Our delicious Sweet and Spicy Smoked Pork Ribs are going to be the talk of the neighborhood after your next summer cookout!
Disclosure: Traeger provided us with a complimentary Pro Series 34 Pellet Grill and accessories for review and recipe development purposes. All opinions are 100% our own.
Hey everyone, this is Jack. Go grab a pile of napkins because you’re going to need them after digging into these outstanding Sweet and Spicy Smoked Pork Ribs!
When Martha told me a few weeks ago that Traeger had contacted us about developing a recipe using one of their Pro Series wood pellet grills, without hesitation, I replied, “Sign us up!!”
In case you aren’t familiar with Traeger, they are the original inventors of wood pellet fired grills. Every highly-rated, Traeger has 6-in-1 versatility so you can grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise & barbecue all on the same Traeger grill.
Barbecue pitmasters and home enthusiasts around the country cook on, and compete with Traeger grills, so you know that these are some of the best. Traeger grills run on wood pellets so the food tastes fantastic, and the Pro Series electronic controls and continuous wood pellet auger allow you to cook at consistent temperatures without a lot of fussing.
I’d like to share a quote from the folks at Traeger :
“Good barbecue comes from experience, and experience comes from bad barbecue.”
Truer words were never spoken, and I bear witness to that. Living in New England all of my life, smoking meat is not something I grew up doing, and only recently have we started to see a number of smoked meat houses and restaurants opening up here in Massachusetts.
So, our recipe for Sweet and Spicy Smoked Pork Ribs took us three weekends to perfect. I don’t mention this to scare you off, but more to reassure you that some learning curve is to be expected before you make perfect smoked ribs or other kinds of meat, especially if you’ve never done it before.
Having said that, our Traeger Pro Series grill definitely made the learning curve a lot easier. The Traeger comes with an excellent owner’s manual with detailed instructions (plus some very funny commentary – I won’t ruin the surprise), two built-in probe thermometers to provide the internal temperature of your meat, plus a cookbook with step-by-step instructions and lots of recipe inspiration. You can also reach Traeger 365 days of the year via phone with questions.
Now, a little more about today’s recipe. These Sweet and Spicy Smoked Pork Ribs have a Korean-inspired sweet and spicy flavoring thanks to a variety of fruits (apple, mango, pear) commonly used in Korean barbecue, plus a popular condiment called gochujang. Gochuchang is a red paste made from chilis, a sweet rice, plus other ingredients, and today you can find it in most supermarkets, on-line, as well as in Asian markets.
Our Sweet and Spicy Smoked Pork Ribs started with a wet pre-rub made from gochuchang, dry mustard and soy sauce. Then a dry rub of pulverized dried apple slices, ginger, onion and garlic powders, kosher salt and more mustard was sprinkled on top.
We placed the ribs in our preheated Traeger filled with Traeger Apple Wood Pellets, along with trays of apple cider and water to keep the ribs super moist while they smoked, as well as to impart additional flavor. Plus – we spritzed the ribs with a mixture of apple juice and apple cider every thirty minutes or so after the first hour of smoking.
(Can you tell by the smile on my face, I love this grill!)
After three hours of smoking, we wrapped the ribs in a large foil packet filled with a sweet butter-mango-vinegar sauce, and cooked the ribs for two more hours. In this step, we used the foil packet method to introduce some sweetness to the meat, but we didn’t want the sugars to burn on the grill as it cooked for such a long time.
Finally, we removed the ribs from the foil packet and grilled them for one more hour (or more – until fall-off-the-bone tender and cooked through) with a fantastic barbecue sauce made from sweet pear, soy sauce, brown sugar and sesame that I developed just for this recipe.
These Sweet and Spicy Smoked Pork Ribs come out super tender and juicy with a sweet and caramelized glossy coating. Before serving, we sprinkled sesame seeds and chopped fresh scallions on top for additional flavor. We also served the ribs with more of that sweet pear, soy, brown sugar and sesame barbecue sauce on the side.
