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Sweet and Smokey Pork Baby Back Ribs

These pork ribs are everything I want in a pork rib... fall off the bone tender, smokey and sweet, caramelized and sticky -- and it feeds a crowd. This recipe was adapted from the Traeger Everyday Cookbook and uses a simple cooking method of 3 hours of smoke, 2 hours wrapped, and 1 hour with sauce on the grill. Best way to serve- with a side of potato salad, corn bread, and paper towels.

Course Main Course
Keyword pork ribs
Servings 8 people
Author Christina Shoup


  • 3 racks pork ribs about 8 lbs
  • ¾ cup apple juice, Coke, or Dr. Pepper divided
  • ½ cup yellow mustard
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • sweet mesquite seasoning I used Kirkland brand
  • ½ cup brown sugar I used smoked brown sugar
  • cup honey warmed
  • BBQ sauce I like Kinders


Smoke the ribs- 3 hours

  1. Prepare the ribs by removing and discarding the membrane from the bone-side of the rib.

  2. In a small bowl, combine mustard, ½ cup of the juice or soda, and Worcestershire sauce. Spread on both sides of the ribs, followed by the smoked paprika and enough mesquite seasoning to completely cover the ribs. Set aside on a rimmed baking sheet while you prepare the smoker.

  3. Turn the Traeger to the smoke setting. Leave the lid open and wait for the fire to establish, about 4-5 minutes. Smoke the ribs meat-side up with the lid closed for 3 hours. Transfer the ribs to a clean baking sheet and set the grill to 225°

Grill the wrapped ribs- 2 hours

  1. Place each rack of ribs in a separate piece of foil large enough to wrap completely.

  2. Divide the brown sugar evenly among the racks, followed by the honey. Fold up the sides slightly and add remaining juice or soda. Carefully gather the two long sides of foil at the top and fold down tightly a few times. Fold in the sides a few times to tightly form a sealed packet.

  3. Return foil packets to the grill and cook for 2 hours.

Sauce the ribs- 1 hour

  1. Bring a rimmed baking sheet close to the grill, along with the BBQ sauce and a pastry or silicone brush. Using tongs, carefully open each packet and slide the racks onto the grill, taking care not to spill the liquid or burn yourself with the steam. Remove the foil to the baking sheet and discard.

  2. Brush the meat side of the ribs with BBQ sauce and continue to cook for 30 min- 1 hour. They will likely (and hopefully!) be too tender to flip over to coat the back side of the ribs with sauce. This is just fine.

  3. Remove ribs to a cutting board and after a few minutes of resting, cut between ribs as desired and serve warm or room temperature.