Baby Back Ribs with Bourbon-Black Pepper Sauce

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 120 minutes
Servings: 6

A two-step cooking process ensures these ribs emerge tender and utterly delicious. First they’re slowly cooked in the oven and then finished on the grill, where smoking chips impart deep, smoky flavor. A slathering of barbecue sauce adds the finishing touch. Another bonus of this technique: You can cook the ribs in the oven well in advance of serving, then quickly grill them after your guests arrive.


  • 2 racks baby back ribs, about 5 lb. (2.5 kg) total
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Wood chips as needed
  • 1 bottle bourbon–black pepper barbecue sauce


Season the ribs on both sides with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Preheat an oven to 325°F (165°C). Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Place the rib racks, bone side down, on the prepared baking sheet and enclose them in foil, sealing it tightly. Transfer to the oven and cook until the meat is just fork-tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Prepare a grill for indirect grilling over medium-high heat. Soak wood chips in water to cover for at least 20 minutes. Drain the chips and place in a smoker box over direct heat, cover the grill and heat until the chips begin to smoke.

Place the ribs, bone side down, in a mesh grill pan and place over indirect heat. Cover the grill and smoke the ribs for 15 minutes. Move the ribs over direct heat and brush with the barbecue sauce. Continue cooking the ribs, brushing with sauce and turning occasionally, for about 10 minutes more.

Transfer the ribs to a carving board and cut between the bones. Pass the remaining barbecue sauce at the table. Serves 4 to 6.

Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen

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