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Boneless Rib Sandwich

Boneless Rib Sandwich

By Timothy Hollingsworth

Find out why Chef Tom Hollingworth calls his take on a famous fast-food item “the perfect sandwich.” The key is to cook ribs until the bones easily pull out; this is not the way everyone likes to eat straight-ahead ribs, but it’s crucial here. If bourbon is not your thing, change up the spritz to half apple cider vinegar and half apple juice.

Prep Time

15 Min

Cook Time

8 Hr


Signature Pellet Blend


This recipe serves:


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Units of Measurement:
1 Rack St. Louis-style ribs
1/4 Cup fresh orange juice
1/4 Cup bourbon
2 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 Cup brown sugar
Traeger Texas Spicy BBQ Sauce
1 white onion
4 hoagie rolls, split lengthwise
Traeger Texas Spicy BBQ Sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Dill pickle chips


  • Watch Video

    Smoked Boneless Rib Sandwich

    Smoked Boneless Rib Sandwich thumbnail
  • 1

    Cook the ribs: Preheat the Traeger with the lid closed to 225°F; this will take about 15 minutes.

    225 ˚F / 107 ˚C

  • 2

    Trim any excess fat off the ribs. Remove the membrane from the back of the rib racks by sliding a butter knife under the membrane and bone of a center rib, then gripping the membrane with a paper towel and pulling away. Generously season the ribs with salt and pepper. Holding a leave-in meat thermometer parallel to your work surface, insert it between two bones of the meatiest ribs.

  • 3

    Place the rack directly on the grill grates, meat side up. Combine the orange juice and the bourbon, preferably in a clean spray bottle. Smoke the ribs, checking on them occasionally and spritzing them if they look dry, until they reach a temperature of about 170°F; the time this takes will vary depending on the size of your ribs, the weather, and your grill, but figure on 3 to 5 hours.

    225 ˚F / 107 ˚C

    170 ˚F / 77 ˚C

  • 4

    Have ready a piece of foil large enough to wrap the rib rack. Transfer the rack to the foil and fold up the edges of the foil so any liquid added won’t run off. Divide the butter into 3 pieces and add it to the ribs, then add some of the orange juice/bourbon mixture. Sprinkle the ribs with the brown sugar, then wrap them tightly.

  • 5

    Return the ribs to the grill and cook until the internal temperature reaches around 200°F, about another 2 hours. Leaving the ribs on the foil, unwrap them, and brush on a thin layer of the Texas Spicy sauce. Continue cooking and glazing with a very thin layer of sauce once or twice more until the rib bones can be easily pulled out of the meat, about another hour or so.

    225 ˚F / 107 ˚C

    200 ˚F / 93 ˚C

  • 6

    Transfer the ribs to a cutting board to rest for at least 20 minutes.

  • 7

    Meanwhile, slice the onion not too thin or too thick, about 3/8-inch. Place the rings in ice water for at least 10 minutes to crisp them up. (Pat them dry before using.)

  • 8

    Pull the bones out of the rib meat. Using a knife, cut the rib meat to fit the rolls, about 2 ribs per sandwich. Squeeze some Texas Spicy onto the top and the bottom buns, then divide the ribs among the bottom buns. Season with a little salt and pepper and add more BBQ sauce, if you like. Top with the onions, pickle chips, and top bun. Enjoy!

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