Maple Chipotle Beef Back Ribs (on the gas grill!)

beef ribs - vert

I know you want your baby backs, but you are going to LOVE these beefy backs!

There is nothing better than slow-cooked barbecue ribs… especially tender, juicy beefy back ribs. Before you start in on the BBQ thang, I know and agree that slow cooked, smoked barbecue is AWESOME when cooked with hardwood charcoal, but sometimes convenience wins out. If you prefer, you can make these ribs and follow the directions for smoking on my post Texas Bar-B-Que Ribs.

I doubled up on the maple by smoking the ribs with maple wood chips and then made a barbecue sauce sweetened with maple syrup and spiced up with chipotles in adobo sauce. Try to use “Grade B” pure maple syrup for a more intense maple flavor (they sell it a Trader Joe’s). BTW- you only need one smoke box; I have a few of them. So I figured if one is good… well, you know the rest. 😉

As I mentioned above, sometimes convenience wins out. The rub builds on pre-made BBQ rub with added black pepper, garlic powder, and chipotle powder. The sauce couldn’t be easier – dump everything into a blender, transfer to a saucepan and simmer then whisk in butter. Done… plus, it makes more than you need and would be great on grilled chicken or pork as well.

This recipe is for one rack of beef back ribs (8 bones). If you want to cook a second rack as well, just make extra rub; there is plenty of sauce. For easier maneuverability or if cooking more than one rack, I would recommend cutting the racks in half. And if you are short on room, shingle the ribs on top of each other. Just rotate them when you add more wood chips.

Maple-Chipotle Barbecue Beef Back Ribs

serves two to four

1 rack (8 bones) beef back ribs
1 1/2 tablespoons you favorite all-purpose BBQ rub – I used Bull Outdoor Products
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1/2 to 1 teaspoons chipotle powder (can substitute chili powder)

Maple-Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
4 chipotles in adobo, seeded
1 (12 ounce bottle) chili sauce
1/2 cup pure Grade B maple syrup
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon adobo sauce from the chipotles
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces

Extras:
V-Shaped Smoker Box, for gas grills
Maple wood chips, soaked in water for 1 hour

Method: Indirect heat with smoke boxes

Place ribs on a sheet pan – for easier maneuverability or if cooking more than one rack, cut rack in half. Combine the BBQ rub, pepper, garlic and chipotle powder. Sprinkle over both sides of the ribs and let sit at room temperature for an hour to cure.

1beef ribs rub

Reminder: soak the wood chips.

wood chips soaking

Set up grill for indirect cooking over medium low heat. Place a dip pan below where the ribs will sit. Be sure you have a full tank of gas!  Place soaked wood chips in smoke box(es) and turn the burner under the box to high. When the chips start to smoke, set up grill for indirect cooking over low-medium heat (around 275°F or as low as it will go and keep the wood chips smoking).

smoke box set up

It’s overkill, I know 😉 and the box on the left wouldn’t stay hot enough to smoke. Lesson learned.

Place the ribs bone-side down over the drip pan and close the cover. If you are short on room or cooking more than one rack, shingle the ribs on top of each other. After an hour of cooking, add another handful of chips to the smoke box. Cook 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until tender and meat has shrunk back from the ends of the bone by about 1/2 inch.

2beef ribs cooked direct

While the ribs are coking, make the barbecue sauce. Combine all ingredients, except the butter in a blender and puree. Transfer to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Whisk in cold butter 1 piece at a time until incorporated. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use. Sauce will keep in refrigerator for a couple weeks.

About 15 minutes before ribs are done, turn the heat up to medium. Place the ribs meat-side down over the fire and cook for  a couple minutes to crisp them up and render any remaining fat. Generously brush with sauce. Return the ribs meat-side up to the indirect side of the grill and brush on more sauce. Cover grill and cook an additional 10 minutes.

3beef ribs cooked and sauced

Remove ribs to a cutting board and tent with foil. Let ribs rest for 15 to 20 minutes before cutting into individual bones. Serve with extra sauce on the side.

beef ribs horz

Cheers and Happy Grilling!
~Jeff

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