Welcome to the best sweet heat bourbon rib recipe!

Sweet heat bourbon ribs are an elevated take on the traditional barbecue dish. This recipe blends together a duo of sweet and spicy flavors, enhanced by the aroma and warmth of the smooth-tasting bourbon. It is this combination that makes these ribs so delicious and appealing; they offer the perfect harmony between candy-like sweetness and tongue-tingling heat, making them a go-to choice for those who enjoy a bit of both!


What you will need for this recipe

To make sweet heat bourbon ribs, you’ll need a few simple ingredients. Of course, you’ll need ribs – feel free to use your favorite type, such as pork spare ribs or beef back ribs. You’ll also need a bottle of your favorite bourbon, as well as a sweet and spicy BBQ sauce. Any type of slow cooker can be used for this recipe but I will primarily use a smoker for this. If you are using a non-smoker cooker, I would recommend taking a look at some liquid smoke. 

Where do baby back ribs come from?

Baby back ribs are a type of pork rib that comes from the top of the ribcage. They’re known as “baby back” ribs because they’re smaller and more tender than other cuts of pork ribs, such as spare ribs. Baby back ribs are often considered to be a more premium cut of pork, due to their tenderness and mild flavor. They are widely available in many parts of the world and are a common menu item at BBQ restaurants and at backyard cookouts. When cooked properly, baby back ribs are tender and flavorful, with a delicate balance of meat and fat. They are easy to eat and make for a delicious and satisfying meal.


Summertime is synonymous with grilling out. From burgers and hot dogs to chicken and steaks, there’s nothing like cooking up a meal on the grill. If you’re looking to add some variety to your summer grilling menu, why not try ribs? These Sweet Heat Bourbon Ribs are an absolute must to make. They are so good that it doesn’t even matter if it’s Monday night, these ribs will be worth making. It starts with a simple dry rub and then lets the smoke rest until we make the star of the show Sweet Heat Bourbon Sauce! Okay, we already know it’s absolutely money so let’s get to it!

sweet heat rib rub

Sweet Heat Bourbon Ribs

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 5 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American


  • 2 Racks of baby back ribs

Dry Rub

  • 2 tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 2 tbsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp Dry mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp Garlic powder

Sweet Heat Bourbon Sauce

  • 1 cup Ketchup
  • ¼ cup Water
  • ¼ cup Apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup Brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp Bourbon
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp Honey


Keyword ribs, smoked ribs, spicy, spicy ribs


  1. Remove the baby’s back ribs membrane and cut off any extra hard fat and silver skin.
  2. In a large mixing bowl add all of your seasonings to create your dry rub. Kosher salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, mustard powder and garlic powder. Mix by hand until blended well.
  3. Add a tablespoon of hot sauce to each side of the ribs and rub as a binder. Season your ribs on the backside first and then flip and season generously. 
  4. Set your smoker up at 250 degrees and place a drip pan with 2 cups of water under your grates. Add 6-8 ounces of applewood and then add the ribs bone side down.
  5. Smoke for 2-3 hours, spritzing with apple cider vinegar every 45 mins. Remove after 3 hours and wrap in butcher paper. Bone side up and 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter and wrap. Place back on the smoker at 250 degrees
  6. After 1 hour and 30 mins make your Sweet Heat Bourbon Sauce. Get a saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil and garlic, simmer for 2 mins. Add the rest of the ingredients into the saucepan and let simmer for 10-12 mins. 
  7. Remove the ribs from the butcher paper and sauce. Place it back on the grill for another 20 mins. This will let the glaze set. Remove and rest for 15 mins.
  8. Slice up the ribs in portions and serve.
  9. Enjoy with friends and family!

Did you enjoy these sweet heat bourbon ribs? You’ll love my other pork recipes in the link below!

Pork Recipes

Items Used in This Recipe

Hasty Bake Grill

Heat Resistant Gloves

Meater +

Anvil and Hammer Knife


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