Sweet Maple Vinegar Ribs

Sweet Maple Vinegar Ribs
Sweet Maple Vinegar Ribs on the Grill. Sabrina Baksh
  • 2 hrs
  • Prep: 30 mins,
  • Cook: 90 mins
  • Yield: serves 4

These ribs are coated with three layers of flavor. First, a sweet and mildly spicy rub, then a maple vinegar baste, and finally a sweet maple syrup barbecue sauce. A great flavor combination for ribs that can be prepared on a gas or charcoal, and smoker.   

What You'll Need

  • 1 rack/3 lbs of St. Louis cut pork ribs
  • For the Rub:
  • 1/3 cup/80 mL brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon/15 mL kosher salt (or sea salt)
  • 1 tablespoon/15 mL mild chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon/7.5 mL fine ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon/7.5 mL onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon/5 mL mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon/2.5 mL paprika (not smoked)
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 cup/240 mL ketchup
  • 1/2 cup/120 mL pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons/45 mL maple vinegar
  • For the Baste (Mop):
  • 3/4 cup/160 mL maple vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons/45 mL rub mixture
  • 3 tablespoons/45 mL barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon/2.5 mL Worcestershire sauce

How to Make It

  1. Combine rub mixture in a small bowl.  Remove 1/3 cup/80 mL of rub from the bowl and use this for the ribs. Set the remaining rub aside to use in both the sauce and baste.
  2. To prepare sauce: combine ketchup, maple syrup, 2 tablespoons/30 mL of the reserved rub mixture, maple vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce in a small saucepan. Let sauce simmer over medium heat for 1 minute, reduce heat and simmer for an additional 3 minutes, stirring often.  Remove from heat and cover.
  1. To prepare the baste (or mop): In a small saucepan combine 3/4 cup/160 mL maple vinegar with Worcestershire sauce, 3 tablespoons/45 mL each of the rub, and prepared barbecue sauce. Simmer over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until rub is mostly dissolved. Remove from heat and cover.
  2. Preheat grill or smoker for a two hour cook time at a temperature of 350 degrees F. These ribs can be done on a smoker using the standard low and slow method for several hours, or at 350 degrees for about two hours. If using a grill, set up for an indirect cooking method. On a gas grill, place a large sheet of aluminum foil under the cooking grates to help keep the grill clean. Wood chips or chunks can be added to give these ribs an extra, smoky flavor. At 350 degrees, the ribs will reach their target temperature (around 185 to 195 degrees F) in about two hours.
  3. Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs by gently lifting a corner of the membrane with a blunt knife. Grab the membrane with a paper towel and slowly lift it away.  Coat meat portion of ribs with the 1/3 cup of rub. Make sure all of the meat is well coated with the mixture, but place the bulk of the rub on the meat side of the rack.
  4. Place rib slab, bone side down, onto the preheated grill or smoker and cook as desired depending on the preferred method. If using a drip pan or sheet of foil, place the ribs directly over it.
  5. Rewarm baste before using.  Once the ribs have reached approximately 165 degrees F, begin basting. To test the temperature of a rack of ribs, place the probe of an instant read thermometer between the bones in several locations. It may be necessary to rotate the rack for even cooking. Monitoring the temperature on each end will help show when this needs to be done. Cooked indirectly, the rack does not need to be flipped. Baste ribs three times, every ten minutes. Keeping the bast hot will prevent it from cooling the ribs when it is applied. 
  1. If the barbecue sauce has cooled too much, rewarm for a minute or two on the stove top before applying on the ribs. Apply sauce once the ribs have reached the target temperature. Two applications, about five minutes apart will create a thick coating. 
  2. Once ribs reach 190 degrees F., it is time to remove the ribs from the grill or smoker.  Using a large pair of tongs, remove rib slab and place onto a large cutting board.  Let meat rest for 5-10 minutes before handling. Carefully cut into individual ribs and serve with reserved maple barbecue sauce.
  3. If you are cooking two slabs, double the rub recipe, but keep the sauce portions the same.  Increase the baste with a 1/4 cup/60 mL of additional maple vinegar.  However, you will not have extra barbecue sauce to serve with cooked ribs.