Recipe courtesy of Steven Raichlen

Sweet and Smoky Baby Back Ribs

  • Total: 3 hr
  • Prep: 1 hr 15 min
  • Cook: 1 hr 45 min
  • Yield: 3 servings
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3 racks baby back ribs (2 1/2 to 3 pounds)

1 cup bourbon whiskey

For the rub:

1 tablespoon each salt, pepper, paprika, brown sugar

1 teaspoon each garlic powder and onion powder

Barbecue sauce, of choice

2 cups wood chips, preferably whiskey barrel chips or hickory chips, soaked in 2 cups beer for 1 hour, then drained


  1. Remove the thin papery skin on the back of each rack of the ribs or ask your butcher to do it. (Pull it off in a sheet with your fingers, using a corner of a dish towel to gain a secure grip.) Place the ribs in a roasting pan and pour the bourbon over them. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour, turning the ribs several times.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the rub in a bowl and stir to mix. Pour off and discard the bourbon. Sprinkle the ribs on both sides with 2/3 of the rub, patting it in with your fingers. Let the ribs marinate for 30 minutes, while you light your grill.
  3. Set up your grill for indirect grilling and smoking, using wood chips and adjust the heat to 350 degrees. Arrange the ribs on a rack in the center of the grill away from the heat and cook until very tender and the meat has pulled away from the ends of the bones, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. The last 15 minutes, brush the ribs with 1/3 cup sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining rub. Serve the remaining barbecue sauce on the side.
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