Maple Glazed BBQ Ribs Recipe

pig candy

I got first place on my ribs Sunday using your Vermont Maple Glazed Pig Candy recipe!

Steve Triplet, Galatia, IL

Meathead Goldwyn

maple glazed ribs

Impress guests at your next BBQ and grilling cookout for this sweet and savory rib recipe starring a savory sweet glaze. The secret is that you’ll use the Texas Crutch, which is wrapping the meat in foil late in the cook, and then take the juices from the foil, add some apple juice, maple syrup, and make the glaze. It makes extremely tender, juicy, meat with a beautiful mirror like sheen. More than one cook has written me to tell me that the recipe makes the best ribs they have ever tasted. The secret is real mmmmmmaple syrup.

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Warning: Don’t compete with these ribs!

Several readers have written to tell me that they’ve won their local rib-off with these ribs but do not use this recipe for a Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) or Memphis Barbecue Network (MBN) competition. The judges there usually only give awards to classic red sauces like my Kansas City Classic. But serve them to friends and neighbors and they will worship you!

Maple Glazed Ribs Recipe

More than one cook has written me to tell me that the recipe makes the best smoked ribs they have ever tasted. The secret is real mmmmmmaple syrup, not “pancake syrup”.

Course. Lunch. Dinner. Entree.

Cuisine. American.

Makes. 2 servings, 1/2 rack each

Preparation time. 15 minutes to prep

Cooking time. 3 to 4 hours for baby backs, 5 to 6 hours for spare ribs and St. Louis Cut/center cut ribs, and well worth it

Special equipment. 18″ wide heavy duty aluminum foil.


1 slab baby back ribs

about 4 tablespoons of Meathead’s Memphis Dust

1 cup apple juice, to be divided

about 1/4 teaspoon morton’s kosher salt per pound of ribs

another 2 pinches salt for the glaze

2 teaspoons hot sauce

1/4 cup real maple syrup


1) Set up your cooker for 2-zone cooking and get the indirect side to 225°F.

2) Skin ‘n’ trim your ribs.

3) Wet your hands and pat the the meat so the surface is damp and then sprinkle on the salt. If you can do this the night before, please do. Otherwise anytime prior to cooking will do. Then sprinkle with Meathead’s Memphis Dust, enough to coat the surface, and massage it in.

4) Roast with smoke for 2 hours.

5) Pull off two sheets of 18″ wide heavy duty aluminum fori, about 2′ long and place them on top of each other. Place the slab in the center, bone side down, pull up the sides so you have a boat, and drizzle the apple juice over the meat, wetting the surface. Then wrap the slab tightly in two layers of foil. This is called the Texas Crutch. Cook in the foil for 1 hour at 225°F.

6) Take the meat out of the foil and put it back on at 225°F for another hour to firm up the crust.

7) While the ribs are back on in step 6, pour the apple juice from the foil, now enriched with the flavors of the rub, into a sauce pan. Add the remaining half cup of apple juice. Boil it until about 1/3 cup remains. Add the maple syrup and heat over medium high and stay right there and watch it carefully. It will bubble gently away for a bit and then at a certain temperature the sugars will go nuts and the glaze will foam aggressively. Watch it as carefully as a hungry teenageer. As soon as it foams up, immediately turn down the heat and remove the pan from the flame until it stops frothing. You don’t want it foaming for long or it could turn to hard candy. That would be bad.

the glaze

8) Add the salt and hot sauce and stir. It may bubble furiously again. Paint the ribs with a coat of the sauce and put it back into the cooker til the glaze sets a bit, perhaps 3 minutes. Then one more coat. Don’t use too much. Serve and accept the praise gracefully.


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