One quick last note before we get to that giveaway…we used Traeger’s Apple BBQ Hardwood pellets in today’s Sweet and Spicy Smoked Pork Ribs, but they also offer more than a dozen varieties of 100% natural, food-grade hardwood pellets so you can achieve different flavors depending on your recipe.
The Traeger Pro Series grills come with an auger-fed hardwood pellet hopper. This ingenious device feeds pellets into a fire pot that flames and smokes the contents of the grill. Simply set the temperature you want and the smoker does the rest! Just keep the hopper filled with pellets while you cook.
For more information about Traeger Grills, visit www.traegergrills.com.
More Pork Ribs Recipes:
- Slow Cooker Honey-Garlic Baby Back Ribs
- White Barbecue Sauce Pork Ribs
- Asian Barbecue Pork Ribs
- Barbecue Pork Ribs
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
Prepare all ingredients the day before, that way you can wake up early and start cooking without worrying about time for prep.
Allow plenty of time for smoking and cooking the meat – depending on the size of your ribs, the cook time might be longer than anticipated.
2 racks of St Louis style pork ribs
1 cup Korean Chili Paste (GOCHUJANG)
2 tablespoons dry mustard
½ cup soy sauce
1 ¼ ounces dried apple slices (available in most supermarkets)
1 tablespoon ginger powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon dry mustard
6 cups apple juice
6 cups water
1 ½ cups apple juice
1 ½ cups cider vinegar
2 sticks butter, softened
2 ounces dry mango
½ cup water
1 cup agave
½ cup apple juice
½ cup cider vinegar
1 very ripe Anjou pear
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons agave
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon dry mustard
3 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ cup apricot jam
Chopped scallion tops
Peel the thin film from the back of the ribs by grabbing with a paper towel and pulling off. Discard the film and keep the ribs refrigerated while you prepare the other ingredients.
Mix the pre-rub by combining the three ingredients. Set aside.
Prepare the dry rub by placing dried apple slices in a food processor and process until ground fine. Add all of the remaining spices and pulse a few times to combine. Set aside.
Place two disposable aluminum pans in your smoker and divide apple juice and water between them.
Combine the apple juice and vinegar and fill a spritzer.
Fill smoker pellet hopper with apple wood pellets.
Start smoker and raise heat to 250 degrees F. That temperature will be maintained for the entire cooking process.
Lay out the two rib racks on a sheet tray and smear both sides of both racks with the pre-rub.
Sprinkle the dry rub on both sides of both rib racks, saving most for the meat side.
Place both prepared rib racks on the upper rack of your smoker, meat side up, above the moisture pans and set timer for one hour.
While ribs are cooking prepare the foil wrap. Start by dicing the mango and place in a small sauce pan with water and cook to soften. Place in a food processor along with softened butter and agave and puree to a smooth consistency and stir in apple juice and vinegar. Set aside. Cut off six pieces of 18” wide foil twice as long as a rib rack. Set aside.
After the first hour of cooking, spritz ribs and continue to spritz every 30 minutes for two more hours (total of three hours so far)
Remove ribs from smoker and place meat side up on the foil and slather with the foil wrap sauce. Turn over and seal each rack with the meat down. Seal the foil tightly (three foil sheets per rib rack).
Place back in smoker and let cook untouched for two hours.
While ribs are cooking, add the pear to a food processor and puree until smooth. Add all remaining sauce ingredients to the pear and process to combine. Set aside.
After the two hours, remove ribs from foil and discard foil and liquid.
Brush both sides of ribs with the BBQ sauce and place meat side up on the top rack back over the moisture pans and give each rib rack a spritz. Save a little BBQ sauce to serve with ribs.
Cook for at least one hour and up to 90 minutes or until the rack breaks in the center when lifted with a pair of tongs. During this 60-90-minute final cooking, spritz every 15 minutes.
Once you determine the ribs are tender, carefully remove and top with sesame seeds and scallions. Let rest for five minutes then slice between each bone and serve with the reserved BBQ sauce.