Grilled Ribs With Salt & Pepper

June 13, 2019
15 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 1 (but can be easily scaled up)
Author Notes

This is my father's specialty—and the single thing he knows how to cook in the world. Growing up in the South, we were surrounded by American families who fed us sweet and saucy baby back ribs, but in our own home, my dad liked his ribs super simple: salt, pepper, grilled. Nothing else. Maybe a dish of sesame oil on the side for dipping. We'd eat these bare-bones ribs with white rice and a spicy scallion salad my mother would prepare—but for the most part, the star of the night was, indelibly, the ribs. What happens when you don't sauce your baby back ribs? Beautiful things, like: 1) You can actually taste the pork and appreciate its gamey flavor and 2) There's no low-and-slow cooking here whatsoever; these ribs grill up hot and fast, perfect for lazy summer weekends with the fam.

For the scallion salad in the photograph, I like this recipe: —Eric Kim

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: How to Cook Ribs on the Grill. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 pound pork baby back ribs, cut into individual ribs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • White rice, for serving
  1. Salt and pepper the ribs liberally, then throw them onto a hot grill until slightly charred on the outside and cooked through (the pork should have an internal temperature of 145°F). Enjoy with white rice and an ice-cold beer.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Stacy Isabel
    Stacy Isabel
  • caarin
  • DC's Place
    DC's Place
  • Briar Rose
    Briar Rose
Eric Kim was the Table for One columnist at Food52. He is currently working on his first cookbook, KOREAN AMERICAN, to be published by Clarkson Potter in 2022. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can find his bylines at The New York Times, where he works now as a writer. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @ericjoonho.

5 Reviews

Stacy I. September 6, 2019
this is exactly how my portuguese mother has always made ribs. Salty, savory, and super-duper pork-y. Coarse sea salt, black pepper sometimes she gets wild and adds some pepper flakes.
caarin September 1, 2019
Insanely good. Made for company with kids (who couldn’t stop eating them!) Paired with a grilled corn-feta-tomato salad, green salad and a raw zucchini pecorino salad. There are a million recipes out there that tell you to spend your entire weekend making ribs. Try this one! The flavor of the meat does all the work. So easy. So fast. And delicious! I’m still dreaming about them the next day.
DC's P. July 20, 2019
I love these ribs! I baked them in a 400 degree oven for 40-45 minutes, which produced ribs of fantastic flavor with nice tooth-i-ness. Served them with rice, along with Crooks Corner peaches, from this site and a terrific dinner was had by all!
Briar R. July 10, 2019
I truly doubted and had serious reservations about this recipe, but I also had a rack of ribs that wasn't going to fit in the freezer. I should not have doubted at all; these ribs were stellar! Huge return on the tiny investment of time and effort and almost non-existent ingredient list. They were perfect paired with a Brooklyn Summer ale, eaten under a shade tree with the breeze blowing off lake Ontario. I can't wait to make these for company!
Cary June 18, 2019
Absolutely delicious! We forgot all about the dipping sauces I had ready, the generous salt and pepper made them fantastic!