Competition-Style Barbecue Ribs Recipe

Joshua Bousel

After spending the summer on these sweet and shiny competition-style pork ribs, it's time to share these perfectly tender and smoky beauties with you.

Recipe Details

Competition-Style Barbecue Ribs Recipe

Active 2 hrs
Total 6 hrs
Serves 4 to 6 servings


  • 2 racks St. Louis-cut pork ribs

  • 1/2 cup yellow mustard

  • 1 cup your favorite barbecue rub

  • 2 cups apple juice, divided, 1 cup placed in a squirt bottle

  • 2 to 3 fist size chunks of light smoking wood, such as cherry or apple

  • 1 cup your favorite barbecue sauce

  • 1/2 cup agave syrup (optional)

  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar (optional)


  1. Remove the membrane from the back of each rack, and trim the ribs of excess fat. Brush meat side of each rack with yellow mustard, then rub liberally with barbecue rub on both sides.

  2. Fire up smoker or grill to 225°F, adding chunks of smoking wood when at temperature. When the wood is ignited and producing smoke, place the ribs in the smoker or grill, meat side up. Smoke until ribs darken to a deep mahogany, about 3 hours, misting with apple juice in a squirt bottle every hour.

  3. Wrap each rack, meat side up, in extra-large heavy duty aluminum foil, leaving an opening on one end of foil. Pour 1/2 cup of apple juice in each foil pack through opening, seal, and place back on smoker or grill for 1 hour.

  4. Remove ribs from foil and place ribs back in smoker and continue to cook until ribs have a slight bend when lifted from one end, 1 to 2 hours more, squirting with apple juice every hour. Remove ribs from smoker or grill, wrap in foil, and place in an empty cooler to keep warm while preparing the grill.

  5. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Alternatively, set all the burners of a gas grill to high heat. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Remove racks from foil and brush with barbecue sauce. Place ribs face down over hot fire and cook until sauce caramelizes, 2 to 5 minutes. Remove racks from grill.

  6. For extra sweet and shiny ribs: Tear off two more large sheets of aluminum foil longer than each rack. In a rectangle the approximate size of each rack of ribs, spread 1/4 cup of agave syrup and sprinkle 1⁄4 cup brown sugar on top of agave on each piece of foil. Place ribs, meat side down, on top of agave and sugar, and wrap foil closed around ribs. Place ribs back on smoker for 15 minutes. Remove ribs from smoker and foil, then slice and serve.

Special equipment

Smoker or Grill

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
882 Calories
56g Fat
45g Carbs
50g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 882
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 56g 71%
Saturated Fat 17g 83%
Cholesterol 212mg 71%
Sodium 1425mg 62%
Total Carbohydrate 45g 16%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Total Sugars 36g
Protein 50g
Vitamin C 32mg 162%
Calcium 104mg 8%
Iron 4mg 24%
Potassium 950mg 20%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)