Whiskey Bacon BBQ Baby Back Ribs

These are the best barbecued ribs you will ever eat. The meat is cooked low and slow on a grill and basted with a sweet, salty, smoky, savory and slightly boozy sauce. The sauce also works well on chicken or a burger. Serve these ribs with a side of succotash and be the hero of your next cookout!

PREP TIME: 20 minutes
COOK TIME: 4 hours 40 minutes

For the whiskey bacon BBQ sauce:
1 tablespoon neutral flavored oil
3 strips bacon, chopped (we like hickory smoked bacon for this recipe)
1/2 yellow onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup whiskey
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/3 cup cider vinegar (we like Bragg's brand)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup packed brown sugar

For the ribs:
1 rack baby back ribs 
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Make the whiskey BBQ sauce: Heat oil to medium-high in a large skillet. Add bacon and onion and cook for 5-7 minutes, until onion becomes translucent and fragrant. Add garlic and whiskey and continue to cook until whiskey reduces by half, about 7-10 minutes. IMPORTANT NOTE: if you are using a gas range with a flame, turn the flame off before you add the whiskey. The alcohol is highly flammable and you do not want to start a fire.

Once the whiskey has reduced, add the pepper, salt, ketchup, tomato paste, vinegar, Worcestershire and brown sugar. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for another 20 minutes. You can use the BBQ sauce t this point as is or feel free to run through a strainer if you prefer a smoother sauce. Store extra sauce in a non-reactive container, refrigerated, for up to a week.

Make the ribs: In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, onion powder, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Lay a large piece of heavy duty foil on the counter. Using a sharp paring knife, remove the silver skin from the bone side of the ribs. Ask your butcher to do this for you, if you are nervous about doing this step yourself.

Rub both sides of the ribs with the brown sugar/spice mixture. Lightly wrap the ribs with foil, taking care not to let the foil touch the surface of the ribs. You can let the ribs rest in the refrigerator at this point for up to 6 hours, or you can grill them right away.

Heat your grill to medium-low. Place ribs on the grill for 4 hours. Do not touch them for 4 hours. After 4 hours, carefully remove the ribs from the foil and place directly on the grill. Turn the grill up to medium-high and brush the top side of the ribs with sauce. Flip the ribs and grill for 5 minutes. While the top is grilling, brush the bottom of the ribs with sauce. Flip again and grill the bottom for 5 minutes. You want a nice char on the ribs but be careful not to burn the sauce.

Remove ribs from the heat and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.