Rib Tips: Cooking Baby-Backs in The Big Easy® Smoker Roaster & Grill by Char-Broil®

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Phil is an experienced outdoor cook who also created a successful spice and seasoning company. He joined the Char-Broil Community Forums after purchasing a Gourmet™ 4 Burner Gas Grill by Char-Broil® and wanted to learn more about using it.  He’s since made many contributions to the community with tips, tricks and advice learned from his many years as an outdoor cooking enthusiast.  Recently he purchased his second Char-Broil® cooker – The Big Easy® Smoker Roaster & Grill by Char-Broil® — based upon all of the good reviews he’d read on the Forum from other members he’s come to know and trust.  Today, he’s sharing his “first time cooking pork ribs” in his new cooker. Thanks Phil and Welcome to the Cookout!

~ Barry CB Martin


Better view of the ribs hanging in the basket for the cook.

“For my second time using the The Big Easy® Smoker Roaster & Grill by Char-Broil®, I decided to prepare ribs – based upon all the reports I’ve read here on the forum. To prepare the ribs, I slathered the racks with Carolina Treet and Awake-a-Steak seasoning, and allowed those flavors to marry overnight in the fridge. The next afternoon, I used the hooks to place the ribs in the cooking basket and started them on high for 20 minutes, then reduced the heat to low. It was slightly windy out, but they finished in about two hours.

I removed the ribs from the basket and wrapped each rack in foil and a towel for two hours in a cooler.  After removing the cooked ribs from the basket, I sauced half and left the others plain.  We liked both. They were juicy, delicious and crunchy at the same time.  Certainly a little different than ribs I’ve prepared in my Green Egg, but so much quicker and easier.   I think a Boston butt is next.

~ Phil

45 thoughts on “Rib Tips: Cooking Baby-Backs in The Big Easy® Smoker Roaster & Grill by Char-Broil®

  1. Before grilling these ribs on the Big Easy (I have one myself and love it) was the membrain on the back of the ribs removed? Is this membrain needed to keep the ribs from falling off the hooks while cooking?

    1. I always remove the membrane. It is like shoe leather if you leave it and cook it on. Some people score it and leave it on but I find it much better to take it off when preparing the ribs. It takes a little practice but once you get the hang of it its easy. Hint…use a fork or dull knife to get it started then use a paper towel to grab it to peel it off. It is slippery and hard to hold with just your fingers.

  2. You mentioned that you cooked the ribs in the Big Easy SRG & you started out with the flame on high, then thrned it down to low. I just have the original Big Easy. Will this work for me also by starting on high for about 20 minutes, then turning down to low for the rest of the time?

  3. I’ll respond to a couple of the comments since I have the original Big Easy and the SRG version also. I always take the membrane off and have no problem with the hooks not holding as they go all the way thru the meat to the other side. I would highly recommend NOT turning down the heat on the original Big Easy because it could go out and is not designed to vary the temp nor is it necessary. 99.9% of my cooks on my SRG and TBE ar done wide open. That’s one of the beauties of IR cooking is it is done at high temps with no adverse impact on the meat. Dee

  4. I have both the original Big Easy and the New Smoker. I love them both bit I use the BESRG more. When I got it, my wife bought me all the accessories including the grill grate which basically turns the Smoker into a small grill. I have to admit, when cooking for just the 2 of us, I use SRG more than my regular big Char-Broil® grill. It is great for steaks, chicken and burgers.
    For ribs I just remove the grill top and use the basket with rib hooks. They come out great every time. I also have the shish kabob attachment which is amazing. No more turning skewers and dealing with my diner falling off into the grill. The vertical skewers are genius.

  5. I wanted to try making ribs on my Big Easy SRG. I have owned it for three years and love it for turkeys at Thanksgiving and for everyday grilling. So, I ordered the rib hooks and when they arrived, I got out the four racks of baby backs I had stashed in the freezer.

    I found these directions and followed them as best I could. These directions leave out a lot of info so I had to guess as to leaving the lid open or shut. I started out with high heat for 20 minutes with the lid closed. They looked charred already when I checked them and turned down the heat to low. I wanted to smoke the ribs, so I added wood to the little box on the side. There was not enough heat to make smoke with the setting of low. I got my digital meat thermometer and dropped it into the Big Easy. I turned up the heat till the temp stayed around 300. I got smoke. after 3 hours, I took them out and they are very crispy and black. Way over done. We have quests coming to dinner and I am embarrassed to serve these over cooked black ribs. They are resting in the tin foil and towel wrap right now. Where did I go wrong?????

