Kansas City style BBQ Ribs

This Kansas City style BBQ Ribs recipe is one of the easiest and most traditional ways of cooking pork ribs on the barbecue.

One of the things that makes this the best way to cook ribs is letting them sit overnight, soaking up the rich smoky flavors of this All American BBQ dry rub recipe.

kansas city style bbq ribs

When cooking pork ribs I generally follow the popular 3-2-1 method.

3 hours at 225F, 2 hours wrapped in foil at 225F and 1 hour slathered in this Kansas City BBQ sauce recipe at 225F.

Low & Slow.

You'll be basting these BBQ ribs during the first 3 hours with a cider mop, 3 parts apple cider to 1 part cider vinegar.

After 3 hours you'll wrap the ribs in foil and pour a little mop sauce in the foil with the ribs to keep them nice and moist as they continue cooking at 225F.

After that, out of the foil and slather on the BBQ Sauce for the last hour's sticky finishing touches at 225F.

Check out the video below to see how easy it is to cook these Kansas City style BBQ Pork Ribs (sorry for the length of the video, it was my first attempt several years ago!)

Tuck in your bib cause things are gonna get sticky!

› Kansas City style BBQ Ribs

Serves: 4 (2 racks)

Prep time: 5 minutes (if rub already prepared)

Cook time: 6 hours

Indirect Heat: 225F

Note: for best results let this BBQ ribs recipe sit covered overnight in the BBQ dry rub

What you'll need:

For the Mop:

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider


  • 2 cups hickory smoking chips soaked in water
  • disposable aluminum pan
  • 1 rib cooking rack (optional - holds them vertically on BBQ)

Note: for this BBQ ribs recipe use back ribs as they're meatier than side ribs

preparing pork back ribs

Step 1:
Prepare the pork ribs for the dry rub by placing the ribs on a cutting board bone side up.

There is a membrane (also called silver-skin or fell) that needs to be removed unless your butcher has already done this.

Work the end of a spoon or other prying instrument in between the membrane and a rib bone towards the narrow end of the rack.

As you lift with the spoon you should be able to work enough of the membrane away from the ribs so you can grasp it with your fingers.

It's easier to use a paper towel to grasp this as it holds the slippery membrane better.

Pull the membrane away from the ribs and discard. Trim off any loose pieces of meat/fat.

ribs with dry rub

Step 2:
Divide each rib rack in two so you have 4 pieces.

Rub the All American BBQ dry rub recipe completely over all surfaces of the ribs.

Place the rub covered ribs in a large glass dish and cover with plastic wrap.

Refrigerate for 24 hours.

rib rack

Step 3:
Remove the ribs from the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature.

Soak two cups of hickory wood chips in water (or apple juice or cider), or use a handful of hickory smoking pellets.

Oil a rib rack or spray with non-stick spray (optional).

Prepare the BBQ for indirect heat and place an aluminum pan with water (or cider) beneath the grate.

Preheat the grill to 225F.

cooking ribs on the big green egg

Place each rack of ribs in the rib rack so there's air space between each rack.

Put a handful of hickory wood chips or smoking pellets on the hot coals.

Note: if using a gas grill then use a smoker box or foil smoking pouch, heat grill to high and once smoke appears reduce the grill to 225F.

Place the rib rack with ribs on the grate over the pan of water (or cider) and close the lid.

If you're not using a rib rack then place the ribs bone side down on the grates.

spray ribs on bbq to keep moist

Step 4:
Every hour raise the grill lid briefly, mist or spoon the ribs with the cider mop and close the lid.

ribs wrapped in foil

After the first 3 hours it's time to wrap the ribs in foil.

Place each rib section meat side down on a large sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil.

Pull the sides of the foil up slightly and pour a little of the cider mop sauce in with the ribs.

Seal the foil, put the ribs back on the BBQ and close the lid for another 2 hours.

Sometimes the ribs are ready in foil in less than 2 hours so check after an hour with a bamboo skewer, stick it in the meat to test for doneness.

If ready then go to the next step now.

cooking ribs in foil

Step 5:
After 2 hours of being wrapped in foil it's time to remove the ribs and place them uncovered meaty side up on the grill.

ribs slathered in sauce

At this stage the ribs should be almost finished, you'll notice the meat shrinking back from the ends of the bone about a 1/4" or so.

Slather on the Kansas City BBQ sauce recipe to the meat side.

Close the lid and cook another 60 minutes.

When the last hour is up, remove the beautiful sticky ribs from the BBQ and serve immediately.


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› Kansas City style BBQ Ribs

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