These Whole30 ribs are easy and cooked on the grill, making them a great Whole30 dinner! Smoky, spicy, and full of flavor, they’re delicious with my Whole30 BBQ sauce. Definitely the perfect Whole30 ribs or Whole30 dinner now that football season is upon us!
I’m a terrible Memphian. Or maybe I’m the best?
Up until recently, I’d never made ribs myself. Why would I? With dozens, maybe hundreds, of fantastic BBQ joints in town, fitted with veritable pitmasters, why would I take that on? It’s like opting to stay in and boil a box of bucatini when you’re vacationing in Rome. Yeah, don’t.
Like I mentioned in my Whole30 BBQ sauce recipe post, I’ve always opted for ribs when BBQ’s on the table. Pulled pork sandwiches are underwhelming at best to me, likely due to the sheer ubiquity of the dish here. But ribs are a different story: rich and spicy and heavily seasoned, they’re perfect with or without the extra sauce ornamenting your BBQ shop table, sandwiched between the ironically thin diner-style napkins and the three-year-old bottles of peppers in vinegar.
Ribs are so primal and satisfying, real food at its finest. It made sense that I’d crave them on a Whole30.
But thing is… of course, almost all BBQ rubs and BBQ sauces contain sugar, among other non-compliant ingredients. Translation? It’s on me to satisfy that rib craving on a Whole30 or paleo diet.
I was inspired when I saw pork ribs on sale at Sprouts, stacking my plastic-wrapped slabs three high on the conveyor belt. The woman next to me was doing the same, and we took turns darting back to the meat department for more, egging each other one to take full advantage of the deal.
Without a smoker at home (or hours of my life to spare), I entrusted O with grilling our dinner. To prep the rack, I started by whisking together a bold blend of spices, leaving out the omnipresent sugar and making up for the lack of smoke flavor from the grill by including a generous helping of chipotle chili powder. After smothering the ribs in my spice blend, I layered the rack halves on top of each other and wrapped them up in a foil package. Onto the grill they went, and an hour of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (and a batch of my Whole30 BBQ sauce) later, tada! Whole30 ribs with Whole30 BBQ sauce ready to be devoured.
These Whole30 ribs are a great late summer and early fall Whole30 dinner, especially now that football season is almost upon us. Of course, they go perfectly with my Whole30 BBQ sauce, but you could use a compliant brand like Tessemae’s, as well.
To make these Whole30 ribs, I used…
Whole30 Ribs (Grilled)
- 3 pounds pork baby back ribs cut in half
- 1 tablespoon Whole30 BBQ rub see recipe below
- 1 cup BBQ sauce Whole30 BBQ sauce
Whole30 BBQ Rub
- 1/2 tablespoon cumin powder
- 1/2 tablespoon paprika powder
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
- 1/2 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
- 1 pinch - 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (if you use 1/4 teaspoon it will be very spicy!)
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper black
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper white
- 4 teaspoons salt kosher
- 1 teaspoon oil olive
- Preheat a gas grill for high heat. Lightly oil the grate.
- In a small bowl, combine cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chipotle chili powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, white pepper, and salt.
- Trim the membrane sheath from the back of each rack. Run a small, sharp knife between the membrane and each rib, and snip off the membrane as much as possible.
- Sprinkle the rub evenly over both sides of ribs until totally coated; do not rub in. Stack one half of the ribs on top of the other and place on a large piece of foil. Fold up foil and seal, then place on top rack of grill. Reduce heat to low, close lid, and leave undisturbed for 1 hour. Do not lift the lid!
- After an hour, open foil and place rib rack halves directly on grill. Brush ribs with barbecue sauce, and grill an additional 5 minutes. Serve as a half rack or cut ribs in between bones to serve individually. Serve with additional BBQ sauce.
Cheryl Malik is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind the healthy, flavorful, family friendly recipes at 40 Aprons. She’s been a blogger for 10+ years and is known for her delicious recipes and detailed recipe instructions. Cheryl is a mom of three who lives in Memphis, TN.