These smoked honey chipotle ribs are incredibly tender and pack a lip smacking flavor!
The time of the year doesn’t even matter when it comes to these ribs, they are great in a charcoal/offset smoker or even on a sit and forget pellet smoker. After the first time making this recipe you will find yourself making them for any occasion, it could be the BBQ to kick off summer, a birthday party or even a family gathering for the 4th of July, these Honey Chipotle Smoked Ribs will never disappoint!
I’ve had a lot of people come up to me at the cookout and say they think it’s too hard and they are scared to mess the ribs up if they made them at home. This is all far from the truth! There is no need to be intimidated by smoking ribs, or any other large protein. I personally like to use a charcoal smoker/grill but one of the best ways to get started is by using a pellet smoker. It’s as simple as placing them on and sitting back and waiting.
But first, it is critical to get the preparation right before the ribs go on the smoker.
HOW PREPARE THE RIBS FOR SMOKING
The most important thing to do when smoking ribs is removing the membrane off the back of the ribs. This part will not render down and will become tough and chewy if you do not take it off. Use the back of a spoon and lift it up and then use a paper towel to get a grip and rip it off.
Once this is done, it is time to apply the ribs with a binder, I use mustard because it seems to really hold the seasoning and helps form a great bark. Slather the whole slab of ribs and then spread it around with your hand until it is covered, a light coat is perfectly fine for this.
Now, season the ribs on the top, bottom and sides. I like to use a sweet bbq rub that consists of brown sugar and has a nice little kick of heat with cayenne pepper. The flavors will play well with the Chipotle Honey BBQ Sauce at the end. Let the ribs sit for one hour while they are covered in seasoning.
HOW TO SMOKE RIBS ON A PELLET SMOKER
Getting the temperature to stay at a steady 250 degrees while smoking ribs is one of the most challenging things when it comes to bbq. This is why using a pellet smoker can really help, they are typically really reliable and can stay in the plus or minus 10 degree range of the smoke, which is fine.
Fire the pellet smoker up at 250 degrees F and add the ribs bone side down. Let them smoke for about 1 1/2 hours and then spritz with apple juice or apple cider vinegar every 20-30 minutes to keep the bark from getting tough. It normally takes 4-5 hours for the ribs to be done and this is without wrapping them.
HONEY CHIPOTLE BBQ SAUCE
When there are 45 minutes left for the ribs on the smoker, add a saucepan over medium heat and make the Honey Chipotle BBQ Sauce. It starts with ketchup, apple cider vinegar, molasses, honey, adobo sauce from the can, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne pepper. Whisk this in the pot and let it come to a light simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
At this point the ribs should only have about 15-20 minutes left on the smoker. This is where you apply a good coating to the Honey Chipotle BBQ Sauce that was just made. Let it finish for about 15 minutes, this will let the glaze set in place.
Remove the ribs and let rest for 30 minutes and serve!
Honey Chipotle Smoked Ribs
- 3 racks of spare ribs
- Mustard as a binder
- Sweet Preacher Rub
- Honey Chipotle BBQ Sauce
- 1 1/4 cup Ketchup
- 1/3 cup Apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons Honey
- 2 tablespoons Molasses
- 2 tablespoons Chipotle sauce from the can
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- Start off by prepping the spare ribs and removing the membrane. Apply mustard as a binder on the top, bottom and sides. Now season them up with your favorite sweet bbq rub. Let the ribs sit for one hour.
- While the ribs are sitting, fire up the smoker and set the temperature to 250 degrees F. Once the hour expires and the temperature is set add the ribs bone side down. Close the lid and sit back and relax for about 90 minutes. This is when the ribs will spritz with apple juice every 20-30 minutes until the Chipotle Honey BBQ Sauce is applied.
- Keep spritzing the ribs and when the ribs have been on for 3 hours 45 minutes begin making the Honey Chipotle BBQ Sauce.
- In a saucepan add ketchup, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, honey, chipotle from the can, kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne pepper. Whisk for 12-15 minutes and then remove to let cool.
- When there is 20 minutes left on the smoke, apply the glaze generously and let them sit. Remove and rest for 30 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy, also add more of the Honey Chipotle BBQ Sauce if needed