• Preparation
    30 min
  • Cook Time
    4 hrs
  • Serves
  • Difficulty

Behind the Recipe

What’s More American Than Apple Pie?

If you’ve made it this far, you probably have a good idea! 

Sweet, smokey, and oh-so American, Apple Pie Ribs are the perfect dish for your 4th of July cookout. While fireworks fly, your best friends and family will have their heads in their plates, stuffing their faces with the tastiest take on ribs they’d never heard of. But now, will never forget.  

What makes this rib recipe special is its rub, made with rich apple butter. When smoked, the apple butter caramelizes and, hand over heart, actually tastes like fried apple pie. To double down on that big apple flavor, be sure to load your Oakford Pellet Grill with fruity, flavorful apple hardwood pellets.

Looking to break free from tradition this Independence Day? Look no further than the most American recipe we know: Apple Pie Ribs.



  • 2 slabs St. Louis cut spare ribs
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • ½ cup Apple Rub (we like Heath Riles)
  • 1 stick butter (cut into pats)
  • 1 cup apple butter
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 jar apple jelly
  • 1 cup of your favorite standard BBQ sauce
  • ½ cup of your favorite vinegar BBQ sauce


  1. Prepare your slabs of St. Louis cut spare ribs by pulling off the membrane from the back to ensure your seasoning really sticks. Next, square up your ribs with a knife for a more uniform shape.
  2. Mix up equal parts apple cider vinegar and apple juice in a spray bottle.
  3. Make your apple glaze by mixing one cup of apple jelly with a splash of apple juice.  Heat it in the microwave for 5 minutes until melted. Then add your standard and vinegar BBQ sauces to the mix. 
  4. Cut two sheets of aluminum foil and get out a large sheet pan for the meat.
  5. Cut butter into pats.
  6. Spritz your ribs with apple cider vinegar to act as a binder and give your seasoning something to stick to.
  7. Apply a light coat of salt and let the meat rest for about 15 minutes.
  8. Punch up that apple pie flavor with ½ cup of apple rub. Allow it to “sweat” on the meat for 15-20 minutes.

Cooking Instructions

  1. 1

    Time to fire up your Oakford Pellet Grill to 250°F, using the pellets of your choice (we recommend apple, obviously). Make sure to keep your Oakford at 250°F for the entire cooking session.

  2. 2

    Get those ribs smoking and use a spray bottle to spritz them with a mixture of equal parts apple cider vinegar and apple juice every 45 minutes or whenever they’re looking dry.

  3. 3

    About an hour into the cook, you should see your ribs turning darker in color. At this point, place ribs on a sheet of aluminum foil.

  4. 4

    Lay out butter pats on the foil next to your meat.

  5. 5

    Now it's time to get your apple butter. Brush it on the meat side, then flip the ribs over, meat down, on top of the butter.

  6. 6

    Spritz the bone side with your mixture and wrap the foil tightly around the meat.

  7. 7

    Place the wrapped ribs back on your Oakford and smoke for another hour and a half or until tender. Check your progress after about an hour. If you see the back side of the rib meat starting to tear away from the bone, you know they’re almost ready.

  8. 8

    If you have a meat thermometer, you can use it here. The meat should be around 203°F for the perfect tenderness, but you can keep cooking them if you like them fall-off-the-bone style.

  9. 9

    Once they’re done, take them out of the foil and place on a foil-lined sheet pan, meat side down.

  10. 10

    Pack a little more apple rub on top and brush with your apple glaze. Flip your ribs meat side up.

  11. 11

    Add some more apple rub to the meat side and place the pan of ribs back onto your Oakford. You want the rub to melt a little, which takes about 5-10 minutes. Next, brush the meat side with the apple glaze and let it cook for another 10-15 minutes or until the glaze caramelizes. Keep your eyes peeled! It can quickly burn or get too dark at this point.

  12. 12

    We’re almost there! Take the ribs off your Oakford and let them rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting and enjoying. They’re awesome to the core!

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