These ribs are lightly coated with maple (or brown) sugar.
Combine sugar, salt, paprika, pepper, thyme, garlic, and zest; spread on a sheet pan; let stand at room temperature overnight so sugar will be hard and dry. Grind in food processor to fine powder.
Brush ribs with oil; lightly coat with sugar mixture.
Preheat grill or grill pan to medium hot; grill ribs, fat side down first, until meat is just coming off the bone, 20 to 30 minutes per side. Cool slightly. Slice into individual ribs, and serve.
Maple sugar, which is available at specialty-food stores, adds a distinctive taste to this dish, but light-brown sugar can be substituted.