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Bacon-Rubbed Applewood Smoked Ribs

Posted by mmillet on January 3, 2014

Bacon-Rubbed Applewood Smoked Ribs

We've long daydreamed of baconified ribs but hadn't quite concocted the right recipe. Until today. We're hitting our beloved 3-2-1 Baby Back Ribs recipe with three kinds of bacon. That's right. We've used our poetic license to make bacon into a verb (again) and we're baconify-ing the rub, the mop sauce and the barbecue sauce. It's practically raining bacon on your ribs and you are the lucky recipient.


PREP TIME: 10 minutes
COOK TIME: 6 hours
SERVES: 4 to 6


2 racks baby back pork ribs (about 5 pounds total), trimmed
1/4 cup bacon grease
Traeger Pork and Poultry Shake
McCormick Smokehouse Maple Seasoning (or something similar)
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup honey, warmed

Bacon Mop Sauce
1/2 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/4 cup bacon grease
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar

Bacon Barbecue Sauce
1/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup bacon grease
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder
3 tablespoons brown sugar


If your butcher has not already done so, remove the thin papery membrane from the bone-side of the ribs by working the tip of a butter knife or a screwdriver underneath the membrane over a middle bone. Use paper towels to get a firm grip, then tear the membrane off.

Start the Traeger on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes.)

Coat the ribs on all sides with about 1/4 cup of the bacon greased. (This works best if the grease has completely cooled so you can really work up a thick layer on the ribs.)

Season the ribs on all sides with the Traeger Pork and Poultry Shake and the McCormick Smokehouse Maple Seasoning.

Place the ribs on the grill grate and smoke, meat-side up, for 3 hours, basting with the mop sauce every hour. (mop sauce instructions below)

Make the mop sauce by heating up the Bacon Mop Sauce ingredients in a bowl either on the stovetop or just in the microwave just to warm it up and help the ingredients combine. Use this to baste the ribs every hour while smoking.

After the three hours, transfer the ribs to a rimmed baking sheet but leave the grill on. Set the temperature to 225 degrees F.

Tear off four long sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil. Top with a rack of ribs; pull up the sides to keep the liquid enclosed. Sprinkle half the brown sugar on the rack, then top with half the honey and half of the remaining mop sauce. (You could also use apple cider.)

Lay another piece of foil on top and tightly crimp the edges so there’s no leakage. Repeat with the remaining rack of ribs.

Return the foiled ribs to the grill and cook for approximately 2 hours.

While the ribs are cooking, make the Bacon Barbecue Sauce. Combine all of the ingredients together in a saucepan on the stove and just heat it up to bring the sauce together. Take it off the heat before it boils.

Bacon-Rubbed Applewood Smoked Ribs

Carefully remove the foil from the ribs—watch out for hot steam—and brush the ribs on both sides with Bacon Barbecue Sauce. Discard the foil. Arrange the ribs directly on the grill grate and continue to grill until the sauce “tightens” for 1 additional hour.

Bacon-Rubbed Applewood Smoked Ribs

Let the ribs rest for a few minutes before serving.

Bacon-Rubbed Applewood Smoked Ribs