Smoked Honey Mustard Ribs

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Tracking PixelCreate your own unique flavor for ribs with a sweet and savory honey Dijon sauce for the ultimate Smoked Honey Mustard Ribs. You can use this recipe on baby back ribs or spare ribs (including St. Louis cut).

A rack of Smoked Honey Mustard Ribs on a serving platter

One of my favorite things about barbecue is that there are no rules. There are methods and products up the wazoo, but what it comes down to is experimentation, flavor, and tenderness. There’s no one way to cook anything, and there’s no one sauce to rule them all. And thus we put together this tangy and sweet honey mustard glaze with just four ingredients for smoked ribs.

Two flavors I absolutely love together are honey and mustard. Mustard for that heat and kick, and honey to add that natural sweetness, just enough to create balance. And we add apple cider vinegar for that acidic touch. So we added both to these ribs for one of our favorite honey mustard rib recipes.

Ingredients for Honey Mustard Ribs

  • Ribs – We are using baby back ribs. Alternatively you can use spare ribs, or spare ribs trimmed in the St. Louis style. Baby backs cook faster and spare ribs tend to have more meat but take longer to cook.
  • Seasoning – We use Dijon mustard for the binder and our ultimate dry rub for pork seasoning.
  • Honey Mustard Glaze – This no bake glaze uses Dijon mustard, honey, apple cider vinegar, and the same dry seasoning.
  • Spritz – Equal parts apple cider vinegar and apple juice helps with smoke flavor. See below for more details.


We always like to cook two racks of ribs for up to six people.

Ribs Preparation

For this honey mustard ribs recipe we’re using baby back ribs. They have the distinct curvature to them versus St. Louis cut (or spare ribs). Although you can make these with both cuts.

On the top side of the ribs remove any excess fatty pockets.

Top side of baby back ribs.

Remove any silver skin that is on the bone side of the ribs, and trim off any excess fat or flap meat (flap meat is more common on spare ribs).

Baby Back Ribs with bone side showing.


Start by putting a coating of Dijon mustard on the ribs so the dry rub will stick. This is called the binder. Then liberally apply your seasoning. In this recipe we are using our ultimate pork seasoning with a mix of sugar, salt, and spices.

A rub that has sugar in it will really help in creating a deep color and bark that is the first thing you’ll see when you take your first bite. You are also going to be adding the honey mustard sauce, which will add additional flavor.

If you season the day prior, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Then remove them from the fridge and the plastic wrap and place on the warm smoker. Try and allow the seasoning to set for at least 15 minutes prior to putting them in the smoker.

Temperature For Smoking Ribs

Keep the temperature at 250 degrees Fahrenheit during the entire cook. For wood we like using fruit wood (like cherry or apple) for ribs. This is the same for both baby back ribs and spare ribs.

If you want more smoke flavor then consider using hickory or oak. Mesquite will have the most smoky flavor.

Adding Moisture To Ribs- Spritzing

A spritz is a spray of liquid that helps the smoke stick to the water and it helps keep some humidity in your cooking chamber.

If you are using a pellet grill or offset smoker we recommend a water pan to help retain humidity in the cooking chamber. You do not need it with a Big Green Egg or other kamado style smoker.

Honey Mustard Glaze And Sauce

This four ingredient honey mustard sauce and glaze is a great balance of acid and savory with a touch of sweet. The four ingredients are Dijon mustard (strongly recommended over yellow mustard), honey, apple cider vinegar, and the same seasoning we used on the ribs.

Combine them all in a bowl and whisk until combined. Then it’s ready to glaze and dip.

Glaze for Honey Mustard Ribs

The Cooking Process – 5 Hours

Yes, we smoke the honey mustard ribs for 5 hours. 3 hours smoked and then 2 hours wrapped up and basting in butter and the glaze for a total of 5 hours cooking time.

If you are new to ribs you can get more details on the wrapping process in our guide on 3 2 1 ribs.

  1. During the first 3 hours, you’ll want to spritz your meat occasionally to keep the meat moist. We use a mix of apple cider vinegar and water (or apple juice). It adds a touch of sweet due to the apple, so a nice way to offset a savory rub. Spritzing after that first hour every 15 minutes helps lock in flavor. Moisture helps that smoke influence stick to the meat. And with the sugar, helps with the caramelization.
spritzing smoked ribs
  1. Now we focus on wrapping. By now the bones from the ribs should start to show.
Ribs on the smoker with bones retracting
Time to wrap with honey mustard glaze as the bones start to show.
  1. The wrapping will allow the meat to baste with a modest liquid to create tenderness. Lay out aluminum foil and place 2 tablespoons of butter and some of that honey Dijon glaze you made. Feel free to add some of the spritz liquid too. Then enclose the ribs in a foil pouch and place meat side down your cooker. Wrap as tight as possible.
  1. Over the next two hours it will steam and baste in the liquid creating that soft texture. After 90 minutes wrapped, open the foil and gently wiggle the bones. They should move slightly but not pull out of the ribs. If it’s still pretty firm, smoke an additional 30 minutes. Then remove, let rest for 10 minutes, slice and serve with remaining honey mustard sauce.

Chef’s Note: You know it’s done when you can wiggle the bones and they are slightly able to come out with a tug.

That’s it! Enjoy with your favorite sides.

Side Ideas for Honey Mustard Ribs

Other Rib Recipe Inspirations

Smoked Ribs with Honey Mustard sauce on a platter

About Vindulge

Mary (a certified sommelier and recipe developer) and Sean (backyard pitmaster) are co-authors of the critically acclaimed cookbook, Fire + Wine, and have been creating content for the IACP nominated website Vindulge since 2009. They live in Oregon on a farm just outside Portland.

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Now on 2nd edition

Fire + Wine Cookbook

“This book is a one-stop guide for anyone truly interested in elevating their BBQ experience into a culinary work of art.”
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5 from 3 votes

Smoked Honey Mustard Ribs Recipe

Create your own unique flavor for ribs with a sweet and savory honey mustard glaze and sauce.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 5 hours
Servings: 2 racks of ribs


  • 2 racks Baby back ribs, trimmed with silver skin removed
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, (one tablespoon per rack)
  • ¼ cup Ultimate Dry Rub
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the Spritz:

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar, (see notes)
  • 1 cup water or apple juice, (see notes)

For the Honey Mustard Glaze:

  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Ultimate Dry Rub


  • Preparation: Preheat smoker to 250 degrees (F) using a fruit wood like apple or cherry. Coat the ribs with the Dijon mustard and then liberally apply seasoning.
  • Smoke: Place ribs on the smoker for about 60 minutes. After 60 minutes, you’ll start to see the color of ribs darken, this is a good time to spritz the ribs. Spray liberally after quickly lifting the smoker door every 15 minutes for another two hours. (3 hours total time)
  • Wrap: When the bones start to protrude from the ribs, you are going to wrap in foil. Layout your foil and place 2 tablespoons butter per rib and a drizzle some of the glaze along foil, take care to keep at least ¼ cup of the glaze for after the wrap. (see photos in the post for reference)
    Then place your ribs meat side down, on top of the butter and glaze, and wrap tightly.
  • Smoke: Place the wrapped ribs back on smoker for 2 hours. Check at about 90 minutes, you are ready to remove the foil when the bones are loose as you pull on them, but not coming out of the meat.
  • Serve: Remove from smoker and remove foil. Let rest for 10 minutes loosely tented in foil. Then cut up and serve with any remaining sauce.


Trimming Ribs: Remove any silver skin from the bone side of the ribs with a knife and paper towel. Gently lift one corner of the silver skin with knife and pull with paper towel. Remove any excess fat.
Spritz: Combine apple juice and vinegar in a food safe spray bottle.
If using spare ribs: If using spare ribs versus baby backs you may need an extra hour depending on how big they are. We recommend smoking spare ribs (or St. Louis cut ribs) for four hours, and then wrap. Then check wrapped at one hour if done, if not continue cooking wrapped until the bones wiggle but don’t pull straight out of the meat.


Calories: 617kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 649mg | Potassium: 939mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 49g | Vitamin A: 442IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 449mg | Iron: 11mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Course: dinner, Entree
Cuisine: barbecue, bbq
Servings: 2 racks of ribs
Calories: 617
Keyword: honey mustard ribs, mustard on ribs, mustard ribs, smoked spare ribs
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About Mary

I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. 5 stars
    That’s such a beautiful barbecue I want to cry ;-; of happiness, of course! I’ll have a barbecue perty for ANY REASON soon enough haha

  2. I’m so glad you’re making it easy for people to make their own sauces. It’s beyond depressing when someone takes a really nice piece of steak or ribs and slather it with crappy sauce!

  3. Oh my goodness these look amazing!!! I keep thinking to myself that I need to try grilling ribs before the summer is over, but I somehow keep forgetting… Maybe this will be the weekend – With your recipe of course!

    1. Yes, you need to try them on your amazing Green Egg! We should have an end of summer BBQ and do a full tutorial!! 🙂