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Apple-Glazed Barbecued Baby Back Ribs

These sticky, apple-scented ribs are cooked in the oven, then finished on the grill. They're a simpler version of a recipe by champion pit master Chris Lilly, author of the new Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book, who cooks his ribs entirely on the grill. To follow Lilly's example, use a thermometer to keep the temperature at a steady 250° and wrap the ribs in foil after adding the apple cider mixture.

Plus: 20 Smart Tips for Everyday Grilling

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 4 teaspoons pure ancho chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup apple jelly, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 racks baby back ribs (about 4 pounds total)
  • 1 cup prepared barbecue sauce


  1. Preheat the oven to 250°. In a bowl, mix 1/4 cup of the sugar with the garlic salt, chile powder, salt, black pepper, celery salt, cayenne, cinnamon and white pepper. Transfer 1 tablespoon of the spice mix to a medium bowl and whisk in the cider, apple jelly, honey and the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar.
  2. Pull the membrane off the underside of each rib rack using a towel to grasp the corner. On a rimmed baking sheet, rub the ribs with the remaining spice mix; bake, meaty side up, for 2 1/2 hours. Pour the cider mixture over the ribs and turn to coat. Tightly cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.
  3. Light a grill. Uncover the ribs and brush with the barbecue sauce; grill over moderate heat, turning and brushing, until glazed, 15 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes, then cut between the bones and serve.

Suggested Pairing

A bold red is a great choice for ribs, and Syrah's sweet spice is delicious with this apple glaze. Try one from California or Washington state.

Contributed By Photo © Quentin Bacon Published June 2009

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