As you know if you’ve been here before, we love BBQ cooking, especially baby back ribs recipes. I set out a couple of days ago to make the perfect baby back ribs, and I think I succeeded! These are the best ribs I’ve ever eaten – EVER. Of course, not everyone will agree. If you don’t like sweet, smoky, sticky ribs, you won’t like these. If you do, read on, my friend!
What I liked so much about these ribs was the different levels of flavors. When you bite into these ribs, you’ll first get the sweet apple taste that has some heat at the end. Then your teeth will encounter a spicy bark with subtle undertones of cinnamon and cloves. Next will come the smoky goodness of succulent, juicy pork, with just the right “chew factor.”
I used three cooking methods – slow smoking, indirect grilling, and direct heat – on two different devices to create my baby back ribs – an electric smoker and a Weber charcoal kettle grill. I placed the two units side-by-side on our brick patio, and once the ribs came off the smoker, I pulled up a chair, made myself a cold drink, and chilled while the ribs were grilling.
Best barbecued ribs ever!
Holle’s Candy Apple Ribs recipe
What you’ll need:
- 2 racks baby back ribs
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- Apple cider vinegar
- Apple juice
- 2/3 cup bbq sauce (I used K.C. Masterpiece)
- 2/3 cup apple butter
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce
In a bowl, combine brown sugar, salt, chili powder, onion powder, cinnamon, garlic powder, black pepper, and cloves. Add enough cider vinegar to make a thick paste. Wrap ribs and refrigerate overnight.
Fill the water pan of the smoker with apple juice. Place apple wood, oak, or hickory that has been soaked in water for an hour or so on the burner. Get the temperature on the smoker to 225 degrees. Place the ribs on the top rack of the smoker. Use a rib rack, if desired. Smoke for 3 hours.
While the baby backs are smoking, make the sauce. Combine barbecue sauce, apple butter, cider vinegar, and Tabasco sauce.
Near the end of the 3 hours, make a fire on one side of your charcoal grill, creating two cooking zones. Remove baby back ribs from the smoker and place in thick foil. Add about ½ cup apple juice to the bottom of the ribs. Don’t pour the juice over the ribs. Try to add it under the ribs, with the curved side of the ribs facing up. Close foil and place ribs on cooler side of grill. Close grill lid and cook for about 30 minutes.
Remove ribs from foil and place ribs near hotter side of grill. Start brushing on the sauce, turning ribs as needed. Cook for about 30 minutes. At this point, I cooked the ribs right over the coals to caramelize the sauce and get the outside of the ribs crispy.
Remove ribs from grill and let stand a few minutes before slicing.