The Secret Ingredient (Maple Syrup): Maple Baby-Back Ribs Recipe


[Photograph: Kerry Saretsky]

Maple syrup is made, not surprisingly, from the sap of the maple tree. I love it as a sweetener because not only is it sweet, but also smoky, which lends itself well to savory applications as well as the tried and true sweet ones.

For this recipe, I marinate tender, lean baby back ribs in maple syrup and apple cider vinegar for a sweet-tart complexity. I then bake the ribs in a low oven for three hours, until the meat is tender and flaking off the bone, and the syrup has burnt and caramelized on the ribs, intensifying both its sweetness and smokiness. These ribs are simple and subtle, but also satisfying and excellent.

Recipe Facts

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 3 hrs
Marinate: 60 mins
Total: 4 hrs 5 mins
Serves: 2 servings

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  • 3 pounds baby back ribs

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • Kosher salt and black pepper


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 300°F. In large bowl, combine ribs with maple syrup, cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Toss to coat. Transfer to gallon-sized zipper-lock back and refrigerate for one hour.

  2. Transfer ribs to foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and bake, turning every 45 minutes until ribs are dry and tender and marinade has caramelized, about three hours total. Remove from oven, allow to rest 5 minutes, and serve.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1235 Calories
75g Fat
54g Carbs
81g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 1235
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 75g 97%
Saturated Fat 27g 137%
Cholesterol 294mg 98%
Sodium 2227mg 97%
Total Carbohydrate 54g 20%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 49g
Protein 81g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 246mg 19%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 1023mg 22%
*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.)