Babel's Smoked Baby Back Pork Ribs

Slow-smoked, mopped, and then finished with an amazing glaze. These really will be the best baby back pork ribs you ever have!

Prep Time:
45 mins
Cook Time:
3 hrs 5 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 50 mins
4 servings


  • 1 rack baby back pork ribs, fat trimmed and membrane removed

  • ¼ cup pork rub


  • ¾ cup apple juice

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil


  • 5 tablespoons ketchup

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 ½ tablespoons honey

  • 1 ½ tablespoons cracked black peppercorns

  • 1 ½ tablespoons dried minced garlic

  • 2 teaspoons whole fennel seeds

  • 2 dashes hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco®), or more to taste

  • 3 (1.5 fluid ounce) jiggers Tennessee whiskey, or as needed (Optional)

  • apple wood chips, soaked


  1. Let the ribs come to room temperature. Work in the rub and let stand 30 minutes more.

  2. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil the grate.

  3. Mix apple juice and oil together in a bowl to make the mop, or basting liquid.

  4. Mix ketchup, oil, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, peppercorns, dried garlic, fennel seeds, and hot sauce together in a bowl to make the sauce.

  5. Place ribs directly on the grill and cook over high heat until browned, 5 to 10 minutes per side; be careful not to let the meat burn.

  6. Place ribs onto wire racks. Place the racks into the smoker. Add wood chips according to manufacturer's directions. Smoke the ribs low and slow. Baste every 15 to 30 minutes with the mop mixture, until meat begins pulling from the bone, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

  7. Baste liberally with the sauce mixture. Offer all the cooks a shot of whiskey. Wrap the sauce-covered ribs in a double layer of aluminum foil and return them to the smoker over low to medium heat. Cook 45 minutes more. Remove foil, cut ribs into portions, and serve.

Cook's Notes:

To easily remove membrane, loosen a corner of the membrane with a bread knife, then grasp the corner with a paper towel and pull.

Try my recipe for homemade pork rib rub.

I use applewood chips for smoke, but any type of wood including hickory, mesquite, etc., is fine This recipe is also good without smoke.

In a pinch, Kentucky bourbon may be substituted for Tennessee whiskey.

Editor's Note:

Nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of mop and sauce ingredients. The actual amounts of these ingredients consumed will vary.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

838 Calories
65g Fat
26g Carbs
20g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 838
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 65g 83%
Saturated Fat 14g 71%
Cholesterol 88mg 29%
Sodium 3498mg 152%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 10%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 18g
Protein 20g
Vitamin C 5mg 26%
Calcium 126mg 10%
Iron 3mg 16%
Potassium 537mg 11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.