Utah Bites

Baby Back Ribs with Whiskey BBQ Sauce

Here’s a great recipe for pork baby back ribs. The ribs are cooked first in the oven and then finished off on the grill (or under a broiler).


If you’re grilling for Memorial Day, but don’t want to spend the entire holiday over a hot fire, here’s a great recipe for pork baby back ribs.

The ribs are cooked first in the oven and then finished off on the grill (or under a broiler). Don’t be deterred by the number of sauce ingredients. It’s really quite simple to make once you have all of your ingredients lined up and this sauce is delicious. And, the recipe makes enough sauce to freeze some for use another time. Or, you could really simplify things and just use your favorite store-bought BBQ sauce.


Sauce ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small minced onion
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. liquid smoke flavoring
  • 2 tsp. whiskey
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp dark molasses
  • 1/2 Tbsp ground red chile pepper

Ribs & seasoning

  • 2 slabs baby back pork ribs
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • ground red chile pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Remove the silver skin from the ribs and then cut each rib rack in half. (If you use two slabs, you’ll now have four half-racks.) Sprinkle the ribs on each side with salt and pepper (more pepper than salt), along with a few pinches of chile pepper. Wrap each half-rack securely in aluminum foil.
  3. Place the foil-wrapped ribs onto a rimmed baking sheet (in case some of the juices leak out). Bake for 2 1/2 hours.
  4. While the ribs are baking, heat the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onions in the oil, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
  5. Next, stir in all of the remaining ingredients: from water through the chile pepper. Mix well, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer slowly for 1 1/4 hours or until the sauce has thickened. Remove the sauce from the heat and set aside for later use.
  6. Remove the ribs from the oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Heat an outdoor grill to high heat.
  7. Remove the ribs from the foil and place them on the grill. Grill the ribs for 3-4 minutes on each side. Brush the whiskey BBQ sauce on the ribs just before they’re done grilling, so the sauce doesn’t burn. 
  8. Serve heated, with additional sauce for the ribs, if desired.



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Food writer Ted SchefflerOriginally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.

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