Char-Smoked Baby Back Ribs

“Using a chargrill and smoke combo, you can create this really soulful, comforting flavor pretty easily,” says chef Sean Brock of Husk and McCrady’s in Charleston, South Carolina. After getting a nice crust on these ribs, Brock converts his grill into a smoker and finishes the meat low-and-slow in a cocoon of smoke, which gently breaks down the meat. Cooking note: Please allow time for overnight brining.

Featured in: The New Grilling Essentials

What You Will Need

Char-Smoked Baby Back Ribs Char-Smoked Baby Back Ribs
A two-part cooking technique—first grilling, then smoking—leads to tender meat with layers of flavor in these beautifully barked baby back ribs.
Yield: serves 6
Time: 2 hours


  • 14 cup kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tbsp. sorghum syrup
  • 2 (3-lb.) racks pork baby back ribs
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp. peanut oil
  • 10 scallions, trimmed
  • 1 cup Sean Brock’s Secret Weapon, or store-bought barbecue sauce
  • 1 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp. Bourbon Barrel Bluegrass Soy Sauce ($8 at


  1. Heat 14 cup salt and 8 cups water in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high; stir until salt has dissolved, 2–3 minutes. Remove from heat and add syrup. Let brine cool completely and then pour into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Place ribs in brine, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Build a medium-heat fire in a charcoal grill. Drain ribs and pat dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper. Grill ribs, turning as needed, until charred on both sides and tender, about 1 hour; set ribs aside.
  3. Toss peanut oil, scallions, and salt in a bowl; grill scallions, turning once, until heavily charred on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender with barbecue sauce, cilantro, and soy sauce; purée until smooth and set sauce aside.
  4. Prepare grill and smoke ribs according to directions in How to Transform your Grill into a Smoker. Transfer ribs to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes; slather with reserved barbecue sauce. Cut ribs into individual pieces and transfer to a serving platter.

Pairing note: The 2013 Palmina Dolcetto ($20;, from Santa Ynez Valley, California, is a light, natural pairing for rich meats. Serve slightly chilled. Or, if you prefer a beer, a Rogue stout or Jolly Pumpkin La Roja sour ale are good bets.”—Vilma Mazaite, director of wine at laV; Austin, Texas