Apple Jalapeno Smoked Ribs

38 reviews

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These smoked apple jalapeno ribs are absolutely delicious and melt-in-your-mouth tender. The jalapenos in this recipe add the most amazing flavor with just a kiss of heat. Sweet and spicy come together in a magical union with these unique and must-try ribs.

Sliced apple jalapeno ribs on a wooden cutting board next to whole jalapenos with text overlay - Apple Jalapeno Smoked Ribs.

Apple Jalapeno Smoked Ribs

We love us some ribs. There’s something about the messy hands and messy faces that make eating ribs feel like a whole experience. As long as you have some wet napkins handy, you’re good to go. I know you’re thinking that these ribs will burn your tongue, but really they’re pretty tame. Even non-spice lovers will love these if you’re able to talk them into getting past the huge slices of jalapeno lingering on each bite. If you can’t talk them into it… well darn. I guess that means more ribs for you.

(For those adamantly against heat, you can leave the slices of jalapenos off the ribs to help tone down the heat a bit.)

Another secret to the amazing flavor in these ribs is the flavor-infused braising liquid during the second step of the cooking process. After the ribs take on as much smoke as they can handle, they get a bath in a medley of apple juice and jalapenos that make the ribs super tender and dripping with unbelievable sweet and spicy flavor.

Pork ribs covered in yellow mustard being seasoned with Hey Grill Hey Sweet Rub.

Ingredients for Apple Jalapeno Ribs

Here’s what you’ll need to make these ribs:

Both Sweet Rub and Apple Jalapeno BBQ Sauce can be purchased from the Hey Grill Hey Store. You can also make both of these from scratch using recipes here on the site. Check them out here:

Ribs in foil covered in jalapeno slices.

How to Smoke Apple Jalapeno Ribs

You can cook these on any smoker you have available. I smoked these on my pellet grill which allows me to easily switch between the 180 degrees F for the first 3 hours and 225 degrees F for the remainder of the cook.

If you have a traditional offset smoker, try and shoot for an even 225 degrees F for the whole cook. You might find that the ribs take 4-5 hours instead of 6, so just keep an eye on your ribs during the foiling phase. If you have an electric smoker, you can just set the ribs to smoke for the first 3 hours, then transfer them to your oven during the foiled phase if you’d like to avoid refilling your pan with wood chips.

For a full recipe card with ingredients, detailed instructions, and links to recipes and products, scroll to the bottom of this post.

Ribs on the smoker being covered in Apple Jalapeno BBQ Sauce.

Tips for Smoking Jalapeno Ribs

Here are a few tips for making these delicious smoked jalapeno ribs.

  • Check for multiple cues for doneness. One of my favorite ways to tell when ribs are done is when the meat has pulled back about 1/2 inch from the bones, your ribs are likely ready. Check out my post How to Know When Pork Ribs are Done for more information on what to look for to know when your ribs are ready to come off the smoker.
  • Use the bend test. Another method for testing rib doneness is lifting one end of your ribs with tongs. They are done when the top of the meat just starts to shred when you bend them.
  • Try an instant-read thermometer! If other visual cues aren’t cutting it for you, use technology to help you along. It can be difficult to get a perfect read on ribs without hitting bones, but shoot for the meat in between 2 bones and look for about 200 degrees F for melt-in-your-mouth ribs. The probe should slide into the meat very smoothly.

Rack of apple jalapeno ribs on a wooden cutting board.

Apple Jalapeno Ribs Recipe

Follow the recipe, and I’ll teach you the simple steps to making your own Apple Jalapeno Ribs at home. If you’re looking for the ultimate way to help you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero, join my members-only group The Grill Squad for full and exclusive access to all my meat, rubs, sauces, and meat buying master classes, podcasts, and so much more.

This post was originally published in February 2016. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same.

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Apple Jalapeno Smoked Ribs

By: Susie Bulloch
4.98 from 38 votes
These smoked apple jalapeno ribs are absolutely delicious and melt-in-your-mouth tender. The jalapenos in this recipe add the most amazing flavor with just a kiss of heat.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time6 hours
Resting Time5 minutes
Total Time6 hours 20 minutes
Servings6 people



  • 2 racks baby back ribs
  • 4 Tablespoons Hey Grill Hey Sweet Rub recipe link in notes
  • ¼ cup yellow mustard
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 medium jalapenos sliced into rings
  • 1 cup Apple Jalapeno BBQ Sauce recipe link in notes


