Chilis Baby Back Ribs

Chilis Baby Back Ribs are fall off the bone tender and have a rich, thick barbecue sauce.

overhead view of a pile of homemade Chili's baby back ribs

A rack of baby back ribs is just about the finest finger food imaginable. Sweet and smokey, these ribs are going to be an instant favorite for your entire family. Yes, it is true that there are far faster and simpler methods of cooking ribs, but you will be hard-pressed to find any that are as tender and tasty as this Chilis Baby Back Ribs recipe. Whether you are an experienced pitmaster or it is your first time experimenting with a smoker, these ribs won’t let you down.

Understanding the Different Types of Ribs

You will definitely want to use pork baby back ribs for this recipe because they offer the best mix of meatiness and flavor. Back ribs come from beneath the loin muscle, and each rack is around two pounds. You can use pork spare ribs in a pinch, but spare ribs tend to have more fat and much tougher meat. They are also much larger, and if you do wind up with a fridge full of spare ribs, you will need to increase the cooking time by about an hour to ensure they are fully cooked. Whatever you do, don’t confuse beef back ribs for pork baby back ribs. Beef back ribs may be cheaper by the pound, but you are almost always wasting your money because they usually have more bone and gristle than meat.

A Word About Smokers

Do you need a smoker to make this Chilis Baby Back Ribs recipe? Well, yes, and no. While it is certainly possible to make this recipe entirely on a grill, the truth is that by cooking it that way, you are sacrificing much of the flavor that makes the dish so scrumptious. But the good news is that you absolutely don’t need one of those enormous specialty outdoor smokers to get the perfect results you are after. You can buy a wood pellet tube for less than 20 bucks that can turn your outdoor grill with a lid into a decent smoker. For a little more money, you can get a stovetop smoker that will not only allow you to cook perfect baby back ribs but also a wide range of other hot and cold smoked dishes.

Whichever smoker you choose, you need to spend the time to learn how to use it properly. Each smoker is different, so be sure to read the instructions.

Tips for Preparing, Cooking, and Serving Chilis Baby Back Ribs

  • Remove the inner membrane from the back of the ribs. If your ribs come with the membrane still attached, use a paper towel to get a good grip on it and gently pull it off.
  • Use pecan pellets. The type of wood you choose to use in your smoker matters a lot. The smoke from the pecan wood pellets provides a sweet and fruity flavor to these Chilis ribs without overpowering the taste of the pork like mesquite pellets tend to do.
  • These ribs deserve quality side dishes. Beans like Chilis Black Beans and Boston Market Cornbread are great choices.

Check out all of our favorite recipes from Chilis on YouTube!

Ingredients

These incredible baby back ribs get their deep flavor from both a dry rub and homemade barbecue sauce. There are a lot of ingredients but they are simple and easily found in a regular grocery store.

Here’s what you need for the ribs:

  • Baby Back Ribs
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Granulated White Sugar
  • Dried Minced Onion
  • Garlic Powder
  • Olive Oil
Chili's baby back ribs dry rub ingredients
Dry rub ingredients for Chili’s baby back ribs.

Here’s what you need for the BBQ sauce:

  • Brown Sugar
  • Tomato Paste
  • Water
  • Canned Chipotle Peppers
  • Concentrated Orange Juice
  • Chicken Broth
  • Ketchup
  • Soy Sauce
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Garlic, minced
  • Dried Minced Onion
  • Chili Powder
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
six homemade Chili's baby back ribs

Supplies Needed

  • Aluminum Foil
  • Tongs
  • Baking Sheet
  • 8×8 Metal Pan with Water
  • Basting Brush
  • Competition Blend Pellets
  • Spray Bottle filled with Apple Cider Vinegar

How to Make Chili’s Baby Back Ribs

  1. Preheat pellet smoker to 225 degrees. 
  2. Place sugar, salt, pepper, minced onion, garlic powder, cayenne, and paprika in a medium bowl. Whisk together.
    Chili's baby back ribs dry rub mix
  3. Place your ribs, with the bottom facing up, on your baking sheet.
  4. Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs.
    removing membrane from baby back ribs
  5. Drizzle olive oil on the back of the ribs and rub it all over.
    olive oil drizzled on raw baby back ribs
  6. Sprinkle a little of the spice mixture on the back of each rack of ribs and rub it in thoroughly.
  7. Flip the ribs and repeat the oil and spice process.
    rubbing dry rub on baby back ribs
  8. Place an 8×8 pan of water to the back of your smoker.
  9. Place the racks of ribs in the smoker. 
  10. Cook for 3 hours at 225 degrees, spraying every half an hour with the apple cider vinegar.
    baby back ribs in a pellet grill smoker
  11. Place a piece of foil on a baking sheet that is large enough to fully wrap the ribs.
  12. Place your ribs on the foil, generously squirt with apple cider vinegar, and seal it tightly.
  13. Continue to cook at 225 degrees for 2 more hours. 
  14. Remove the ribs from the foil and smother them with BBQ sauce.
    basting homemade Chili's baby back ribs
  15. Place them back in the smoker, without the foil, and smoke for 1 more hour.

