The Fort Recipe: Smokehouse Buffalo BBQ Ribs

Barbecue season is upon us, and we’re celebrating by sharing one of our favorite Fort recipes: Smokehouse Buffalo BBQ Ribs!

 True fans of The Fort know these ribs are a guest favorite. In fact, they’ve even earned praise from Food Network star Chef Bobby Flay, who visited The Fort to film his television show and declared our Smokehouse Ribs as the best he had eaten all year!

Our former chef used his creativity to develop the recipe, and its homemade bourbon-based BBQ sauce is the key to its unforgettable flavor. Since buffalo ribs can be hard to find, you can substitute them with beef or pork baby back ribs instead for equally delicious results.

  • 1 c. Jack Daniels or another bourbon
  • 1 c. molasses
  • 1/2 c. orange juice concentrate
  • 1/4 c. whole cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with the flat side of a chef’s knife
  • 1/4 c. fresh thyme sprigs or 1 tsp. dried leaf thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 c. water
  • 5 lbs. buffalo (or beef) back ribs
  • Hickory wood smoking chips, or 2 to 3 hickory aluminum foil smoker bags
  • Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce, recipe follows

In a large, nonreactive saucepan, combine the Jack Daniels, molasses, orange juice concentrate, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, salt and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.

Place the ribs in a large shallow braising pan and pour the braising liquid over them. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Braise in a 200°F oven for 6 to 8 hours, until very tender.

Remove the ribs from the liquid and allow to cool. Pour the liquid through a strainer into a saucepan. Discard the bay leaves and other solids left in the strainer. Cook the liquid over medium-low heat, stirring often, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced to about 1 cup. Reserve this liquid to add to the BBQ sauce.

Smoke the ribs over hickory chips on a grill, or in hickory aluminum foil smoker bags on the bottom rack of a preheated 450°F oven for 1 hour. On the grill, baste with Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce during the last 15 to 20 minutes. If using smoker bags, baste with the sauce after smoking is complete.


Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce

  • 1 c. Jack Daniels or bourbon
  • 1 c. molasses
  • 3/4 c. chili sauce
  • 3/4 c. orange juice concentrate
  • 1/2 c. A-1 sauce
  • 1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 c. water

In a large non-reactive saucepan combine bourbon, molasses, chili sauce, orange juice concentrate, A-1 sauce, Worcestershire and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring. Simmer gently over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes until sauce begins to thicken and is reduced to about 2 cups. If desired, when preparing Smokehouse Buffalo Ribs, add the flavorful reduced rib braising liquid to the sauce.


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