Ribs – Should You Place The Bone Up Or Down?

Sharing is caring!

When it comes to cooking ribs, then you’ll need to make sure that you get the results just right. Getting the right texture on your barbeque is very important.

You’ll want something that is ultimately very juicy and succulent.

Ribs - Should You Place The Bone Up Or Down

But how much difference can the placement of the bones really make to the final quality of your meat? Well, the answer is quite a significant amount.

This will relate to the direction of the heat source and how roasted your meat is.

So what is the best position for your ribs – bones up or bones down? How else can you affect the final quality of your meat? How can you get the ideal rib texture?

Well, if you want the answer to this and a whole lot more, then we would suggest that you keep reading.

What Is The Best Position For Ribs – Up Or Down?

Let’s cut to the chase when it comes to the all-important question – which is the best method to place your ribs? Put simply, it is much better to place your boned side facing down.

This is because it will be better to have the heat source coming from the grill to indirectly heat the meat itself.

This is so that the heat from the barbeque itself will travel up and infuse the bones with that extra smokey flavor.

This is because ribs are very fatty meat and will need to be cooked indirectly over heat. Indirect heat will be the best method of tenderizing this portion of the ribs.

If you are placing your ribs too close to the fire, then you might experience a charring on your meat which will prevent the internal meat from becoming more tender.

However, if you put your ribs too far away from the meat, then it will simply take a very long time to cook properly and might turn out underdone.

But you also need to bear in mind that there are many different types of ribs, each one comes with a different texture and consistency and will need to be approached in a different way when it comes to cooking.

So what are these different cuts of meat? We’re going to give you a brief overview of each one to show you how they should be cooked.

Spare Ribs

These ribs are usually cut from the underbelly of the hog, which means that the meat will be very rich and fatty. This will mean that you’ll need to cook the meat more over indirect heat so that it doesn’t sear.

This meat is often cut from the same section of the pig as bacon, so you’ll experience the same flavors when you are cooking and eating spare ribs.

St. Louis Ribs

These are cut from excess cartilage and breastbone, they are usually trimmed into a rectangular shape. This will make them much easier to cook evenly. They usually brown very well after cooking.

You can place these ones directly on the grill, which will leave grill marks that are great for presentation purposes.

Baby Back Ribs

This is very lean meat that is cut from the loin of the pig. This makes it much less fatty and much quicker to cook.

They come with a curved profile that makes them loom satisfying to the eye as well as the stomach.

Baby back ribs come with plenty of meat, and are definitely the more durable of all the cuts of meat that we have listed above.

You can a lot of edible meat from this type of cut, which makes them a great choice for barbeques.

You’ll need to make sure that when you are cooking baby back ribs you won’t be cooking them too high, as they will cook a lot quicker than spare ribs.

Make sure that you are using a temperature probe when cooking this stuff.

Ribs - Should You Place The Bone Up Or Down

Should You Smoke Ribs Bone Up Or Down?

Most people might think it natural for you to cook your ribs on the meatier side, as this will be the part that you want to eat.

However, because this meat is a lot fattier, then it will be much more difficult to tenderize the underneath. You also won’t lose that much moisture when you are smoking.

If you are smoking with the bones facing down, then you can be sure that the rich and smoky flavor will go through to the bones as well as the meat.

This means that when you are tucking into it, the taste will be delicious through all the segments of your ribs.

If you are also smoking your meat with the bones facing up, then you can also expect juices to form in the middle of the rack.

When this happens, the meat might actually get cooler, as the smoker will struggle to combat the natural evaporation.

You can allow the juices to cool in this manner, however, we would recommend that you only do this during the final 30 minutes of your grilling.

This will allow the juices to infuse with the meat without compromising the overall temperature.

You can also blend the juices of your meat in with whatever sauces that you are using, giving it that much richer and smokier flavor.

However, do not place these sauces over the heat for too long, as it will cause them to burn.

Ribs Wrapped In Tin Foil

Wrapping your ribs in tin foil is always a good method of both speeding up the cooking process and retaining the flavors so that they do not evaporate.

However, if you have wrapped your ribs, then you might be wondering how this will affect the flipping process.

There are many schools of thought on this issue, however, you’ll need to be aware that it won’t much matter which side you are grilling your ribs on, as the foil will often serve the purpose of holding all the juices in.

If you are wrapping your ribs in tin foil, you’ll need to be aware of leaving them in this wrapping for too long.

This is because the excess juices can actually leave your meat in a mushy condition, which will certainly not taste that nice.

However, you might not actually need to smoke your ribs at all. Leaving them open will be a great method of cooking them and being sure that all the juices are infusing with the meat naturally.

– Should the Bone in Ribs Be Placed Up or Down for Cooking?

When cooking ribs, the bone should be placed down to allow the meat to cook evenly. This method ensures the shank vs butt ham is cooked through and retains its flavor. Placing the bone side down also helps create a natural barrier that prevents the meat from drying out.

How To Smoke Great Ribs

Here are a few tips that we have collected for smoking your perfect ribs:

Preparing The Ideal Seasoning

whether you are using spices or a paste, you’ll need to make sure that you rub this into the meat for around 2 to 12 hours before you are cooking your ribs.

Indirect Heat Is Key

Remember that when you are smoking ribs that they will need to be placed over indirect heat. Ideally, you’ll need to have your grill at 225 degrees. You can have it much hotter than this, although you need to be aware of cooking the ribs too quickly.

Grill The Proper Way

When you are cooking ribs, you’ll want to make sure that only one side of the grill is being used. This will ensure that you have a cooling area where you can place the ribs if you feel they are getting too hot too quickly.

Don’t Cook Too Thoroughly

Make sure that you are not cooking your meat until it is sliding off the bone. This will result in the meat being far too dry when you come to serve it.

If you employ the methods that we have listed above, then you can be sure of having a decent texture and taste at the end of your grilling session.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The 3-2-1 Rule For Smoking Ribs?

This is the perfect method for cooking ribs without losing any moisture and allowing them to dry out.

You’ll need to put them on the grill at a low temperature for around 3 hours, before wrapping them in foil for 2 hours and then brushing them with glaze and letting them roast for another hour.


We hope that our guide to cooking your ribs has helped you to decide which is the best for your needs.

Remember that getting advice from grilling experts is important and you’ll need to adopt the right method for whatever flavor and texture you desire.

Tommy Hall

Sharing is caring!