Apple Cider Ribs Recipe by Pitmaster Chris Lilly

Apple Cider Ribs Recipe by pitmaster Chris Lilly

Apple Cider Ribs recipe by award-winning Pitmaster Chris Lilly is a recipe that anyone wanting to be the neighborhood grillmaster will be eager to try!

Chris Lilly, head of the Bib Bob Gibson’s BBQ team, is the most award-winning pitmaster in history. Now he shares his grilling tips to show you how to smoke your ribs at home. He even includes his famous Apple Cider Ribs recipe!

Quick 5 minute overview to smoking ribs on the BBQ

This video how-to guide for perfect pork ribs by Chris Lilly is a great overview before beginning, with the bonus tip adding a smoked flavor.

Of course you don’t want to use just any ole barbecue sauce for the final glaze.

Go for the gold with Big Bob Gibson’s award-winning red sauce.

big bob gibsons champion bbq sauce
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Apple Cider Ribs Recipe by pitmaster Chris Lilly

Apple Cider Ribs

  • Author: Chris Lilly
  • Total Time: 35 minute
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Award-winning apple cider ribs recipe from pit master Chris Lilly. 


Units Scale
  • 2 racks loin back ribs (baby back)
  • 1 c barbecue sauce

Dry Rub

  • 1/4 c dark brown sugar
  • 4 tsp garlic salt
  • 4 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper

Liquid Seasoning

  • 1/4 c apple cider
  • 1/4 c apple jelly
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp dry rub mix (above)


  1. Remove membrane from rack of ribs. Chris Lilly, “If you don’t remove the membrane, it takes on a waxed paper consistency and is not a great chew.” With a paper towel, grab the end of the membrane on the back of the ribs and pull.

Dry Rub

  1. In a small bowl, combine the dry rub ingredients and mix well. Reserve a tablespoon of the rub for the liquid seasoning mixture. Generously apply the dry rub onto the front and back sides of ribs. Gently pat to ensure that the rub will adhere. (Even though it’s called a ‘rub’, there’s no need to rub it in.) Let them sit for 15-20 minutes.

Prepare Grill

  1. Build a charcoal fire for indirect cooking using the 2-zone fire. Situate the coals on only one side of the charcoal grill, leaving the other side void. Add a small aluminum pan to the void side of the grill and fill it halfway with water. (Leave burners off on one side or the front of a barbecue or electric grill.) For more info on the 2-zone method, see How to Grill Like a Pitmaster: BBQ Tips from Chris Lilly

  2. When the grill reaches 250°F, place ribs meat-side up on grill grate above the void area and cook with indirect heat for 2 hours and 15 minutes. Use a thermometer to be sure the BBQ stays at a steady 250°F. 

  3. (If you’re going to use wood chips or briquets for smoking, add them to the charcoal just before placing ribs on grill.)

Liquid Seasoning

  1. Prepare foil: use doubled aluminum foil large enough to completely wrap the ribs, one for each slab. Remove ribs from grill and place meat-side down on its own foil.

  2. Mix liquid seasoning in a small bowl. Pour 1/2 cup of the liquid over each slab. Then tightly wrap and seal with aluminum foil. Place the wrapped ribs back on the voided side of the grill for 1 hour at 250°F.

Finishing Glaze

  1. Remove ribs from grill, unwrap, and discard foil. Brush finishing glaze of the barbecue sauce on both sides of ribs. Place ribs back on the voided side of grill for 10 – 15 minutes, or until sauce caramelizes.

  2. Let ribs rest for 5 – 10 minutes to reabsorb its juices. Your meat will not get cold, it actually continues to cook while resting.

  3. Cut slabs into ½ or ⅓ rack of ribs and serve.

  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 1/2 hours
  • Category: Meat
  • Method: BBQ
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Chris Lilly


Recipe, video and photos courtesy of Kingsford Charcoal

Want to see more Chris Lilly recipes & BBQ tips?

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