Smoky Baby Back Ribs


Smoky, sticky, falling-off-the-bone ribs are easier than you think.

  • PREP: 15 MINS


  • 2 racks baby back pork ribs (about 2 1/2 pounds total)
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup Cajun seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons smoked or sweet paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • Chipotle Sauce (see Cook’s Notes)


Chipotle Sauce
Stir together 1 cup chili sauce, 1/4 cup chopped chipotle chiles in adobo, and 2 tablespoons honey.


  1. Prep the ribs: Depending on how the butcher has trimmed the ribs, there may be a tough, rubbery membrane on the underside. If so, score meat between bones (being careful not to cut the meat) and pull membrane away.
  2. To cook on the grill, set up grill for indirect cooking: arrange heat source (charcoal or gas) on one side of grill and heat to medium-high.
  3. Combine brown sugar, 1/3 cup salt, 1 teaspoon ground pepper, Cajun seasoning, paprika, cayenne, and ground mustard. Reserve half the rub for later use (store in an airtight container, up to a month). Working with 1 rack at a time, lay a large piece of parchment-lined foil on a work surface, place rack on parchment, and liberally coat both sides with rub.
  4. Place rib packets on cooler side of grill, standing them upright on long sides. Cover grill and cook until a knife can pierce meat with no resistance, about 2 1/2 hours (if using a charcoal grill, add a couple handfuls of coals every half hour to maintain 300 degrees).
  5. Fold foil and parchment around ribs, crimping the edges together to form a packet.
  6. Remove ribs from grill, unwrap, and brush with Chipotle Sauce. If using a charcoal grill, lift grate to carefully spread out hot coals. On a gas grill, place ribs directly over heat source. Grill until sauce is bubbling and ribs are lightly charred, 2 minutes per side, brushing with more sauce if desired.
  7. To cook in the oven, preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place rib packets on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until a knife can pierce meat with no resistance, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
  8. Remove ribs from oven. Heat broiler. Unwrap ribs, place on sheet, and brush with Chipotle Sauce.
  9. Broil until sauce is bubbling and ribs are lightly charred, about 5 minutes, brushing with more sauce if desired.