Summer Cookout: Cider BBQ Ribs

Summer is here and it’s time to fire up the grills!  There is nothing better than firing up the grill or the smoker on a weekend afternoon, letting racks of ribs slowly cook, and spending the day floating in the pool.

One of the best pieces of equipment that we’ve ever bought has been our electric smoker. I completely suck at building and maintaining fires, so it’s been great to turn on the smoker and just let it do it’s thing.  These days, our meat smoking has gotten a bit more creative, and while my husband plays with the smoke flavors and liquids, my job is to create sauces and rubs.

LRM_EXPORT_20180603_212311For one of our first full summer weekends, we decided to smoke a rack of baby back ribs.  While the ribs slowly smoked over pecan wood for several hours, I created a bbq sauce using some of my favorite ingredients–local hard cider, apple cider vinegar, and lots of flavorful spices.

Summer Cookout: Cider BBQ Ribs

Summer Cookout: Cider BBQ Ribs


  • 1-2 racks baby back ribs
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1-12 oz can hard cider (we used 3 Daughters Key Lime Cider, from St. Petersburg, FL)
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • 3-4 dashes tobasco
  • 2 cloves garlic-minced
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder


  1. Prep meat by rinsing and patting dry. Sprinkle the meaty side of the ribs with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Place ribs in smoker and slowly smoke at 230 degrees for 3 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together half of cider and all remaining ingredients. Pour sauce into a squirt bottle and reserve any leftover sauce.
  3. After 3 hours, drench the ribs in the sauce and continue slowly smoking for another hour.
  4. After an hour, remove ribs from smoker, create aluminum foil pouch and pour remaining cider under the ribs.
  5. Seal the pouches and smoke for another hour.
  6. Remove from smoker and allow to rest for 20 minutes before cutting.
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