How to Grill Ribs on Charcoal Fast: Quick and Delicious BBQ

Published By Kevin Turner

Last Updated Feb 5, 2024 is reader-supported. If you buy something using the links on our site, we might earn an affiliate commission at no added cost to you. This helps us pay our staff to keep making awesome content for you!

Grill Ribs on Charcoal
Table of Contents

    Grilling the perfect rack of ribs over a bed of glowing charcoal is something akin to an art form, and let’s be real – we’ve all been tempted by that mouthwatering smoky scent wafting from the grill.

    But who has time to spend half the day tending to those succulent slabs? That’s precisely why I’ve honed a technique that delivers finger-licking BBQ ribs astonishingly fast. And here’s a little secret just between us: I had those ribs sizzling on my plate in under an hour! So, grab your aprons and fire starters – today, we’re grilling with gusto and getting to those heavenly bites quicker than you ever thought possible!

    Key Takeaways

    • Prepare ribs by removing the membrane and generously seasoning with a dry rub to ensure flavor penetration.
    • Preheat grill to high heat for quick cooking, using indirect heat to cook ribs evenly without burning, followed by a direct high heat sear for caramelization.
    • Use wood chips for added smoky flavor and consider utilizing a pressure cooker to reduce overall cooking time before finishing ribs on the grill.
    • Experiment with various rub options like McCormick Grill Mates or homemade blends to create unique taste profiles for your BBQ ribs.
    • Apply BBQ sauce near the end of grilling and allow ribs to rest before serving to enhance flavor and ensure juiciness.


    Quick and Easy Baby Back Ribs Recipe

    For a quick and easy baby back ribs recipe, all you need are some baby back ribs, your favorite BBQ rub or seasoning, and some barbecue sauce for finishing. The key to delicious and tender ribs is in the grilling technique! Ready to fire up the grill? Let’s get cooking!


    I always make sure I have everything I need before firing up my charcoal grill. Here’s a list of ingredients I gather to ensure my baby back ribs turn out both quick and delicious:


    • 2 racks of baby back ribs: This is the star of the show, enough to serve a hungry group.
    • Olive oil: A light coat helps the rub stick to the ribs and adds a touch of flavor.
    • Dry rub seasoning: Whether it’s McCormick Grill Mates or your favorite blend, this gives the ribs their BBQ character.
    • Barbecue sauce: Choose a quality sauce for basting and serving; it brings that classic BBQ sweetness and tang.
    • Salt and pepper: Simple but essential for enhancing the natural taste of the meat.
    • Wood chips (optional): If you like a smoky flavor, soak them in water before adding to the charcoal.
    • Aluminum foil: Useful for wrapping the ribs if you choose to use indirect grilling techniques.



    To prepare quick and delicious grilled ribs on charcoal, follow these simple directions:


    1. Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs using a butter knife and paper towel.
    2. Season the ribs generously with your favorite BBQ rub, ensuring even coverage on both sides.
    3. Preheat the grill to high heat, around 375 – 400°F for fast cooking.
    4. Place the ribs over indirect heat on the grill and close the lid to cook for about 45 minutes.
    5. After 45 minutes, move the ribs directly over high heat to sear and caramelize for an additional 10 – 15 minutes, flipping as needed.
    6. Use a meat thermometer to ensure an internal temperature of at least 190°F for tender and juicy ribs.
    7. Once done, let the ribs rest for 5 – 10 minutes before serving hot off the grill.


    Basic Technique for Grilling Ribs

    To grill ribs quickly and easily, it’s important to prepare the ribs properly, preheat the grill, and cook the ribs using high heat. This basic technique will ensure that your charcoal-grilled ribs come out tender and flavorful in no time.

    Preparing the ribs

    I start by removing the membrane from the back of the ribs using a paper towel for better grip. Then, I season both sides generously with my favorite dry rub and let them sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before grilling.

