Maple Bourbon Smoked Ribs
Ah, ribs. Finger licking, bone gnawing, napkin ruining, and absolutely delicious when done right. This recipe here for Maple Bourbon Smoked Ribs is sweet with a kick of bourbon on the backend. If you are looking to change up your routine and get a little creative, I suggest giving this recipe a go! Don’t get me wrong, I love a traditional rack of ribs but this takes ribs to a whole new level.
We did three separate racks of ribs at the same time and all had their own unique twist. First, we did the Kansas City Style Ribs and then our Bobby Flay inspired Honey-Mustard Glazed Ribs…and now, the Maple Bourbon Ribs. Let’s get to it!
Cut: St. Louis Rack (you can also you baby backs)
Weight: 1 Slab
Heat Source: Wood pellet
Type of Wood: Traeger Signature Blend
Baste: Maple Bourbon BBQ Sauce (recipe linked)
Estimated Cook Time: 6 hours
Actual Cook Time: 6 hours
Estimated Cooking Temperature: 225 degrees
Actual Cooking Temperature: 225 degrees
Location of Purchase: Local grocery store
Cook Date: January 18, 2021
1 slab of St. Louis ribs
Sweet Rub for Poultry and Pork (recipe linked)
Maple Bourbon BBQ Sauce (recipe linked)
Apple Cider Vinegar for basting (or apple juice, beer, etc.)
½ cup bourbon
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup pure maple syrup
4 tablespoons butter
Step 1: Preheat your smoker to 225° Fahrenheit.
Step 2: Trim the slab of ribs of any excess fat or loose hanging pieces. Remove the membrane from the back of the slab (unless already done) using a butter knife to loosen the membrane. See video here for example.
Tip: Once you get the membrane slightly pulled away from the bone, use a paper towel to grab and pull the remaining membrane off.
Step 3: Season the ribs with whatever dry rub you prefer, I used my Sweet Rub for Poultry and Pork.
Step 4: Place the ribs on the smoker for 3 hours at 225° degrees.
Step 5: Every 30 minutes give the ribs a little spray to keep from drying out with apple cider vinegar (or whatever you want)
Step 5: In a bowl, mix together the bourbon, brown sugar and maple sugar. Set aside.
Step 6: After 3 hours, you are going to wrap your ribs. Now, you are going to add the liquids and wrap your rack of ribs, bone side up! This helps prevent piercing the foil and have the liquids run out. Lay the tinfoil on your working surface with the shiny side up! This is more important than you may think. We want to absorb the heat, not reflect it. Lay your rack of ribs meat side down on the shiny side of the tinfoil with the tips of the bones up. Create a little bowl for the liquid with the tinfoil. Add the bourbon, brown sugar and maple syrup along with the butter. I suggest a second layer to ensure the juices stay inside the wrap. Let cook for 2 more hours.
Step 7: Remove ribs from the wrap and discard the juices and tinfoil. This step requires you to get a feel for your ribs. Slather the ribs with your delicious Maple Bourbon BBQ Sauce and put the ribs back on the smoker and let them firm back up a little bit. After about 30 minutes, give your slab a look. If the meat has pulled back from the bones about ½ inch, odds are they are done. If you pick them up with tongs and the bend is starting to tear, they are probably done. If you have a meat thermometer (if you don’t, get one…seriously), you are aiming for an internal temp of 200° (careful that you don’t hit the bone as that will throw off your reading). This step can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes. Continue to occasionally baste your ribs with the sauce until you remove them from the smoker.
Step 8: Once done to your liking, remove rack of ribs from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes. Serve with some sauce of the side. Slice and devour!
Check out some of our other great BBQ Sauces that would work great on ribs!
Lessons Learned (Note: I will update this section to include your lessons learned from the comment section)