Spicy Maple Glazed Baby Back Ribs

Spicy Maple Glazed Baby Back Ribs

When having someone over, we often find ourselves perseverating on the perfect dish. Our brother-in-law-to-be has a birthday coming up, and we've been obsessing on rib recipes in preparation. After many delicious test batches (it's a hard life), Paul emerged this week from his smoker, charred ribs in hand, triumphant! We devoured these Spicy Maple Glazed Baby Back Ribs with long satisfied silences interspersed with occasional groans of delight. These foolproof sweet and spicy ribs work equally well in the smoker or oven. For other meaty inspiration, check out our Slow Roasted Pork Ribs.

Yield: Serves 2 (generously)


  • 2 pounds baby back ribs

   Dry Rub:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato puree
  • 1 cup chicken stock, unsalted
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Preheat smoker (or oven) to 220 degrees. 
  2. For the dry rub: In a small bowl, mix together the dry rub ingredients (paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, ancho, and cumin).
  3. Pour the dry rub over the ribs and rub into all surfaces and sides of the meat. You may have more dry rub than you need.
  4. Place the meat, bone-side down on the smoker or oven racks. Use a roasting/drip pan to avoid a mess. For optimal moistness, add 1/2 cup water to the roasting pan before placing the meat in the oven/smoker.
  5. Roast/smoke the ribs at 220. Set your timer for 2 hours, and make the sauce. Note that the total cook time on the ribs will be 6 hours.
  6. For the sauce: saute the onion in butter for about 10 minutes, until lightly caramelized and soft. Add the remaining sauce ingredients (tomato puree, chicken stock, maple syrup, Worcestershire, garlic, chipotle, and salt). Bring mixture to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Blend the mixture until smooth. If you want a finer textured sauce, you can strain it at this point, but this is optional. Divide your sauce into two equal portions, half for basting the ribs and half for a dipping sauce.
  7. Two hours into roasting, generously baste your roasting ribs with sauce. Repeat this about once per hour until cooking is complete (6 hours total). During basting, there is no need to flip the ribs -- just baste the top.
  8. When the ribs are finished cooking (6 hours total), take out your meat and allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes. This is critical to allow the meat to finish cooking and the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. 
  9. To serve, cut between each rib to make them easier to eat. Serve immediately with your reserved sauce. These ribs are also excellent reheated, and will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.