Maple Bourbon Ribs

By: Hannah Lee Leidy
Maple Bourbon Ribs

Maple Bourbon Ribs are a tailgating necessity, among many other snacks, for chef Owen McGlynn of Asheville Proper, Asheville, North Carolina.

“I’m originally from Ohio, so cheering on the Browns and Buckeyes was a family affair when I was growing up. We’d gather for a potluck feast of grilled wings, ribs, and sausages as well as the classic game-day items like beanie weenies or swedish meatballs. My mom makes the best buffalo chicken dip and of course, we always had to have the chocolate-covered peanut butter bites, (Buckeyes)!”

-Owen McGlynn

These ribs are the kind people remember for the rest of their lives. The kind you tell your grandchildren about. They are coated in a complex and exciting array of spices, tang, sweet and oaky flavors. With a glaze of maple syrup and bourbon, mixed with the lifting notes of cinnamon and brown sugar, you are going to want to devour and savor each bite. The smell of crystalizing maple syrup, roasting sweet potatoes, and toasting pumpkin seeds will fill your house with a warm and comforting aroma. As your teeth slide through the caramelized glaze and into the tender ribs, you will get a task of the spice of the chili and bourbon. The pork tears from the bone into small flavor-packed pieces. You may make a mess around your mouth and fingers, but hey, ribs were meant to be enjoyed without care. Where the real trouble comes is when all you have left on your plate is a pile of bones and you figure out you haven’t saved any for anyone else.

Oops, I guess you’ll just have to make more.

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1 rack

  • Baby back ribs, 1 rack
  • 1 cup of beer
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Bourbon Maple Glaze
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili flake
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pumpkin Seed Gremolata
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Smashed Sweet Potatoes
  • 4 lbs. sweet potatoes (6 large)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted, browned (1/2 stick)
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Pull the ribs out of package, remove the membrane on the backside of the bone.
  3. Once membrane is off, season both sides with salt and pepper.
  4. Place ribs in a 9×13 pan, bone side down.
  5. Pour in beer.
  6. Cover pan with foil and bake for 2 hours without uncovering.
  7. After 2 hours, remove from the oven and turn oven up to 450 degrees, remove foil, and brush some of the glaze over ribs.
  8. Once oven is hot, place pan back and cook for 15 minutes or until ribs turn golden brown.
  9. Remove from oven and slice in between the bones and serve. Drizzle with glaze as needed.

Bourbon-Maple Glaze

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until it reaches a syrupy consistency.
  3. Pull from heat and cool.

Pumpkin Seed Gremolata

  1. Toss pumpkin seeds in a bowl with salt and pepper.
  2. Toast in 350-degree oven for 10 minutes or until light brown.
  3. Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processer, except the olive oil.
  4. Pulse the ingredients, drizzle in the olive oil while running.

Smashed Sweet Potatoes

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Scrub potatoes to remove any dirt, pierce with a fork a few times in each.
  3. Place on a sheet pan a roast for 1 hour or until very soft when pierced with a knife.
  4. Once cool enough to handle, remove from the oven and scoop out the insides, place in the bowl of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  5. Add in other ingredients, mix until smooth.
  6. Serve when ready.
  • Created by chef Owen McGlynne of Asheville Proper, Asheville, North Carolina

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