Hot. Sweet. Sour.

Sound anything like your last relationship gone awry? Well this recipe should actually cheer you up instead, if tender, juicy, bone-sucking baby back ribs are your thing. You may recall last summer I posted a blog on Carolina-Style Barbecued Chicken that used a similar BBQ sauce—and it was slammin’ good!

Sweet and tangy, mustard tames the sweetness of the brown sugar—a nice reprieve from the traditional red BBQ sauces that many of us are more accustomed to. Surprised to find we were out of apple cider vinegar, we substituted white wine vinegar which shares a similar acidic level.

As for the Adobo Seco Seasoning, we always keep a container of homemade on hand (it has a long shelf life) but you can also buy it commercially made and use that. The most popular version is the dry seasoning mix, made from garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt, pepper, and sometimes dried citrus.

Carolina-style Grilled Baby Back Ribs

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 6-7 lbs. of baby back ribs (about 2 large racks)
  • 3 Tbsp. adobo seco seasoning (store-bought or homemade)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup yellow or Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. mustard powder
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. hot sauce, such as Frank’s
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • Oil for the grates


  1. Rub both racks of meat all over with the adobo seco seasoning. Position on a rack in a rimmed backing sheet. Place upright toothpicks in several areas of the meat and cover tightly with heavy-duty foil and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next day, 2 1/2 to 3 hours before you plan to start grilling, preheat the oven to 325°.
  3. Remove a portion of the foil away so that you can pour 2 cups water into bottom of rimmed baking sheet and recover. Place into preheated oven for at least 2 hours.
  4. After 2 hours check the ribs to see if the meat pulls away from the bones easily. If not, continue cooking for another 1/2 hour.
  5. Meanwhile heat the grill to medium. Oil grates just before adding meat.
  6. Brush one side of each rack with room temperature BBQ sauce and lay the racks onto hot grates sauce side down. Brush sauce on top side.
  7. When bottoms of ribs are browned, flip and brush again with more sauce. Repeat several times over the course of 10-12 minutes until racks are well sauced and browned.
  8. Break racks apart into 3-4 ribs per section, place on platter and serve with any leftover sauce.

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