Bourbon Maple Ribs Recipe

It’s cold, unforgiving, and can bite to the bone sending shivers throughout the body. Sometimes you just want to wrap yourself up and hide from it. Somehow seeking warmth and comfort from its ugliness. Oh yeah, and the weather can be bad too.

Too much lately have we been reminded of the ugliness of life. We all approach life differently, savoring the sweetness and swallowing the bitterness in our own ways. For Diane and I, we struggle with the seeming pointlessness of writing about food on the heels of tragedy, yet this is where we find refuge, in the things we love.

Cooking. Going out to a movie. Going for a walk and holding the hand of someone you love. Watching or playing sports. Curling up to a book. These seemingly trivial acts are often places of comfort and help remind us of the pleasures in life.

Gather friends into our homes and allow ourselves to laugh and cheer. Stoking the fires of the soul to bring back its warmth. These things help bring back our smiles and carry on with life. That is what comfort and all of its trivialities does. That is why we share.

Here is one of our favorite comfort foods, ribs. To be specific, Bourbon-Maple glazed St. Louis cut spare ribs. Sweet from the maple, a tinge of smokiness from the bourbon, and cooked to nearly fall off the meat packed-bone tender. These are cooked using the same method we used for the Sriracha-Hoisin ribs, wrapping the ribs in foil with apple juice, baking them in the oven, and then partially through the cooking time adding a glaze and finishing until tender. And with the bourbon open, go ahead and pour yourself a little nip.


5 from 1 vote
Bourbon-Maple Glazed Pork Ribs
Total Time
2 hrs 30 mins

The St. Louis cut spare rib is a great meaty cut, but this recipe will work equally well with baby back ribs. If you want to offer a bit of variance to your guests, make the Sriracha-Hoisin rib glaze as well and serve up a sweeter rib (this one) and a spicier rib (the sriracha-hoisin) to please the crowd.

Servings: 6 Servings
  • two 3 pound (1360g) racks St. Louis cut Spare Ribs
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) Kosher or Sea Salt
  • fresh cracked Black Pepper to taste
  • 2 cups (480ml) Apple Juice
Bourbon-Maple Glaze
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) Apple Juice
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) Bourbon
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) Tomato Paste
  • 1 T (15ml) Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 t (5ml) Fish Sauce (optional but very tasty)
  • 2 T (28g) Brown Sugar
  • 1 t (5g) Kosher or Sea Salt
Ribs Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Rinse ribs and pat dry. Cut each rack in half and season ribs with salt and pepper.
  3. Make 4 “boats” out of doubled up sheets of foil large enough to enclose each ribs section (*refer to sriracha-hoisin ribs photos for visual guide). Place ribs, meaty side up, in boats and pour 1/2 cup of apple juice in each of the boats.
  4. Seal foil boats closed around the ribs, trapping the juice in with the ribs and being careful not to break the foil. Place on sheet pans.
  5. Bake for one hour. Remove from oven, carefully open the foil, and brush with bourbon-maple glaze *recipe follows.
  6. Return to oven, leaving the foil open but with the foil sides standing up enough to keep the juices around the ribs. Bake for another 45 minutes. Glaze ribs again, then return to oven for another 45 minutes.
  7. Heat oven to broil and place oven rack 2 or 3 levels down from the top. Brush ribs with glaze again and broil for 2 minutes or until slightly singed.
  8. Slice ribs into sections and serve.
Glaze Instructions
  1. Combine glaze ingredients in a saucepan (apple juice, maple syrup, bourbon, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, fish sauce-optional, brown sugar, and salt). Over high heat bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-high and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside until ready to glaze ribs.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Natalie

    Tried this recipe last night. I didn’t have apple juice but had canned pear juice that came with my peaches. I didn’t measure exactly so it came out a little runny but was still delicious!!!

  2. Vijitha Shyam

    Your post is so comforting for sure. The Connecticut tragedy has made me realize how important it is to value life, friends, family as we never know when it might end. Tragedy like these are so hard for me to digest as innocent life were lost. I can imagine the plight of the parents. The Christmas celebration they would have planned, the memories they wanted to make for years to come was shattered in no time. I have no words to explain their loss.

  3. Gerry @ Foodness Gracious

    I completely agree and felt that anything I tweeted or posted this past weekend was completely irrelevant in the light of what has happened. I made sure to take a step back and look at what is really important and not what I think is important. I think we all have different ways to cope with sorrow and those are the avenues we should use.

    Take care…

  4. Sherry in Fl.

    Wow, your post was so comforting today. After crying for days, your poignant words were just what I needed to read. You are so right in reminding us that it is the small pleasures in life that help get us through the dark times. I’m now going to make some Bourbon Maple Ribs for my family.
    Thank you.

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