Bourbon Molasses Ribs

Bourbon Molasses Ribs

I really like a nice sweet rib, and these bourbon molasses ribs hit the spot for me. I know there is some debate about how sweet to make ribs, but I think the sugar content gives you everything you are looking for in a perfect rib. That sticky sweetness and a nice “bark” that gives way to juicy tender meat! The sweetness is what helps the bark form on the ribs so it’s pretty essential!

Where did I come up with this recipe?

One of our favorite late night treats is having a glass of bourbon and a ginger molasses spiced cookie. The flavors go so well together! I thought it would be fun to take these flavors and turn them into a rib recipe. Georgina and my favorite ribs always are very sweet, with an interesting spice profile and a hint of smoke, so I thought this mash-up would fit perfectly.

I didn’t have a smoker setup when I made these ribs, so I wrote the recipe for the oven. Oven cooked ribs are great! I am not some sort of rib snob where they NEED to be smoked. Obviously I love smoked ribs too though! If you want a similar flavor profile and sauce but with smoked ribs, I wrote some tips towards the bottom of the post.

What kind of ribs should I get for perfect bourbon molasses ribs?

I used pork back or baby back ribs for this recipe. These ribs are very meaty and have a lot of marbled fat that melts in your mouth if you cook it to just the right temperature. This marbling is how you achieve that texture where it practically falls apart as you take a bite! You can see the deep pink color right in the package which indicates how juicy it will come out.

Georgina and I cooked this dish together if you want to check out the video below, otherwise you can keep scrolling for more photos and the recipe!

Making the marinade

mixing up the sauce

So much goodness in the sauce. This doubles as a marinade and cooking liquid. There are two sauces in this recipe, the first is less sweet and the second is more sweet. We don’t start using the second sauce until half way through cooking or else the sugar level might cause it to burn. Here is a list of the first sauce ingredients.

  • bourbon
  • molasses
  • brown sugar
  • cider vinegar
  • smoked paprika
  • salt
  • garlic powder
  • allspice
  • cinnamon
  • ginger powder
pouring the sauce on the ribs to soak and cook

Pour it on the ribs, allow to marinate for about an hour or two, or overnight!

Time to cook the bourbon molasses ribs

Preheat the oven to 300, cover the ribs, and cook them slow for about an hour and a half.

glazing the bourbon molasses ribs

There is also a glaze with more bourbon, molasses, and sugar, but it also has honey and some garlic and ginger. After the first hour and a half of cooking, crank the heat to 375 and start basting with this sauce. These are the second sauce ingredients.

  • molasses
  • bourbon
  • honey
  • brown sugar
  • cider vinegar
  • mustard
  • hot sauce
  • garlic minced
  • ginger minced
  • salt
even more glazing

After a half hour or so, things start getting really sticky. At this point you really need to start managing the heat and sauce so it doesn’t burn. If the heat is too low you wont get a thick glaze or bark. If the heat is too high the sauce will burn! Adjust as needed!

cutting the bourbon molasses ribs

Once the ribs are the perfect tenderness to your liking, and the crust on top is nice and thick, pull them out of the oven and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.

Bourbon Molasses Ribs

I mean… just look at these!

A big stack of bourbon molasses ribs

Top with more of the sauce, and some parsley if you want.

Variations on bourbon molasses ribs

If you want to make these with no alcohol that should be fine.

If you want to smoke them, I would still marinate them in the first step, then remove the excess marinade before putting them on the smoker. As they slow smoke, bring the second sauce to a simmer and start glazing them half way through the cooking. Keep glazing every 15 minutes until the ribs are at your perfect texture.

If you are looking for more fun rib recipes, check out these garam masala smoked ribs, or these fried ribs!

Bourbon Molasses Ribs

These ribs are cooked and glazed with a bourbon sauce inspired by molasses spiced cookies and come out with a crisp bark and melt in your mouth meat.
Cook Time2 hours
Marinate time2 hours
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1 rack of ribs



  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 rack Chairman’s Reserve Ribs


  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 inches ginger minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • Mix the bourbon, molasses, brown sugar, cider vinegar, paprika, salt, garlic powder, allspice, cinnamon, and ginger powder in a bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Pour this mixture over the ribs in a baking dish or sheet with the bone side up. Allow to marinate in the fridge for an hour or two.
  • Preheat the oven to 300. Flip the ribs so the bone side is down. Cover with foil and cook for an hour and a half.
  • Meanwhile, mix the glaze ingredients in a sauce pot and simmer on low to reduce
  • Remove the foil and turn the oven to 375. Use a spoon to spoon about a third of the glaze over the ribs. Return to the oven.
  • Every 15 to 20 minutes baste the ribs with the cooking liquid and more of the glaze. At first it will seem to be running off the ribs, but the more you do it the bark will start to form and the liquids will start thickening up.
  • When the ribs are super tender and the bark coating is thick and sticky, remove them from the heat. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then cut and serve. Drizzle on any excess cooking liquid that hasn’t charred on the bottom of the pan.

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