South Dakota Corncob-Smoked Ribs

  • These ribs smoke low and slow over corncobs instead of wood chips.

    These ribs smoke low and slow over corncobs instead of wood chips. Courtesy of America's Test Kitchen

Posted6/27/2012 5:12 AM


1 cup ketchup


cup water

1 tablespoon pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

1 tablespoon granulated garlic

2 teaspoons celery seeds

teaspoon liquid smoke


5 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

teaspoon pepper

2 racks (2-3 pounds each) baby back pork ribs, trimmed and membrane removed

1 cup cornmeal

6 corncobs, kernels removed and reserved for another use

For the sauce: Whisk all ingredients together in medium bowl to combine; set aside.

For the ribs: Combine sugar, salt and pepper in bowl. Pat ribs dry with paper towels and rub with sugar mixture; set aside. Using large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, wrap cornmeal in foil packet and cut several vent holes in top.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service

Open bottom vents of charcoal grill halfway. Place 13-by-9-inch disposable aluminum roasting pan on one side of grill and fill pan with 2 quarts water. Arrange 3 quarts unlit charcoal briquettes on opposite side of grill. Place cobs on top of unlit briquettes. Light large chimney starter filled halfway with charcoal briquettes (3 quarts). When top coals are covered with ash, pour over cobs and unlit coals. Place cornmeal packet on coals. Set cooking grate in place, cover and open lid vent halfway. Heat grill until hot and cornmeal is smoking, about 5 minutes.

Clean and oil cooking grate. Place ribs, meat side up, on cool part of grill opposite coals. Cover, positioning lid vent over ribs, and cook until ribs are deep red and tender, 3 to 4 hours, rotating ribs 180 degrees every hour. During last 30 minutes of cooking, baste ribs every 10 minutes, rotating ribs each time.

Transfer ribs to carving board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 15-20 minutes. Cut ribs in between bones and serve, passing remaining sauce separately.

Serves four to six.

Cook's note: A gas grill can't do these corncob ribs justice, so please use charcoal. The test kitchen's favorite ketchup is Heinz Organic. What should you do with all those kernels? Visit for a recipe for corn salad (the recipe will be free for four months).

Cook's Country June/July 2012

Go to comments: 0 posted
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.