  • Preheat. Prepare your smoker for indirect smoking by preheating to 225 degrees F. I use apple wood for this recipe.
  • Prep and season. Begin by removing the thin membrane on the back of the ribs. Use a butter knife to lift a small corner of the membrane away from the bones, grip firmly with a paper towel, and pull slowly away from the rack. Slather both sides of the ribs with the yellow mustard and season liberally with the Sweet Rub.
  • Smoke. Place the seasoned ribs on the preheated smoker and close the lid. Leave them to smoke for 3 hours.
  • Make the braise. Tear off a large piece of aluminum foil and place it on a large working surface. Transfer the ribs to the foil bone side up so the bones don't tear through the foil. Sprinkle with the brown sugar, top with the butter cut into small pads, fold up the edges of the foil to create a slight bowl, and then pour the apple juice over the ribs. Once the liquid has settled, top the ribs with sliced jalapenos. Tightly crimp the foil together to create an airtight seal. Repeat with the second rack.
  • Braise. Return the wrapped racks of ribs to the grill and keep your cooking temperature to as close to 225 degrees F as you can get it. Let the ribs braise for 2 hours in the foil.
  • Remove ribs from braise. Carefully remove the ribs from the grill and place on a large working surface. Open the foil package (be careful of hot steam) and use tongs to remove the ribs and place them back on the grill, bone side down. Remove the cooked jalapenos from the braising liquid and set aside. Discard the foil and excess cooking liquid.
  • Sauce. Brush the ribs with the Apple Jalapeno BBQ Sauce and arrange the jalapeno slices you set aside on top of the ribs. Close the lid of your grill and cook at 225 degrees for an additional 30 minutes to 1 hour until the ribs are done to your desired tenderness and the sauce is sticky and set.
  • Rest, slice, and serve. Rest the ribs for 10-15 minutes before slicing into individual ribs. Serve with additional sauce on the side.


Sweet Rub
Apple Jalapeno BBQ Sauce


Calories: 611kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 150mg | Sodium: 841mg | Potassium: 671mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 691IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 181mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Susie is the BBQ Brain behind the Hey Grill Hey website. Her passion for smoked meats and developing fun, new recipes have landed her on the Food Network, cooking turkeys with Shaq, and on a couple of Guinness World Records. When she’s not grilling, she is hanging out with Todd and their three kids, preferably outdoors!

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Recipe Rating

Reader Reviews

138 Reviews

  1. Jose says:

    The only thing is eating and be happy and be healthy for the family members and the friends you love and enjoy.Always be happy and I support you 100%THANK YOU!

  2. Linda says:

    Hands down the most amazing recipe for ribs ever! and we’ve tried them all. Flavor is outstanding and the meat falls off the bone without being dry at all. Thanks for sharing, this will be our go-to from now on.


    Made these a couple of weeks ago and absolutely loved the flavor. Brought the leftovers in for my buys at work and they were blown away.

  4. Glen says:

    The absolute best ribs I have ever cooked. Fall off the bone and amazing flavor! What a hit!

  5. Danny Robinette says:

    Awesome recipe. I have now made these multiple times

  6. Chris Woodson says:

    I love this sauce. I made about 5-6 of the sauces from this site for my birthday and invited a group over to come get “sauced” with me. We rated the sauces on a variety of smoked meat. This one won. Here’s my dilemma now: I have friend who has offered me some Carolina Reapers and Ghost Peppers from his garden–will this recipe work or do you recommend something else with those?

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      This recipe will work great! Be careful with all that heat!

  7. Marcus Wood says:

    I’ve been making these for a few years now after seeing the original post, and let me say every time I make these they are a huge hit! I’m a big spice guy so the jalapeño’s originally brought me to trying these, but as people have said previously even the non spice folks go bananas for these! Great overall recipe from the rub to the apple bbq sauce! Wouldn’t change a thing! Also I cook these on a big green egg! I’ve gotten better and better at making these over the years but I think if you have a traeger or an egg, those grill always tend to make me look better lol!

  8. Heidi Egeberg says:

    This is only my 2nd attempt at ribs on my pellet grill. The first time was a total FLOP. This recipe looked like something my family would love and it DID NOT disappoint! We loved the combination of sweet and spicy. I knew it was working when they were already falling off the bone when I went to wrap them in foil! I will 100% be making these again. The Apple Jalapeno sauce was amazing!! Thanks for making our Sunday Family dinner a HUGE SUCCESS!

  9. Laura M says:

    Holy Moly.. Thank you!
    The flavor combinations between your dry rub, the braising liquid, the sauce… Gorl, for real, these are mouth-wateringly delicious!.. probably some of the best 3-2-1 ribs I’ve ever made, hands down.

    Now, here’s my confession:
    I had to make these in my oven! Oof!
    At the moment, I live in a townhouse and this place has a “no grills in your yard” clause in the lease. My smoker is sitting sadly in the garage at the moment, but I’m not letting that stop me from amazing ribby goodness!

    I did the first 3 hours at 180° meat side up on a sheet pan with a light yellow mustard slather and your “Best Dry Rub For Ribs” recipe generously on both sides. Then, 2 hours at 225° tightly wrapped in foil meat down with your braise mixture of brown sugar, butter, jalapenos, apple juice (I used unfiltered honey crisp apple juice). Followed by removing the foil, flipping back to meat side up, brushing with your apple jalapeno sauce and the jalapenos from the braise. Another hour at 225° and OMG. Perfection!!
    For all of the people asking, “can I do this in my oven?” Yes, you definitely can if you’re willing to go low and slow for 6 hrs in your home oven. Is it going to be as good as smoked? Oh, hell no. But coming from someone who is deprived of the luxury of my own smoker, this is absolutely the next best thing.
    I spent a few hours online looking for something as good as your recipes. You have a new follower! Thanks Susie!

  10. Alesha says:

    Why butter on the bone side?

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      When I braise these I do it bone side up, so that butter will melt down into the meat.