How to Make Chili’s BBQ Sauce

  1. Add all the wet ingredients to a medium pot.
  2. Using an immersion blender, blend the ingredients until smooth.
  3. Add the dry ingredients, stir, and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. 
homemade Chili's baby back ribs with BBQ sauce

Recipe Tips

  • If you would like to save on pellets, during the two hours that the ribs are wrapped in foil, you can place them in your oven at 225 degrees for those two hours instead. The first 3 hours and then the last hour of cooking still need to be in the smoker. 
  • Heat resistant gloves make handling the gloves a little easier than using tongs. 
  • Keep that lid closed as much as possible. Open, squirt, close. Keeping the heat consistent is key to a good smoking process. 
  • If you don’t have competition pellets, no problem, just use your favorite. 
  • To make the BBQ sauce milder, reduce or remove the chipotle peppers.
six homemade Chili's baby back ribs with BBQ sauce

Love Chili’s? Try these copycat recipes!

Favorite Pork Recipes

Check out more of my easy pork recipes and the best copycat recipes for casual dining restaurants here on CopyKat!

five homemade Chili's baby back ribs

Chilis Baby Back Ribs

Chili’s Baby Back Ribs are fall off the bone tender and smothered in rich, thick barbecue sauce. Get the easy copycat recipe and learn how to make the best baby back ribs on a pellet grill. These smoked pork ribs are deeply flavored with homemade dry rub and chipotle BBQ sauce. Perfect recipe for Traeger and pellet smokers. #r
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chilis Baby Back Ribs
Servings: 6
Calories: 1568kcal

Ingredients

Baby Back Rib Rub

  • 4 pounds racks baby back pork ribs (2 racks) You can use spare ribs
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced dry onion
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • vegetable oil

Baby Back Rib Sauce

  • 4 cups brown sugar
  • 12 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (7.5 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons dried minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Equipment Needed

  • Smoker

Instructions

Ribs

  • Preheat pellet smoker to 225 degrees fahrenheit.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, salt, pepper, minced onion, garlic powder, cayenne, and paprika. Whisk together.
  • Place your ribs, with the bottom facing up, on your baking sheet. Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs.
  • Drizzle a bit of vegetable oil (around 2 tablespoons, but you don’t have to be exact) on the back of the ribs and rub it all over.
  • Sprinkle about ⅙ of the spice mixture on the back of each rack of ribs and rub it in thoroughly.
  • Flip the ribs and repeat the oil and spice process, just divide the remaining seasoning mixture between the two racks
  • Place your 8×8 pan of water to the back of your smoker and then place your racks of ribs in the smoker.
  • Cook for 3 hours at 225 degrees, spraying every half an hour with the apple cider vinegar. Spray them just enough to make them shiny, you don’t have to be exact here.
  • Place foil on your baking sheet, making sure that the foil is about 5 inches longer than the ribs on each side.
  • Place your ribs on the foil, generously squirt with apple cider vinegar, seal it tightly, and continue to bake at 225 degrees for 2 more hours.
  • Remove the ribs from the foil, smother with BBQ sauce, and place them back in the smoker, without the foil, and smoke for 1 more hour. Enjoy!

BBQ Sauce Instructions

  • Add all the wet ingredients to a medium boiling pot. Using an immersion blender, blend the ingredients until smooth. You can also use a normal blender if you have one large enough, or do it in batches.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients, stir, and simmer for 30-45 minutes. The longer you simmer, the thicker it will get.

Recipe Tips for the Cook

 
  • If you would like to save on pellets, during the two hours that the ribs are wrapped in foil, you can place them in your oven at 225 degrees for those two hours instead. The first 3 hours and then the last hour of cooking still need to be in the smoker. 
  • Heat-resistant gloves make handling the gloves a little easier than using tongs. 
  • Keep that lid closed as much as possible. Open, squirt, close. Keeping the heat consistent is key to a good smoking process. 
  • If you don’t have competition pellets, no problem, just use your favorite. 
  • To make the BBQ sauce milder, reduce or remove the chipotle peppers.

Nutrition

Calories: 1568kcal | Carbohydrates: 182g | Protein: 55g | Fat: 73g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 242mg | Sodium: 10987mg | Potassium: 2139mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 156g | Vitamin A: 6217IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 327mg | Iron: 10mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @CopyKatRecipes or tag #CopyKatRecipes!

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Comments

  1. Baltisraul

    5 stars
    This is the perfect recipe for smoking St Louis style (spareribs). We have a wood chunk electric smoker from ‘Smokin – it’ for 9 years now. It is so air tight that when doing Baby Back’s we must go to the 2-2-1 method to prevent them from becoming to dry. Don’t change a thing with this recipe. It’s the BOMB! Every smoker brand is different, so stay with the 3-2-1 till proven otherwise. Remember you want rib meat that easily pull off the bone not fall off the bone.

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