Mike’s “Double Bourbon” Maple BBQ Ribs Recipe

Alright y’all: here’s where we separate the men from the boys (and women from the girls). These ribs come out smokey, spicy and crowd pleasing every time.  I call this my “Double Bourbon” recipe because it uses whiskey in two forms: both in the BBQ sauce and in the smoker as your flavoring chips. I love using whiskey flavored smoker chips as they come from used Bourbon barrels that have been shredded in a wood chipper. Just the smell from the bag when you open it up is… heaven.

The recipe is in 4 critical stages:

  1. Making and applying the Dry Rub
  2. Making the BBQ Sauce
  3. Smoking the Ribs
  4. Eating the Ribs (do you need instructions?)

So, without further ado…


  • 2 Large Racks of Baby Back Ribs
  • Jack Daniels or Mr. Bar-B-Q oak barrel smoking chips (enough to fill your chip box or tray)

For The Dry Rub:

  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon mild chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

Stir salt, brown sugar, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, and cumin, mustard, cayenne and coriander together in a small bowl to make the dry rub. Remove the membrane from the ribs, wash them down and pat dry with paper towel. Rub the spice mixture generously into the baby back ribs on all sides. Wrap the ribs up in aluminum foil, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking.

For Bourbon Maple BBQ Sauce:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup Bourbon (or other whiskey) of your choice
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup good quality maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup red wine or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Gently heat and reduce all the ingredient in a saucepan, stirring all the while, until it reaches a nice, thick, syrupy consistency. Don’t let it burn. Add a little more brown sugar if you want it sweeter, a little more vinegar if it needs tang, and a little more cayenne if you like it spicier. Set aside.

Cooking Instructions:

Rub a little oil onto the metal shelves of your smoker and put some Jack Daniels smoker chips into your smoker tray or chip box. Get your smoker warmed up to 225 Degrees Fahrenheit, and when up to temps, put your ribs in and making sure there’s a little space between each rack of ribs. Smoke for 2 hours. This first stage will really infuse the meat with that delicious smoked flavor or whatever wood chips you decide to use (Hickory, Maple, Pecan etc)

Using oven mitts or large tongs, remove the ribs from the smoker (making sure to close the door so it doesn’t lose heat) and wrap these suckas in heavy duty aluminum foil. Now put the ribs back in for another 2 hours. Depending on your model, you;ll definitely want to check on your wood chip tray at this point and add more if necessary.

After 2 hours are up, again grab your oven mitts and take the ribs out to a cutting board. Remove the foil: careful, there may be some very hot juices sealed up in the there. Now use a mop brush to baste the ribs with your Maple Bourbon BBQ sauce and again return to the smoker. Cook for another 30 minutes.

After half an hour, see how your ribs are doing. If the meat is getting really soft and starting to falling off the bone, take ’em out. You obviously don’t want the ribs to be disintegrating. The meat should be buttery soft, but still firm with the racks should still be holding together. If they need a little more time, then baste again with more sauce and continue smoking for 30 more minutes.

Serve with the rest of the sauce on the side and enjoy. And if you want to make this recipe “Triple Bourbon”, just pour yourself a glass and drink it while eating your delicious ribs 

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