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Cowboy Candy  Ribs

Cowboy Candy Ribs

By Nichole Dailey

Many amazing recipes come out of the Traeger kitchen. But when Nichole Dailey developed these sticky, spicy, smoky-sweet, cowboy candy ribs, she wowed the Traegerhood. People were literally begging for the recipe. The Cowboy Candy makes more than you need for the ribs, which should make you happy. Try the candied jalapeños on burgers, dogs, with cheeses, in cocktails, or any other way you can imagine.

Prep Time

15 Minutes

Cook Time

6 Hours




Number of people serving


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Units of measurement:
Cowboy Candy
10 jalapeños
1 1/2 Cup light brown sugar
1 Cup apricot preserves
1/4 Cup apple cider vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 Rack St. Louis-style ribs
1/2 Cup yellow mustard
1/4 Cup Traeger Rub
2 Tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 Cup cooked, chopped bacon


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    Cowboy Candy Ribs

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  • 1

    Make the cowboy candy: Preheat the Traeger with the lid closed to 225°F; this will take about 15 minutes.

    225 ˚F / 107 ˚C

  • 2

    Slice the jalapeños into ¼-inch thick rings and spread them out on a wire rack. Place the rack directly on the grill grate and smoke for 25 minutes.

    225 ˚F / 107 ˚C


  • 3

    Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, preserves, vinegar, garlic, and black pepper.

  • 4

    Transfer the smoked jalapeños to the saucepan, then place the pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat so that the mixture is simmering, until syrupy and thick, 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside 1 cup of the cowboy candy, including some of the syrup, for the ribs. Transfer the remaining to a heatproof container. Cover and refrigerate what you don’t use right away; it will keep for up to 2 months. If not making the ribs right away, cover and refrigerate the 1 cup of candy, too.

  • 5

    When ready to cook the ribs, heat the Traeger with the lid closed to 225°F.

    225 ˚F / 107 ˚C

  • 6

    If your butcher has not already done so, remove the thin papery membrane from the bone-side of the ribs by working the tip of a butter knife underneath the membrane over a middle bone. Use paper towels to get a firm grip, then tear the membrane off. Coat the ribs on both sides with the mustard. Sprinkle the Traeger Rub and the black pepper on both sides as well; the ribs should be amply coated.

  • 7

    Place the ribs bone side down directly on the grill grate. Cook undisturbed for 3 hours. After 3 hours, brush the ribs with some of the syrup from the cowboy candy. Cook for another 20 minutes, then brush again. Continue cooking until syrup looks set and the internal temperature reaches 202°F .

    225 ˚F / 107 ˚C

    202 ˚F / 94 ˚C

  • 8

    Transfer the ribs to a cutting board. Line a rimmed baking sheet with butcher paper or parchment for easy cleanup. Slice the racks into individual ribs, then transfer the ribs to a large bowl. Add the bacon and the remaining cowboy candy (the jalapeños plus any syrup) to the bowl and toss well. Transfer the ribs to the baking sheet, scraping the jalapeños and bacon from the bottom of the bowl onto the ribs.

  • 9

    Place the baking sheet on the grill grate and cook until the sauce is set and warmed through, 35 to 40 minutes. Enjoy!

    225 ˚F / 107 ˚C


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