Smoked Baby Back Ribs
Summer is upon us. Time to BBQ everything!
Baby back ribs are a favorite food for weekends and parties. With knowledge and skill, you can cook them like a pro and impress your guests with the results. This recipe is for use with a smoker, though it can be modified to work in the oven.
Prep Time - 30 minutes to 1 hour
Cook Time - 4-6 hours
Baby Back Ribs – 3-4 racks
Seasoning or Rub
2 Apple Juice Boxes
2 Cups of Bourbon
¼ Cup of Olive Oil
BBQ Sauce (optional)
Other Items Needed
Spray Bottle (combine 1 apple juice box, 1 cup of bourbon)
Mix 1 cup of bourbon and 1 apple juice box for the wrap phase of cooking
Remove the baby back ribs from the packaging and pat dry
If the ribs are not pre-trimmed, remove the silver skin from the back side
Cover each rack with olive oil
Apply seasoning or rub
Optional: let ribs stand for 30 minutes
Phase 1 - Cooking
Set your smoker to 225
Set ribs on the grate and cook for 2 to 2 ½ hours
Use the spray bottle mixture (bourbon and apple juice) every 15-30 minutes on the ribs
Phase 2 - Wrap
Remove ribs from smoker and wrap each rack in tin foil
Add equal portions of the apple juice/bourbon to each packet
Put wrapped ribs back on the smoker for 1 to 1 ½ hour
Phase 3 – Sauce
Remove each rack of ribs from foil
Place ribs back on the grate of your smoker
Set temperature to 275
Add BBQ sauce to the ribs
Cook for 30-45 minutes
Ribs can be cut individually or in groups of 3-4 rib segments
Extra BBQ sauce can be served on the side
Ribs seem very simple, but can be tricky to work with. Individual tastes can vary, but the goal is to cook the ribs to the point where they easily pull away from the bone. If the rib meat simply falls from the bone, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but they can be hard for guests to handle and can also approach being over cooked.
Tip 1 – Bourbon choice: it is not recommended to use the good stuff, save that for drinking. You are looking for the bourbon to add a layer of flavor here, and it would be difficult to catch the subtlety of the finer brands.
Tip 2 – Rib Meat Texture: If the ribs are mushy and separate from the bone, then shorten your cook time.
Tip 3 – Flavor Profile: The rub, bourbon, and BBQ sauce are creating a complex set of flavor layers – choose each one carefully.