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Traeger Rib Rack and Baby Back Ribs with Maple-Bourbon Glaze

Posted by mmillet on April 3, 2013

Baby back ribs with maple bourbon glaze

We all know and love the 3-2-1 Baby Back Ribs and without a doubt they are fall-off-the-bone, slap-your-mama good. But perhaps you're in a time crunch or just may want to explore some other kinds of ribs. These Baby Back Ribs with Maple-Bourbon Glaze are definitely worth discovering. And let's be honest. Can you ever have too many ribs?

Well, Traeger is one step ahead of you. To make sure you never come up short, we have for you, Traeger Nation, our Rib Rack.

Traeger's rib rack

This simple yet brilliant chrome accessory fits in all of our Traeger grill models and allows you to cook up to 8 racks of ribs at a time - enough for a serious rib feast...or at least feed a couple of your carnivore friends. It's easy to use and will save you some serious time and make a lot of mouths very happy.


Maple bourbon glaze ribs on the rib rack


Baby Back Ribs with Maple-Bourbon Glaze

Difficulty: 3/5


Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 1/2 to 3 hours
Pellet Recommendations: Maple or Apple
Serves: 4-6


For the rub & ribs:
4 tablespoons maple sugar, turbinado sugar or dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon dry mustard powder
1 tablespoon lemon pepper
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 racks baby back pork ribs (about 5 pounds total)
1 cup apple juice in a food-safe spray bottle

For the Maple-Bourbon Glaze:
1 cup real maple syrup, preferably Grade B
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup maple sugar or dark brown sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons bourbon or apple juice
1 tablespoon Dijon-style or yellow mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more if you want to turn up the heat

*You may want to double, triple or quadruple this recipe because they are that good and with Traeger's Rib Rack fitting 8 racks, why not?

Make the rub:

In a small mixing bowl, combine the maple sugar, salt, paprika, mustard powder, lemon pepper and granulated garlic. Mix it with your hands or a whisk to break up any lumps.

Line a large baking sheet with foil to make for easier clean-up later. If your butcher has not already done so, remove the thin papery membrane (called the pleura) from the bone-side of the ribs. Start on one of the middle bones and work the tip of a butter knife or a screwdriver underneath the membrane over the bone. Then use a paper towel to get a firm grip and tear all of the membrane off.

Generously sprinkle the ribs with the rub. (You may not need all of the rub. Simply store the remainder in a resealable plastic bag and use later to make some more tasty ribs.) Some like to leave the rub on for several hours, but resist the urge. The salt in the rub will draw moisture out of the ribs.

Make the glaze:

In a small saucepan, combine the maple syrup, ketchup, maple sugar, cider vinegar, bourbon, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and cayenne pepper. Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking to mix. Reduce the heat to medium and let the glaze simmer until syrupy. (This glaze is seriously unbelievable!)

Taste it and add more vinegar or cayenne if you dare or desire. You want the glaze to be sweet, but still have a bit of tang and a good heat in the back of your throat. Keep the glaze warm while the ribs cook.

When you're ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4-5 minutes). Set the temperature to 325 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.

Now pull out the Rib Rack and layer the ribs standing upright on their side, each facing the same direction with the fattiest part of the meat on the top so that the fat drips down and the ribs self-baste. (another beautiful feature of the rib rack)

Cook them for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until they are nearly tender, spraying with apple juice every 30 minutes.

One of the beautiful things about baby back ribs is that they are tender and high in "pork-ness" (i.e. pork flavor) and end up moist and delicious regardless of whether you cook them low and slow (like our classic 3-2-1 recipe) or are impatient and go for a little bit of a higher temp and a faster cooking time for an incredible, meaty rib like this one.

Brush the ribs with the Maple-Bourbon Glaze and cook for an additional 30 minutes to set the sauce.

Baby back ribs with maple-bourbon glaze

When the ribs are done, transfer them to a cutting board and brush again with more of the amazing glaze. Cover with foil and let them rest for a few minutes before cutting them into half slabs or individual ribs. Serve them with more of the remaining glaze.

Try them. They're worth adding into your rib repertoire.

Here's the printer-friendly recipe: