The key to grilling delicious ribs on a charcoal grill is time. Ribs, because they are naturally a tougher cut of meat, take long, slow cooking times to become tender and flavorful. You should plan on at least three to four hours of total cooking time once you have the charcoal to the white ash state in the grill.
Light the charcoal in the charcoal chimney approximately 30 minutes before you plan to start the ribs. Fill the upper portion of the chimney with charcoal and the lower portion with crumpled newspaper. Light the newspaper to start the charcoal.
Place an aluminum drip pan in the center of your charcoal grill base. Disposable aluminum pans are inexpensive and available at most grocery stores.
Season the ribs, if they haven't been marinating, as desired. You can use special rib rubs or create your own by using combinations of favorite spices.
Pour the hot coals from the charcoal chimney around the outside of the drip pan. This will allow the center of the grill to be the space for the indirect heat the ribs need to cook.
Place the ribs in the center of the grill grate, over the drip pan. Place the cover on the charcoal grill.
Grill the ribs for 20 to 30 minutes per pound or until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest portion reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
Add charcoal to the grill as needed to keep the grill at a moderate temperature for the entire grilling process.
You can add water and wood chips to the drip pan to add smoky flavor to the ribs.
If you plan to add barbecue sauce to the ribs, begin basting the sauce on the ribs approximately 30 minutes before the ribs are done.