Josh Emett's Bourbon and Brown Sugar Ribs

Pork ribs are my guilty pleasure; outstanding in every way. The urge to gnaw on a bone is something that is instinctive and perhaps takes us back to our caveman days. The lack of meat is made up for by pure flavour.



400 to 600g pork ribs

50ml rice bran oil

250g oak or manuka chips


8g onion powder

8g garlic powder

6g mustard powder

3g cayenne pepper

7g black pepper

20g brown sugar

3g sea salt


135ml bourbon

270ml cider vinegar

135ml molasses

70ml Worcestershire sauce

40ml Dijon mustard

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp black pepper

220g brown sugar


Combine all rub ingredients.

Place all the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Rest for 10 minutes, then strain. Place the ribs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. If you don’t have a pan large enough, halve the ribs. Bring to the boil, then skim and strain, rinsing off any impurities. Pat the ribs dry, rub with
the oil, then rub all over with the spice mixture.  If you have a smoker, smoke the ribs as usual. If you don’t, light the wood chips either with a blow torch or by heating them in a stainless steel tray or pan over a gas hob until burning. Place the ribs on a wire rack and lay over the top of the smoking chips. Cover with tinfoil and leave to smoke for at least 15–20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 170C.

Place the ribs in a roasting tray, pour the sauce over the top and cover with tinfoil. Bake for 1–11⁄2 hours until the meat is falling off the bone. Halfway through cooking baste and turn the ribs to make sure they are caramelising evenly. If the sauce is getting too dry add a touch of water and baste again.

Recipe/words by Josh Emett and photo by Kieran Scott. Kindly provided by Random House.

FoodJohanna McCordRecipe