Apple Pie Ribs On the Traeger Ironwood XL

Apple Pie Ribs On the Traeger Ironwood XL

Summers here, and if you’re anything like me, you’re craving sweet, sticky ribs. If you’re looking for a rib that’s a little bit fruity and totally out of the box, you’ll want to try my Apple Pie Ribs. These ribs impart all the best flavors of apple pie, like juicy apples, rich cinnamon, and a little bit of heat on the back end. Like my Pineapple Upside Down Ribs, the dessert flavors shine through while keeping the rib savory enough to serve at any BBQ. 

Apple Pie Ribs are best cooked on the Traeger Ironwood XL, which gives them that ultimate kiss of smoke. This recipe is the perfect addition to any pool party, cookout, family dinner, or work event. Make a game out of it by asking your connoisseurs if they can guess what flavors inspired these racks! It's a safe bet that my Apple Pie Ribs will be the hottest recipe of the summer.

Apple Pie Ribs | Heath Riles BBQ

Ribs are one of my favorite things to cook, and I never run out of new ways to make them. One thing that I like to play around with is my cooking method. I cook ribs hot and fast and low and slow. I think it’s important to master both, as you don’t always have all day to smoke a rack! These ribs are a happy medium, delighting those who like a rib that pulls out all the stops yet doesn’t require hours over the pit.

The Ingredients

Here’s what you need to make a delicious rack (or two!) of Apple Pie Ribs. 

    • Heath Riles BBQ Apple Rub. My apple rub features a great mix of brown sugar, apple flavor, onion powder, and black pepper. It’s a great addition to ribs, but you can add it to chicken, pulled pork, or anything else that could use a dash of fruity notes.
    • Heath Riles BBQ Garlic Jalapeńo Rub. This rub was an instant bestseller, with people using it on everything from chicken wings to popcorn. It’s a great alternative to salt and pepper and has quickly become one of the nation’s top AP rubs. 
    • Heath Riles BBQ Butter Bath & Wrap. My butter bath gives roasts and ribs a rich, moist texture. You can use apple juice or water to mix; the choice is yours. You’ll be surprised with how much this wrap elevates a simple rack of ribs. 
    • Heath Riles BBQ Apple Habenero BBQ Glaze. My glazes are among my newest products, and they add a beautiful shine to hams, roasts, and ribs. You can use them straight from the bottle or blend them with BBQ sauce for a unique flavor infusion. 
    • Heath Riles BBQ Competition BBQ Sauce. I created this sauce with my good buddies from Checkered Pig. This sauce was a huge part of my first-place rib victory in the 2022 AND 2024 Memphis in May World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest. I love blending this BBQ sauce with my sweet sauce for a balanced result. 
  • Heath Riles BBQ Sweet BBQ Sauce. This sauce took over 10 years to develop, and it was worth every second. You can use it to top chicken breasts, pork chops, ribs, roasts, shrimp, tacos, and more. If you like ketchup-based sauces, you’ll adore this one. 

The Smoker Setup

Here’s the main equipment I used for this recipe. More of my grilling favorites can be found in the Equipment and Tools section. 

  • Pellet grill/smoker. I cooked these Apple Pie Ribs on the Traeger Ironwood XL. This pit is incredible because you can use it to grill or smoke. The Traeger Ironwood XL has many excellent features, like a pellet sensor, a super smoke button, and easy transportation. 

You can’t go wrong with the Traeger Ironwood XL if you cook large quantities of food. It’s roomy without taking up your entire patio and ultra-durable, lasting for years!

  • Charcoal. I stoked the pit with Royal Oak Charcoal Hardwood Pellets. I love this brand because you get clean smoke with no fillers. It gives the steak a rich, deep flavor that tastes authentic. This charcoal burns hot and fast! 

The Process for Making Apple Pie Ribs

The video and recipe card provides a detailed demonstration of this recipe. Here’s a quick rundown of how I put these larger-than-life Apple Pie Ribs together. 

  • Fire up the pit. I stoked the Traeger Ironwood XL with Royal Oak Charcoal Hardwood Pellets and fired it up to 300℉.
  • Trim the ribs. I trimmed the ribs to my liking, removing fat pockets, membranes, stray pieces of bone, and gristle. I also patted the ribs down, which helps the seasonings stick, even without a binder. To learn more about my foolproof method for trimming ribs, check out this post. 
  • Add seasoning. Once the ribs were trimmed, I added a layer of Heath Riles BBQ Garlic Jalapeńo Rub and Heath Riles BBQ Apple Rub. I flipped the ribs and repeated the process on the other side, letting the meat sweat in for 10 minutes. 
  • Start cooking. I set the ribs directly on the Traeger Ironwood XL and let them go for 2 hours and 10 minutes, spritzing with apple juice at the 1-hour mark. 
  • Wrap the ribs. I double-lined a baking tray with aluminum foil and spread 3 tablespoons of cinnamon apple sauce over it. Then, I set the ribs over the top and added a little more cinnamon apple sauce. To make the wrap, I combined the apple juice, Heath Riles BBQ Butter Bath & Wrap, and Heath Riles BBQ Apple Habenero BBQ Glaze until smooth. Keep in mind this butter bath is enough for TWO slabs of ribs, so you’ll need to adjust the quantity if you have less or more meat. I poured the butter bath over the ribs and tightly wrapped them. 
  • Keep smoking. I set the wrapped ribs back on the Traeger Ironwood XL and let them go for another 2 hours, checking at the 1-hour mark. 
  • Make the glaze. While the ribs cooked, I made a glaze by combining Heath Riles BBQ Apple Habenero BBQ Glaze, Heath Riles BBQ Competition BBQ Sauce, and Heath Riles BBQ Sweet BBQ Sauce. I warmed the glaze on the Traeger Ironwood XL while the ribs rested.
  • Glaze the ribs. Once the ribs were tender (207℉), I removed them from the pit and let them rest for 20-30 minutes. I laid a cooling rack over a baking tray and gently placed the ribs on top. Then, I brushed them with glaze, ensuring every bit was covered with sauce. 
  • Finish cooking. I set the cooling tray holding the Apple Pie Ribs directly on the Traeger Ironwood XL and let them tack up for 15 minutes. The only thing left was to take the ribs off the grill and let them cool before digging in!

The Results

These Apple Pie Ribs came off the pit with a beautiful candy-apple color and that ultimate rib wiggle. The meat was fall-off-the-fork tender and imparted fruity and savory notes. 

Serving Suggestions for Apple Pie Ribs

These ribs are great on their own, but you can always pair them with a side of Mississippi Coleslaw, crusty bread, or a side salad. 

Storing Leftovers

Leftover Apple Pie Ribs can be stored in the fridge for up to four days or frozen for up to four months. If reheating from frozen, you may want to add more glaze. 

Equipment and Tools

Traeger Ironwood XL, Royal Oak Charcoal Hardwood pellets, disposable cutting board, Heath Riles Heat Resistant BBQ Gloves, aluminum foil, cast iron pan, spray bottle, metal sheet pan, ThermoWorks Hi-Temp Silicone Brush, Victorinox Fribrox Pro Chef’s Knife, metal tongs.

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