Low 'n Slow Bourbon Ribs

Jun 10, 2019 | Brendon Boothman


I’m going to share with you my favorite way to cook ribs, no shortcuts.  My cook time is roughly 5-6 hours but I guarantee you will impress your guests!

I prefer to cook side ribs, sometimes referred to as spare ribs.  I know some prefer back ribs but the side ribs have more fat tissue which improves the flavor.  My prep is very simple, trim off any small excess pieces and apply a rub.  Some like to remove the membrane but I don’t, if cooked properly this membrane is not an issue.  My rub is also simple, salt & pepper and Rufus Teague sweet & savory rub found at Peavey Mart. 

I cook on a pellet smoker.  Any smoker will do and if you don’t have a smoker I prefer to wrap the ribs in tinfoil to cook in the oven (on baking sheet).  I cook ribs on the smoker at 250 for about 2 ½ - 3 hours.  You can spray the ribs once or twice during this process with apple cider vinegar to keep them moist and check your color.  Once done the ribs will have a nice rich color on a barky crust, when picked up they should bend but not fall apart (if they fall apart they’re over cooked!). 

Next step is to wrap them in tinfoil with butter, brown sugar and a spray of apple cider vinegar.  Put them back into the smoker, bone side up, or oven (on baking sheet), for another 1 ½ hours.  Since they are wrapped the smoke will not penetrate the meat so I prefer to use my oven and save my wood pellets. 

Now is a good time to make your sauce, many store purchased sauces are ok but over the years of practice I’ve always found homemade to be the best:

Bourbon sauce recipe

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 cup Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • Dash vanilla liquid smoke


  1. Combine all ingredients in saucepan, bring to boil over high heat; stirring occasionally
  2. Reduce heat to low; simmer uncovered for 20 minutes stirring occasionally

Whatever sauce you don’t use store it in a mason jar in the fridge for 2 weeks, or freeze in a Ziploc bag for your next cook. 

Ok so you’re about 4 hours into your cook time.  Last step is to take off the foil and put ribs back onto the smoker to apply your sauce.  Apply to one side and cook for 15 minutes, turn and re-apply. 

Take off smoker and let sit for 10 minutes then carve and serve.  I like to cut into 2-3 bone pieces as this seems to be a good serving size.  Time to enjoy! 

As you will notice this is a long process but completely worth it.  Like most things in life, you get out of it what you put into it!