Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Baby Back Ribs with Bourbon-Bacon Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

So, Saturday was the National Day of Ribs and Bacon!! That’s the BEST national day EVER!!!!

When I got the invite from a friend on Facebook to participate in this day, of course, there was NO way I could turn it down! I freakin’ LOVE bacon!! And ribs are pretty darn great too! Since it’s such a special day, I got the idea that the two really ought to be combined, in order to fully utilize all of the day’s potential. ;-)
I’ve had this awesome rib rub recipe that I’ve been using for a couple of years, but I decided to make it extra special for this day. There’s this really great little spice store near where I live, and I had been in there for some black sesame seeds for a different meal. I can never help myself so I walk around the store every time I’m in there… Well, I thought I had hit the jackpot that day!! Not only did I pick up the smoked paprika that I needed, I also found some chipotle powder and some really special Applewood smoked sea salt! These would definitely have to be incorporated into my ribs…
Now I needed to get some bacon in there! I did a Google search for Bacon Barbecue Sauce, and I was intrigued by one that came up called Bourbon-Bacon Barbecue Sauce. It was perfect! Of course, the chipotle powder needed to be in there too, and I added my special sea salt, but I kept it very much the same. For the best results, let the sauce sit for a couple of days after making it so that the flavors have time to develop.

Of course, if you aren’t lucky enough to have a spice store near you, don’t worry about it… (But you CAN order products from The Spice and Tea Exchange website, if you really want! :-D) If you’re not feeling so inclined to hassle with trying to find the specialty spices I used, or don’t like spicy food, you can simply omit them (chipotle powder) or use the plain kind (sea salt). I’ve used this recipe many times, without the two special ingredients and it turned out great, so there’s no need to stress about it. Also, this time, I added the garlic and onion powder to my rub, which I’ve not usually done in the past. It turned out great, though!

Printable Recipe

6 Tbsp. smoked sweet paprika
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
2 Tbsp. ground coffee
3 tsp. Applewood smoked sea salt
2 tsp. pepper
½ tsp. chipotle powder
3 full racks baby back ribs
Olive oil
Bourbon-Bacon Chipotle Barbecue Sauce, recipe follows

Combine the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl. Prepare the baby back ribs the night before; take off the white membrane on the back of the ribs. Place the ribs, meat side up, on heavy duty foil, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with the dry rub, pressing the rub gently into the meat to help it adhere. Seal the foil tightly into a packet around the ribs. Keep the ribs in the refrigerator until baking time.
Turn the oven on to 225°. Place the aluminum package of ribs on a cookie sheet and place the cookie sheet in the oven. Slow cook the ribs for 3½ to 4 hours. Towards the end of the baking time, preheat a charcoal or gas grill to medium heat (or set oven to broil, if cooking indoors) Remove the ribs from the oven and foil. Baste the ribs with barbecue sauce and place on the grill to cook for an additional 15 - 30 minutes, turning and basting frequently. (If you have a doubt if the ribs are cooked, try taking a toothpick and poke the meat. If the toothpick comes in and out easily, then your ribs are ready to enjoy!) Once the ribs are cooked through and nicely coated with barbecue sauce, remove them from the grill. Serve the ribs with some additional barbecue sauce on the side, if you’d like.

Bourbon-Bacon Chipotle Barbecue Sauce:
½ c. small-dice bacon
½ c. finely diced red onion
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 c. ketchup
½ c. apple cider vinegar
½ c. packed dark brown sugar
¼ c. Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbsp. bourbon
2 Tbsp. dark or robust molasses (not blackstrap)
2 tsp. chili powder
1 - 2 tsp. chipotle powder
1½ tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. ground mustard
Applewood Smoked Sea Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Place the bacon in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a small bowl; set aside. Reduce heat to medium low, add the onion to the pan, and cook in the bacon fat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 to 60 seconds more.
Whisk in the remaining measured ingredients and season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Stir in the reserved bacon and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened and holds a line on the back of a wooden spoon when you drag a finger through it, about 25 minutes. Season the sauce with additional salt and pepper as needed. Store barbecue sauce in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

While paging through an older magazine of my mama's, I came across something that would be perfect with these ribs - Bourbon Smoked Pepper, Sea Salt, and Paprika!! You can buy each spice individually in tins or bags, or even as a set in the tins! How awesome is that?! Too bad I hadn't read the article sooner, because that would have been perfect with these... But, if you wanna go check out the products, and even order some of your own, you can find them on Bourbon Barrel Foods' website! If you get them before I do, be sure to tell me what you think!



  1. Mmm this looks soo delicious! Nothing is better than baby back ribs during the summer, yummy! :)

  2. Thank you, Kelly! I agree, nothing is better than baby back ribs in the summer!! :-)
    This was the first time I've ever made my own barbecue sauce, and I have to say that I was more than a little happy with the results. There's so much flavor going on that I really didn't feel the need to add a lot of salt to the sauce! Of course, I won't always be making it with leftover bacon grease, but a little bit of olive or canola oil will be good, and good for you. (Is it sacrilegious that I trim a good amount of fat from the ribs before doing the dry rub on them? Lol)

  3. Bacon grease does add a lot of flavor, I know that one restaurant dips their whole rack in bacon grease prior to cooking. Great job-awesome looking ribs. Buzz

  4. I have a sudden craving for ribs. These look amazing. I have to try this out.

  5. Tina - Dang! I should have thought to do that for this!! Lol I did also do some candied bacon, but I don't think it really added much to the ribs so didn't include it in this post. Thank you for the compliments and the buzz love! :-)

    Kim - Thank you! Let me know what you think when you make them!! My family likes spicy, so I added about 3 teaspoons of chipotle powder to the barbecue sauce, and it was really good... But, by all means, don't add nearly that much if you don't like spicy! :-D

  6. What a fantastic recipe! Way to go getting all creative with your spice selections! I love spices. I can always find something unusual in World Market or even Home Goods! Thanks for sharing :)

  7. Dee - Thank you!! I love spices too! I was pretty amazed, this spice store even carries Filé powder (which is traditionally used in gumbos)! They had a bunch of different smoked sea salts and peppercorns, but I went with the Applewood one... They even had Worcestershire and Soy Sauce powders!! Oh, and Hickory and Mesquite powder! How cool is that?! I'm definitely up for reducing sodium as much as possible...
    And, you're very welcome! It's my pleasure! :-)

  8. OMG.... this recipe is amazing. I'm adding it to my list of summer grilling.

  9. Thank you for the compliment, Moogie!! When you make them, you'll have to let me know what you think! My friend Sarah is making them sometime this weekend... I'm totally excited to hear feedback! :-)

  10. Oh I am picturing myself eating these and lickin' my fingers!! That sauce sounds ammmmmazing!

  11. Hee hee! You will definitely be licking your fingers with these ribs, Kate!! I came home from work yesterday, and my mama was eating some of the leftovers... There was barbecue sauce everywhere!

  12. This just about made me grown aloud. Wow, those ribs look and sound fantastic. I love a good rub on ribs before they're put on the grill. Even more so, I love a fantastic sauce to top things off. Get it all caramelized and gooey and I'm in rib heaven. These look just like that. Rib heaven.

  13. I agree, a good rub on ribs makes all the difference in the world! And a good barbecue sauce is definitely a must too!! Rib Heaven... I like that! :-D