Impress guests at your next cookout with this delicious smoked pork rib recipe starring a sweet and savory maple syrup-based glaze.
These smoked, maple glazed ribs might just be the most delicious, lip smacking pork ribs recipe you’ve ever tasted! The secret is that you’ll use the Texas Crutch, which is wrapping the meat in foil late in the cook, and then take the juices from the foil, some apple juice, and real maple syrup to make a sweet, sticky sauce with an impressive sheen.
Warning: Don’t compete with these ribs!
Several readers have written to tell me that they’ve won their local rib-off with this smoked BBQ pork ribs recipe but do not use this recipe for a Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) or Memphis Barbecue Network (MBN) competition. The judges there usually only give awards to classic red sauces like my Kansas City Classic. But serve them to friends and neighbors and they will worship you!
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Serve with: your favorite pale ale.
- Prep. Rinse the ribs in cool water to remove any bone bits from the butchering.
- Remove the leathery membrane from the back of the ribs and trim off any excess fat on both sides. Click here for an extensive tutorial on how to skin 'n' trim ribs.
- Season. Wet your hands and pat the the meat so the surface is damp and then sprinkle on the salt. If you can do this the night before, please do. Otherwise anytime prior to cooking will do. Then sprinkle with Meathead's Memphis Dust, enough to coat the surface, and massage it in.
- Fire up. Heat up your smoker or set up a grill for 2-zone cooking. Bring the cooker temperature to 225°F.
- Cook. Place the seasoned ribs on the smoker or grill, add the cover, and allow them to cook for 2 hours.
- Crutch. Next, pull off two sheets of 18" wide heavy duty aluminum foil, about 2' long and place them on top of each other. Place the slab in the center, bone side down, pull up the sides so you have a boat, and drizzle 1/2 cup of the apple juice over the meat, wetting the surface. Then wrap the slab tightly in two layers of foil. This is called the Texas Crutch. Cook in the foil for 1 hour at 225°F.
- Firm. Take the meat out of the foil while carefully reserving the liquid that has collected and put the ribs back on at the 225°F smoker or grill for another 2 hours to firm up the crust.
- Make the sauce. While the ribs are back on the smoker or grill, pour the apple juice from the foil, now enriched with the flavors of the rub, into a sauce pan. Add the remaining half cup of apple juice. Boil it until about 1/3 cup remains. Add the maple syrup and heat over medium high and watch it very closely. It will bubble gently away for a bit and then at a certain temperature the sugars will go nuts and the glaze will foam aggressively. Watch it as attentively as a hungry teenager. As soon as it foams up, immediately turn down the heat and remove the pan from the flame until it stops frothing. You don't want it foaming for long or it could turn to hard candy. That would be bad.
- Finish the sauce. Add the salt and hot sauce and stir. It may bubble furiously again.
- Paint the ribs with a coat of the sauce and put it back into the cooker til the glaze sets a bit, perhaps 3 minutes. Add one more coat. Don't use too much.
- Serve. Slice the ribs and serve immediately.