    1. Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear that. There’s a good recipe in your SRG manual for baby back ribs and a section about smoking. Fill the smoker box, ignite the SRG, set it to HIGH and close the lid. The wood chips will heat up and smoke after 5-10 minutes. Once the chips start to smoke, lower the temperature to LOW and place the basket with your ribs in it into the chamber. Leave the lid up to keep the temperature down. Cook until the internal temperature is 145 degrees Fahrenheit. It may take anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half, depending on how thick your ribs and how many you are cooking.

      For extra tender ribs, you can wrap them in aluminum foil and place them back in the cooking basket for about 30 minutes on LOW.

        1. Hi Buzz, the wood chips will continue to smoke after the initial 5-10 starting period where the SRG is kept on high. Keeping the lid up allows the smoke to continue to flow over the ribs during the entire cooking process without burning through the wood chips before the ribs are done.

    2. Hello Judy,

      I just used my Big Easy for the first time today 4-16-6, I cooked pork ribs. I cooked just a little below hi and my ribs were done in 1 hour and 15 minutes. If you cooked them even on low for 3 hours that is way too long. I literally timed my cooking and it was more like 1 hour and 8 minutes. To test where they were done I remove the basket with the ribs for 2 minutes and used the thermonter and it read done (label on thermoter says pork and temperture for done. They were perfect. My guess says they never tasted ribs so juicy and tender. They were awesome and made me look very good. I also grilled chicken quarters, hamburgers and hotdogs.. I used the smoke hickory chips for all of it. AWESOME!!!!!! EVERYTHING!!!

    3. I cooked ribs in mine yesterday for Father’s day and had several people over. What I did was. The day before i prepared my ribs with a dry rib rub covered with foil and placed in fridge. Fathers day prepared my grill. I put wood in the fire box, turned on high with lid closed for 15 minutes. At that time I was preparing the ribs. Cut whole racks in half and hung from basket with rib hooks “bone side out”. Meat side towards inside of basket. Cooked on medium until temp of ribs reached 160 degrees. This was approx. 40-45 minutes. Took ribs out and removed hooks and coated ribs with BBQ sauce. Then “double wrapped” them in the same foil I used the day before . Not to waste foil. (As my wife said) lol. Put ribs back in basket and cooked on low heat with lid closed for 1 hour 45 minutes. Removed from cooker let stand in foil for 15 minutes recoated with BBQ and served. Everyone said they were the best ribs they ever had. You could pull the bones right out of the meat. I have also cooked turkeys and it is the only way family and friends will eat it now. They request it every thanksgiving. and Boston Butts in this cooker and have made pulled BBQ.

  6. I am about to cook some pork ribs on the big easy. I put rub on them, but I am unsure about the process of putting barbecue sauce on them once they’re cooked. Any suggestions out there?

  7. I have cooked ribs in the Big Easy and have a problem with the lower ribs in the basket burning. How do I keep this from happening? Thanks!

  8. I’m confused. Most of the comments seemed to refer to variations on the original Big Easy. In simple terms for me, other than the rib hooks, are there any tips for cooking ribs? Finally, what are original Big Easy users doing to get the smoked taste on their meat? Thanks.

    1. you can use a half basket to lay the ribs flat. Cut the slab in half and lay half on the bottom of the main cooking basket and half on the half basket. OR you can try wrapping the slab around the inside of the basket, so that the slab is on its side, leaning against the inside walls of the cooking basket.

      Are you using The Big Easy Oil-less turkey fryer or The Big Easy Smoker, Roaster and Grill? The fryer does not have the capability to add wood chips for a natural smoke flavor, but you could try adding a liquid smoke to your marinade for a smoky flavor. With the Smoker, Roaster and Grill, you can add wood chips for a smoky flavor.

  9. When smoking or just cooking ribs should I leave the lid up after starting on high and then using the low setting?

  10. I’m confused on what parts you need to oil before the first use? There is a large metal basket that fits inside the chamber and then the wire basket. What need to be oiled?

    1. You should only ned to oil the inside drum.You can use regular cooking coil. Pour a little on a paper towel and rub the inside drum. You can add a little oil to the basket where your meat will sit so that it doesn’t stick, but you don’t have to.

    1. You can lay the country style ribs flat in the basket. If you have a half basket, you can lay them flat in the half basket, as well as the bottom of the main cooking basket. Or, try the boneless rib hooks that are included in the 22-Piece Accessory Kit (Model 7238884).

