Cook for about 1 hour.

Step 5: Brush the barbecue sauce onto the ribs, coating evenly.

Step 6: Turn the heat to low and cook the ribs for another 15 minutes, or until they are tender.

Step 7: Let the ribs rest for 5 to10 minutes before serving.

Ribs on the grill.

What's the 3-2-1 rule for ribs?

There's a lot of chatter about this online, but it's a good general rule to remember when dealing with ribs. The rule especially applies to those who smoke their proteins. The 3 refers to the first step, as in 3 hours in the smoker or pellet grill. The ribs are then to cook on the grill wrapped in foil for 2 hours before cooking for 1 hour out of the foil, preferably covered in a good sauce. Easy as that, 3-2-1.

No matter how you'll be celebrating the 4th of July this year (preferably by way of a rib BBQ), make sure to do it in the company of those you love, surrounded by laughter, enjoying lots of delicious food the way it's meant to be enjoyed — outside, with a great festive cocktail. Just remember to have lots of napkins, wetnaps, or white bread — you're going to need them when BBQing ribs.

Editors' Recommendations

Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
Want to jumpstart your gut health? Try these 5 breakfast foods
5 delicious gut-healthy breakfast ideas your tastebuds will also love
a raseberry smoothie in a mason jar on a table

Whether breakfast is the most important meal of the day is a food fight. Generally, you want to eat nutritious, filling foods throughout the day to power through your to-dos and feel good doing so. Still, breakfast sets the table for all that. In particular, a filling, nutrient-dense, gut-healthy breakfast can do wonders.

"After fasting overnight, your gut is ready to efficiently absorb nutrients," said Beata Rydyger, BSc, RHN, a registered nutritionist and nutritional contributor to HPVHUB. "Eating a breakfast rich in fiber, probiotics, and prebiotics supports the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, improves digestion, and keeps the balance of microbes healthy." 

Read more
The paper plane cocktail puts a bourbon twist on a classic drink
This contemporary take on the Last Word is already a classic.
Paper Plane

The cocktail renaissance of the early aughts has returned many classic cocktails to the prominence they deserve. It’s also paved the way for talented, creative bartenders to create contemporary cocktails that will one day be referred to by the “classic” moniker. While there are countless complex cocktails crafted in the last few decades, one of the best is the Paper Plane.
What is a Paper Plane?

Similar to a classic Last Word which consists of equal parts gin, Green Chartreuse, lime juice, and maraschino liqueur, the Paper Airplane is made with equal parts bourbon, Amaro Nonino, Aperol, and lemon juice. While the two drinks might not seem similar, it’s the number of ingredients and equal parts that make them mirror images (albeit a bit foggy) of each other.

Read more
How to open a beer bottle without an opener – you have lots of options
Don't worry, you will get that bottle open
Opening a bottle with a lighter

The crisis? You want to enjoy a beer, but you have no bottle opener. Don't panic, because we're going to get through this thing. After all, it's surprisingly easy to open a beer bottle without an opener. All the bottle opener does is use a bit of leverage to bend the cap, anyway. So let's create some leverage, and then let's drink some beer.

A quick note before we get started: It's easy to open beer bottles using rings, but the potential for damaging your ring or your metacarpal is very high, so we've left that one out.
How to open a beer bottle with a lighter

Read more