Pit-roasted ribs are delicious whether they’re beef, pork or wild game. Knowing how to cook ribs over an open pit gives you the ability to present mouthwatering meat at your next cookout or outdoor-inspired meal for one. When you know how to cook ribs over an open pit, you can cook them anywhere whether it’s in your backyard or at a camping site somewhere in the wilderness with a myriad of kindling.

Things You'll Need

Layer the bottom of the pit with bricks or cinder blocks. Depending on how wide the pit is you will only need around 5 or 6 standard sized bricks. If you’re out in the wilderness use rocks instead. Rocks, bricks or cinder blocks retain heat, creating an oven-like effect when used in a fire pit or smoker.

Add approximately 3 lbs of dried sticks of your choice of wood to the bricks or rocks at the bottom of the fire pit. Applewood is a popular choice but you can also select hickory wood and other flavors. When burned in a cooking pit, the smoke adds flavor to your meat.

Add about 4 lbs. of charcoal to the pit if it is of a standard size of 3 feet deep and 3 feet wide. You may need more if it is larger or less if it is smaller. Use your best judgment and gauge the amount you need on the size and recommendations given on the bag of charcoal you select. Self-igniting charcoal is ideal.

Light your fire with long matches to avoid burning yourself. Once the fire ignites, let it burn for approximately 20 minutes. Then drop in the grill grate.

Add your seasoned or marinaded ribs of any meat type to the grate after the flames are gone and the coals are white and glowing. Slow roast these ribs on the open pit for 30 minutes for every 3 lbs. of ribs on the grate. Turn them over every 10 minutes to promote juiciness and even browning.


  • Marinade your ribs for 24 to 48 hours prior to slow cooking them on the open pit.

  • Serve with anything you like as a side option.