Jul 7
2010

Grilled Baby Back Pork Ribs with Molasses & Bourbon Sauce Recipe

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These baby back ribs, coated in a homemade molasses and bourbon barbecue sauce, are finger lickin’ good.
Grilled Baby Back Pork Ribs with Molasses & Bourbon Sauce Recipe | cookincanuck.com

I can hear all of the purists out there scoffing already. I willingly throw up my hands and confess that these ribs are not cooked over charcoal (gasp!) and are partially cooked first in the oven (look of horror). While I would certainly be banned from Memphis for this kind of grilling blasphemy, I am happy to report that I received high praise for this baby back ribs recipe (adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine). Anytime a large hunk of meat is marinated in a mixture made primarily of beer and molasses, you are bound to be rewarded with a succulent, flavorful entree. At first I cringed at the amount of bourbon in the barbecue sauce. You see, besides my foray into Kamikaze Cocktails and Shots, I am typically not one for strong alcohol. (If anyone from my high school is reading this, I will come after you with a barbecue fork if you dare dispute this.)

Once the sauce simmers and thickens, the distinctive smoky flavor of the bourbon mellows and pairs nicely with the bite of vinegar and sweetness of the brown sugar. This certainly earns a spot on my Best of…Grilling and Summer Barbecue Recipes.

The ribs:
In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1 1/2 cups water, 2 (12 oz.) bottles lager or pale ale, 1/4 cup robust (strong) molasses, 8 fresh thyme sprigs, 2 sliced garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons kosher salt, 2 bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.


Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and allow to cool completely.

Cut 2 racks of baby back (pork) ribs in half (there should be approximately 24 ribs in total). Place two pieces in each of two resealable plastic bags. Divide the cooled marinade between the two bags, seal, then massage the sauce over the ribs. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and preferably overnight.

The sauce:
Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add 1 small onion, finely chopped, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is light golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Add 1 cup red wine vinegar and cook until the vinegar is reduced to about 3/4 cup, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup robust molasses, 1/4 cup water, 1/2 cup bourbon, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

Return saucepan to stove and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. The sauce can be prepared 1 day ahead.

Cooking the ribs:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

Line a large baking sheet with a double layer of foil. Remove ribs from marinade and lay them on the baking sheet. Pour half of the marinade (contents of one bag) over the ribs. Discard the remaining marinade.


Cover the ribs tightly with foil and bake in the oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the outside of the ribs turns opaque (in other words, the outside won’t look raw anymore).

Brush grill with canola oil or spray with cooking spray and preheat it to high heat.

Pour 1 cup bourbon-molasses sauce into a bowl to use for basting. Lay the ribs on the grill and sear for 1 minute per side. Reduce heat to low, baste ribs, and close cover. Grill until the ribs are cooked through, basting and turning every 5 minutes, about 20 minutes total. Remove from grill, let rest for 10 minutes, then serve with remaining bourbon-molasses sauce.


Other grilled rib recipes:

Use Real Butter Big Bob Gibson’s Bar-B-Q Ribs
Ravenous Couple’s Hoisin Glazed Barbecue Pork Ribs
Macheesmo’s Grilled Short Ribs & Roasted Pepper Salsa
Viet World Kitchen’s Thai Barbecued Baby Back Pork Ribs

Grilled Baby Back Pork Ribs with Molasses & Bourbon Sauce Recipe

Prep Time: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes

Total Time: 7 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Serving Size: About 4 ribs

Grilled Baby Back Pork Ribs with Molasses & Bourbon Sauce Recipe

Ingredients

    The ribs:
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 (12 oz. each) bottles lager or pale ale
  • 1/4 cup robust (strong) molasses
  • 8 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 racks baby back ribs, cut in half (about 24 ribs total)
  • The sauce:
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup robust (strong) molasses
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 2 tbsp (packed) brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

    The ribs:
  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together water, lager or pale ale, molasses, thyme sprigs, garlic, honey, salt, bay leaves, and black pepper.
  2. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and allow to cool completely.
  3. Place two halves of rib racks in each of two resealable plastic bags. Divide the cooled marinade between the two bags, seal, then massage the sauce over the ribs. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and preferably overnight.
  4. The sauce:
  5. Heat canola oil in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is light golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook for additional 30 seconds. Stir in red wine vinegar and cook until the vinegar is reduced to about 3/4 cup, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in ketchup, molasses, water, bourbon, brown sugar, kosher salt, and pepper.
  6. Return saucepan to stove and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. The sauce can be prepared 1 day ahead.
  7. Cooking the ribs:
  8. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  9. Line a large baking sheet with a double layer of foil. Remove ribs from marinade and lay them on the baking sheet. Pour half of the marinade (contents of one bag) over the ribs. Discard the remaining marinade.
  10. Cover the ribs tightly with foil and bake in the oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the outside of the ribs turns opaque (in other words, the outside won't look raw anymore).
  11. Brush grill with canola oil or spray with cooking spray and preheat it to high heat.
  12. Pour 1 cup bourbon-molasses sauce into a bowl to use for basting. Lay the ribs on the grill and sear for 1 minute per side. Reduce heat to low, baste ribs, and close cover. Grill until the ribs are cooked through, basting and turning every 5 minutes, about 20 minutes total. Remove from grill, let rest for 10 minutes, then serve with remaining bourbon-molasses sauce.

Notes

From the kitchen of Cookin' Canuck | cookincanuck.com Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gera @ Sweets Foods Blog July 7, 2010 at 4:48 am

Omg with these ribs made with the Borubon sauce! The photo looks scrumptious :)

Deserve a big bite!