  11. Hello! I have a big easy oil less turkey fryer. Approximately how many pounds of baby back ribs do you think I could cook at one time with the rib hooks? Also, how long should I cook the baby back ribs per pound? Thanks in advance!

  12. I cooked babybacks on the BEESR yesterday, bone side toward the drum, 6 x 1/2 slabs. I put 4 on hooks and 2 thickest wrapped around the inner basket, bone side toward the drum. Used Pecan, hickory and apple chips… good flavor. Overall good, but the ones on the bottom of the basket were not fully cooked and the thin ones on the hooks maybe a tad over cooked, but not bad.

    I’ll try putting thinner ones on the bottom and thicker ones on the hooks next time.

    Cooked for 1.5 hours after smoke started on 9 and 11 for 30 min.

    Then wrapped in tinfoil and backed in the oven for another hour.

    They were very good, except for the under-done ones.

    1. Hi Ronnie, a set of large tongs or a cooking fork should work as well for placing the ribs in the cooking basket.

  13. When you use the aluminum foil to wrap the ribs for further cooking, do you still use the rib hooks to hang the foil- clad ribs?

    1. Hi David, you do not need the rib hooks for hanging the foil-clad ribs as wrapping the foil-clad ribs in a towel and placing them in a cooler allows the meat to continue to cook and tenderize through insulation.

      1. Could you please clarify, once the ribs are cooked completely you remove them and add sauce. Then you wrap them in foil and a towel and place them in a cooler (no ice I assume)? Thanks

        1. Hi Julie, you want to place foil-wrapped ribs in an empty cooler with no ice. This allows them to continue cooking with only internal temperatures, giving them time to cook in their own juices and become tender.

  14. CharBroil,

    Can you recommend a good rib rub that is sold in N/E TN and where it can be purchased? Thanks!

  15. Today is my first day to use the SRG. My wife asked me to cook loin back ribs. I found some very meaty Hormel loin back ribs ( best if at least 1″ thick on spine side) and prepared them by removing membrane and any hanging meat and remove silver skin strips. Next I prepared the ribs with a rub on rib side lightly and meat side heavy. Rap in clear wrap and refrigerate over night. Now the big day, just follow the Char-Broil instructions. The key to good loin back ribs is in the preparation.
    After cooking ribs for over 60 years and 35 years working in the pork industry , this was the easiest way to get outstanding ribs. I so excited to try more pork products (The Other White Meat). I could be talked into cooking a standing prim roast.

  16. So for the first time cooking ribs on my Big Easy SRG, I will say this grill has a ton of potential once you figure it out for smoking. I love this purchase so far if anything else for the grilling. So now on to the ribs and using the smoking option. I followed the instructions listed at the top of the forum from Char-Broil. Using the rib hooks and leaving the lid open I was able to achieve rib success in about 2.5 hours. Having both a tested true grill thermometer and meat thermometer, the grill stayed between 200 and 215 degrees on low (lid open). I cooked the ribs until about 155 degrees and then removed, basted in BBQ sauce, wrapped in heavy duty foil and returned to basket for about 30-45 minutes. The meat and texture turned out great. I do believe not returning the ribs to the basket wrapped in foil would have left the texture a little chewy and the sauce not caramelized. Also ribs become most tender around 180-190 degrees although 145 degrees is the min. Long story short, ribs were fantastic!!!

    One improvement to make this a better smoker for future redesigns. The SRG could easily have 2-3 smoker boxes around the sides allowing you to change them out without losing smoke for a period of time. The single smoker box only allows 30-45 min of smoke and must be emptied during your grill. This leaves several minutes between change outs without smoke. With lid open to achieve lower temps, having multiple boxes would be fantastic. This would to me be an easier design adjustment versus trying to figure out how to lower the gas flow low enough using a single coil burner design to achieve 200 degree range.

    Keep up the good work though. For the price and versatility, you cannot complain. Whole chickens and a turkey are up next.

    1. Hi Preston, thank you very much for your comments! We are very glad that you enjoy your Big Easy SRG!

  17. When cooking ribs is the meat portion toward the outside of the cooker or facing the middle of the cooker?

  18. Char-Bruil,
    Are you sure about the meat side of ribs facing the chamber wall toward the burner? This contradicts what every poster has said on this forum. They all say face the bone side out and meat side toward inside of cooking basket?

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