Think You Know BBQ Ribs?

Ask just about anyone how to grill ribs and you'll get an answer close to this: "I grill the best ribs you've ever had. Let me tell you how to do it..." They mean well, but here's the problem: They aren't Heath Riles.

Who Is Heath Riles?

Heath Riles has won 15 BBQ Grand Championships in addition to multiple individual and team titles throughout the United States. He has his own product line of rubs, sauces, marinades, and injections. He's a recognized expert in the art of grilling.

Heath has reached this level of success because he planned it out.

When Heath was 18, living in Ashland, Mississippi, he decided he wanted to make a career out of grilling. He was offered a place on a well-known barbecue team, the Tippah Bottom Hog Rustlers. His participation on this team validated his decision to become a professional griller.

Heath's reputation began to grow in 2013 when his Whole Hog team was named Team of the Year in the Memphis BBQ Network. He also was featured in an episode of the Food Network show The Shed. In 2014, Whole Hog was again named the Memphis network Team of the Year after sweeping each of the three grilling categories (whole hog, shoulder and ribs) and winning nine of 15 Memphis competitions.

The Grand Championships continued to pile up with multiple titles from both the Memphis and Kansas City BBQ Networks. In 2016, Heath's team became the first to ever win Grand Championships from both Memphis and Kansas City in the same day. This happened in a dual competition in Southaven, Mississippi. In 2017, he posted a perfect score of 180 in winning the brisket competition at the Kansas City BBQ Society.


How Did Heath Get This Good?

For starters, he knows how to grill meat. The other part of his success is in knowing how to season ribs. Heath is an artist in his seasoning. You can watch the artist in action here: You'll see Heath's Competition Rib recipe, which has won four consecutive rib titles at the Memphis Barbecue Network. This will be the tastiest 15 minutes you've spent on YouTube.

There's More To Grilling Ribs Than Fire And Seasoning

Heath will show you how he preps his ribs for competition. First, he removes the membrane on the underside of the ribs. He'll tell you how he does it. Second, he'll demonstrate how he squares up his ribs, St. Louis style. Lastly, he'll show you what type of binder he uses to prep the ribs for his seasoning.

One of the keys to grilling competition ribs is the type of flavor pellets used in the barbecue. Heath will tell you what he uses and why. You'll also see the best temperature for grilling ribs.


Now We Can Get To The Rib Seasoning

Once the ribs are prepped, Heath begins seasoning. Each of his seasonings are his own recipe: garlic jalapeno rub, pecan rub and honey rub. You'll see that even though these are called "rubs," they aren't rubbed into the ribs. You'll also learn how long Heath lets the ribs sit before they hit the grill.

Another tip from Heath is what to do to the ribs after you put them on the grill. He'll show you how to make sure each bone is as meaty as the next.

What Does Heath Do To The Ribs While They Are Cooking?

Nothing. He lets them cook for two to two and one-half hours. He shows you how to do the smear test that will let you know if the ribs are ready to be wrapped. Then he shows you how to wrap the ribs for the butter bath and at what temperature he wants the ribs before brushing on the barbecue sauce as a glaze. (That's his own barbecue sauce recipe, by the way.) Heath even shares his secret about using a Q-tip on the rib bones.


Have You Ever Seen Better Ribs?

When Heath takes the ribs off the grill, you'll likely be running out the door to start grilling your own rack of ribs. That's how great these ribs look.

You can learn more about Heath Riles and his seasonings at

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