Cheers,

Gera

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2 Homescratchcanam July 7, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Your posts always make my mouth water!

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3 Rachel (Two Healthy Plates) July 7, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Forget about Memphis! These ribs looks amazing and that combination of flavors sounds insanely good. Why can't ribs be healthy….like carrot sticks?! Life is so unfair that way.

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4 Kalyn July 7, 2010 at 1:20 pm

My mom always made barbecued ribs in the oven; in fact the only thing I remember her ever cooking on a grill was burgers and hot dogs. Sounds good to me!

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5 queenbeeeatsforaday July 7, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Looks lovely – we are making baby back ribs this weekend, maybe we'll try your recipe!

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6 Kathy - Panini Happy July 7, 2010 at 2:29 pm

You won't hear any scoffing from me – this is exactly how I love my ribs. I'd love to try this bourbon sauce, sounds delectable!

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7 roxan July 7, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Wow, these look absolutely amazing! I don't really eat much meat anymore, especially pork,… but I do splurge on occasions and I would most definitely use up a meat splurge on these ribs!

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8 Belinda @zomppa July 7, 2010 at 2:42 pm

I scoff at this not!! I think we may be doing some ribs too so this seems perfect.

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9 Squeaky Gourmet July 7, 2010 at 3:10 pm

I love the sauce recipe! Looks fantastic!

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10 Recipe for Delicious July 7, 2010 at 7:49 pm

If anyone wasted time scoffing at those, I would steal their share while they did it! Looks awesome!

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11 Steve July 7, 2010 at 8:52 pm

I use a dry rub them braise them in beer or apple cider for hours in the oven before they hit the grill to finish. Lower and slower is the way to go.

The purists may not have anything else to do for 3 hours beside stand by the BBQ with a beer but the rest of us have got other chores you know.

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12 pegasuslegend July 7, 2010 at 9:09 pm

did you say their were ribs with this sauce? Gulp, guzzle….dont need the ribs, pass that bourbon sauce please! wonderful

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13 Cookin' Canuck July 7, 2010 at 11:30 pm

Thanks so much for all of your comments. I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who doesn't stand around the grill for hours while cooking ribs.

Steve, I'll have to try the apple cider braising next time.

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14 Cookie Sleuth July 8, 2010 at 3:50 am

My husband would love this!

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15 penny aka jeroxie July 8, 2010 at 4:13 am

I really like this recipe and great way to use up the molasses I have been storing in my pantry.

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16 marla {family fresh cooking} July 8, 2010 at 4:41 am

Well done with these ribs. I wound not dare judge your grilling technique as I am in awe as to how great these look. I bet that sauce is a fantastic marinade. My hubs and I don't drink, but I love the flavor alcohol adds to cooked meals. xo

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17 fromBAtoParis July 8, 2010 at 6:10 am

Only one word…Mouthwatering !!!!

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18 Frank July 8, 2010 at 12:56 pm

These look lip-smackingly good! Nothing like meat close to the bone, eh?

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19 A SPICY PERSPECTIVE July 8, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Mmm! Not many things say SUMMER as well as great ribs! The sauce sounds fantastic!

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20 Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe July 8, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Thanks for stopping by the WhistleStop Cafe!
I made some Molasses and Bourbon sauce last week~ and I always cook my ribs then finish them on the grill. Girl… we got thangs to to.

Come visit often.

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21 Live.Love.Eat July 8, 2010 at 10:50 pm

No look of horror from here. Only a look of "I'm hungry again and I just ate dinner."

These look insane!! I am definitely going to try these.

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22 Devaki July 9, 2010 at 2:22 am

Dear Dara – To 'h**l with the scoffers! These look so darn good that you'd give the charcoal grilling', mesquite smokin' boys a run for their money :)

Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

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23 wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... July 9, 2010 at 3:43 am

Oh the ribs are making me drool…
I'm definately bookmarking this.
Thanks for sharing n also for dropping by my blog :)

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24 Maria July 9, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Great summer grilling recipe!

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25 Jenny July 10, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Oh baby does this ever look good!! Have a great weekend Dara!!

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26 Ingrid July 10, 2010 at 8:20 pm

THis looks soooo good! I love ribs and this is a fabulous recipe!

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27 Tracy July 11, 2010 at 10:10 pm

This looks so full of flavor! I still have never grilled ribs before and I totally want to go for it now!

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28 Michelle @ Brown Eyed Baker July 13, 2010 at 2:00 am

What an amazing dish! Love the molasses and bourbon sauce!

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29 Matt Kay August 28, 2010 at 8:33 pm

I love grilling my and if someone put their grilled ribs in front of me I'd have no chance of turning them down.

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30 amish bed frames November 12, 2010 at 2:37 am

I am definitely willing to ruin my diet with this! I love it! It really looks so delicious.

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31 Bonny @ Clever Hen October 4, 2013 at 8:22 am

These look wonderfully sticky and delicious. I can’t wait to try them! The biscuits too…Huff Taste thanks for sharing.

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32 ksm May 25, 2014 at 11:32 am

Looking forward to having these tomorrow for Memorial Day! Thanks to all our Veterans!
BTW Just noticed that the ketchup amount is not listed in the ingredients list at the bottom of your page? I did find it in your wonderful pictures and written directions above.

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33 Dara May 28, 2014 at 9:44 am

Thanks for letting me know! I hope you enjoyed the ribs.

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34 Regina June 10, 2014 at 4:03 pm

What are your thoughts about cooking the ribs until they are done in the oven, cool them and then grill the next day? I have done this with other recipes where I smoke the ribs till just done and then finish them the next day. Thanks

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