    This helps the flavor to penetrate the meat and gives me juicy, tender ribs every time.

    Once seasoned, I ensure that the grill is preheated to high heat before placing the ribs on it. This initial blast of high heat sears in the flavor and creates a delicious crust on the outside while keeping everything moist inside.

    Preheating the grill

    After preparing the ribs, preheating the grill is essential for achieving that perfect sear and juicy interior. I start by lighting the charcoal and allowing it to burn until a thin layer of ash forms on the briquettes.

    Once ready, I spread out the coals evenly across one side of the grill to create direct and indirect heat zones. This method will ensure a consistent temperature during cooking while leaving space to maneuver and adjust as needed for quick grilled ribs over high heat.

    Ensuring that your grill is properly preheated before cooking your ribs will result in deliciously charred and succulent meat with minimal effort.

    Cooking the ribs

    To cook the ribs, place them on the preheated grill directly over the hot coals. Keep the grill lid open as you cook the ribs to let the smoke escape and maintain high heat for a nice sear.


    • Rotate the ribs occasionally to ensure even cooking and to prevent burning.
    • Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness, ensuring it registers at least 145°F before removing from the grill.
    • Once cooked, remove the ribs from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes before serving.


    Flavorful Rubs for Grilled Ribs

    Discover the best rubs to elevate the flavor of your grilled ribs, including McCormick Grill Mates Slow and Low Memphis Pit BBQ Rub and other options to tantalize your taste buds.

    McCormick Grill Mates Slow and Low Memphis Pit BBQ Rub

    I use the McCormick Grill Mates Slow and Low Memphis Pit BBQ Rub for my grilled ribs. It adds a delicious smoky flavor with just the right amount of spice. I generously coat the ribs with this rub before grilling to achieve that authentic barbecue taste.

    Other rub options

    When choosing a rub for your grilled ribs, consider these flavorful options:


    1. Kansas City-style BBQ Rub: This blend usually includes brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, and other spices for a sweet and slightly spicy flavor.
    2. Cajun Rub: A mix of paprika, cayenne pepper, thyme, and other herbs that adds a zesty kick to your ribs.
    3. Garlic and Herb Rub: A combination of garlic powder, onion powder, rosemary, and thyme for a savory and aromatic profile.
    4. Asian-inspired Rub: Incorporating ingredients like soy sauce, ginger, and Chinese five-spice powder for a unique twist on traditional barbecue flavors.
    5. Smoky Chipotle Rub: A blend of chipotle peppers, smoked paprika, cumin, and brown sugar for a bold and smoky taste.


    Tips for Fast Grilled Ribs

    – Use indirect heat for even cooking and to prevent burning.

    – Sear the ribs on high heat at the end of grilling for a delicious crust.

    – Consider using a pressure cooker to significantly reduce cooking time while still achieving tender, flavorful ribs.

    Use indirect heat

    To grill ribs on charcoal fast, position the coals to one side of the grill and place a drip pan on the other side. This indirect heat method allows for slower, more even cooking without direct exposure to flames.

    With this setup, I can cook the ribs low and slow, ensuring tender meat with a delicious smoky flavor.

    Once the coals are ready and the grill is preheated, I’ll place the seasoned ribs over the drip pan away from direct heat. By doing so, I’ll be able to maintain an ideal temperature inside the grill while preventing flare-ups and charring.

    It’s a simple yet effective technique that delivers mouthwatering results every time.

    Sear the ribs on high heat

    To sear the ribs on high heat, place them directly over the hot coals and cook for a few minutes on each side. This will help to caramelize the surface of the meat, creating a flavorful crust while sealing in the juices.

    The high heat also adds a smoky char that enhances the overall taste of your grilled ribs.

    After searing, move the ribs to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking through without burning. This quick searing method locks in flavor and moisture before slow-cooking, resulting in succulent and delicious BBQ ribs within no time.

