How we tested
Most barbecued rib recipes require a minimum of 4 hours and yield only a couple of racks. A new product, the Ribalizer ($29.95), promises to yield anywhere from one to six racks in 2 hours when cooking ribs on a gas grill (it will work on charcoal grills with extra temperature monitoring but is designed for gas). It looks like a toast rack set in a metal pan; users prop up the rib racks on their sides between the bars and then add liquid (water, beer, wine, or soda) to the pan below to infuse flavors into the meat and keep it moist. The ribs cook uncovered for 45 minutes and are then covered with a second pan (steam helps them cook faster) for another hour of cooking.
We cooked four batches of ribs (two each of baby back and larger St. Louis–style racks) on gas grills, one set according to our own recipe and the other with the Ribalizer. The good news was that the Ribalizer performed as promised: It produced six racks of ultratender ribs—more than you could fit directly on the grate—in half the time. It was also easy to set up and use. But there’s a considerable drawback: Since the ribs steam, they develop none of the deeply flavorful char and “bark” that are arguably the best part of barbecued ribs. Ultimately, we think the Ribalizer is worth considering if you’re a novice griller, want to shortcut the cooking process, or need to make a lot of ribs at once—but just know that their flavor won’t be the same as true barbecue.