Bourbon-Glazed Smoked Baby Back Ribs

Updated May 17, 2021

Bourbon-Glazed Smoked Baby Back Ribs

Bourbon-Glazed Smoked Baby Back Ribs

Living in Kentucky, you develop a taste for bourbon. This recipe combines my love for bourbon with my passion for BBQ. The smokiness of the ribs pairs nicely with the vanilla and spice flavors from the bourbon. This glaze is so good you may want to make extra for a dipping sauce with the finished ribs.

Suggested Wood: Hickory, apple or cherry chunks
Approximate Total Cook Time: 4 ½ – 5 hours
Grill Setup: Indirect Dry

Serves4 to 6


  • Rub
  • 2 tablespoons (36 g) kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons (13 g) black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon (7 g) paprika
  • Spritz
  • 1/2
    cup (120 ml) apple juice
  • 1/2
    cup (120 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • Ribs
  • 2 racks of baby back ribs (about 1½–2 lbs [680–907 g] per rack)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) yellow mustard
  • Glaze
  • 1 cup (220 g) brown sugar
  • 1/2
    cup (120 ml) pineapple juice
  • 1/2
    cup (120 ml) maple syrup
  • 1 cup (240 ml) bourbon
  • 1/4
    cup (60 ml) Dijon mustard


  1. Combine the salt, black pepper and paprika in a small bowl for the rub and set aside. Mix the ingredients for the spritz in a spray bottle, or in a bowl if you plan to mop. Set it aside.

  2. Preheat your cooker to 250ºF (121ºC). If you’re using a kamado or bullet grill, add two or three wood chunks to the charcoal; with a pellet grill, simply preheat the cooker, as the pellets will take care of the smokey flavor. Trim the ribs (refer to page 88 for cleaning and prep directions for ribs). Next, slather the ribs with the yellow mustard and season with the rub. Place the ribs inside the smoker, bone side down.

  3. Let the ribs smoke undisturbed for the first hour, maintaining the cooker’s temperature at 250ºF (121ºC). At the 1-hour mark, open your cooker and check on the ribs. Does the pellicle look and feel slightly wet and tacky? Ifso, you’re on the right path. If not, go ahead and spritz or mop where you see dry spots. Do this every 45 minutes until you apply the glaze. Make sure you focus on the fundamentals I have taught you to know when and where to add moisture to the meat cooking.

  4. Combine the glaze ingredients in a saucepan, mix well and bring to a low boil. Once it starts to boil, lower the heat to medium and reduce the glaze until it is thick and easily coats the back of a spoon, about 30 minutes. Set the glaze aside and wait until the ribs are close to being done.

  5. At the 4-hour mark, check the ribs for doneness by using the bend test. Continue cooking if needed, until the ribs pass the bend test. When the ribs are ready, evenly spread the glaze on the racks of ribs and let cook for the final 30 minutes to set the glaze. Pull off the grill, let rest for 10 minutes, slice, serve and enjoy!


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