    Use a pressure cooker for even faster cooking

    To speed up the cooking process even more, a pressure cooker can be used to achieve tender and flavorful ribs in a fraction of the time. This method is especially useful when you’re short on time but still want to enjoy delicious barbeque ribs.

    By using a pressure cooker, you can significantly reduce the cooking time while retaining the juiciness and tenderness of the meat. It’s a great option for those looking to have mouthwatering ribs without spending hours tending to the grill.

    When utilizing a pressure cooker, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure safe and effective cooking. The high-pressure environment inside the cooker allows for quick tenderization and infusion of flavors into the meat, resulting in perfectly cooked ribs in no time at all.

    Grilled Ribs Recipe

    Applying the rub and grilling the ribs to perfection is key for a delicious BBQ experience. For more tips and details, keep reading!

    Applying the rub

    I carefully pat the ribs dry with paper towels. Then, I generously apply the flavorful rub, making sure to coat all sides of the ribs. I press the rub into the meat to ensure it adheres well during grilling.

    Once I’ve applied the rub, I let the ribs sit for a few minutes to allow the flavors to penetrate before placing them on the grill. This step is crucial for achieving that perfect balance of smoky, sweet, and savory flavors in every delicious bite of these grilled ribs.

    Moving on to “Grilling and serving the ribs,” let’s talk about how to cook these mouthwatering ribs over high heat quickly and efficiently.

    Grilling and serving the ribs

    After the ribs have been cooked to perfection, it’s time to apply a delicious glaze or BBQ sauce. Carefully brush both sides of the ribs and return them to the grill for a few more minutes to let the flavors caramelize. Once done, remove the ribs from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.


    1. Apply an even layer of your favorite BBQ sauce or glaze on both sides of the grilled ribs.
    2. Return the sauced ribs to the grill over medium heat for 5 – 7 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
    3. Carefully monitor the ribs as they cook, ensuring that the sauce does not burn.
    4. Remove the glazed ribs from the grill and allow them to rest for 5 – 10 minutes before slicing.



    In conclusion, grilling ribs on charcoal can be quick and delicious. Following a few simple steps, like preparing the ribs and preheating the grill, makes it easy. Adding flavorful rubs and using high heat for speedy cooking will result in mouthwatering BBQ ribs.

    With these techniques, you can enjoy a fast and satisfying BBQ meal any time.


    1. What’s the fastest way to grill ribs on charcoal?

    To grill ribs fast over charcoal, use the hot and fast method by cooking them at high heat for a shorter time than traditional slow cooking.

    2. Can I still get delicious BBQ ribs if I cook them quickly?

    Yes, with a quick BBQ rib recipe and efficient grilling technique, you can achieve delicious BBQ dishes in less time.

    3. How do I prepare my charcoal grill for rapid rib cooking?

    Start your charcoal grilling process by heating up your grill to a high temperature before placing the ribs on so they cook rapidly and evenly.

    4. Are there special recipes for quick and easy grilled rib preparation?

    There are many speedy rib cooking methods and quick BBQ meals recipes designed specifically for fast grilling while keeping the taste delicious.

    5. What tips should I follow to ensure my fast-grilled ribs turn out perfect?

    Use these charcoal grilled tips: keep an eye on the heat level, flip your ribs occasionally, apply sauce near the end of grilling, and let them rest briefly before serving!

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    Kevin Turner
    Hi there, I'm Kevin Turner, Founder and CEO of I started this website to share my passion and knowledge with you. You can leverage my years of experience as a pit master and professional to grill great food!

    About The Grilling Master

    Hi there, I'm Kevin Turner, Founder and CEO of

    My passion has always been grilling, smoking and BBQ delicious meats that satisfy my inner carnivore!

    I started this website to share my passion and knowledge with you, the hungry reader who wants to prepare the perfect meal. 

    You can leverage my years of experience as a pit master and professional. 

    Send me a message and let's connect on Twitter here.

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