Smoked Masala Ribs


You may never look at baby back ribs the same way after trying these smoked masala ribs.

I love ribs- don’t care if they’re baked, grilled, or smoked – I love the suckers. There’s just something about smoked meat and if you’ve got the benefit of a smoker, why not smoke often. This may be the only time I condone smoking….until I put up my brisket recipe. I love fusing traditional Indian flavors into my favorite American dishes, so it was only natural to make smoked masala ribs.

Smoked masala ribs are a Punjabi take on an American favorite. The traditional Indian masala fuses perfectly with the smoking process and the flavor of pork. In Punjab we didn’t grow up eating a lot of pork but when we did it was cooked in traditional Southern Indian flavors, curries, and masalas. So it’s a bit natural that when I think of pork, I want it to have rich earthy notes to it. This masala brings in spices such as cardamom, cloves, coriander, cumin, etc. giving it a deep and rich flavor. Indian cuisine and Indian recipes vary so heavily region by region, making it really fun to see what you can fuse together for a new flavor profile. And a new flavor profile it is! These baby back ribs are fusion Indian cuisine at it’s best. In the same bite you can’t help but think, “Wow, I’m eating an Indian pork dish”, and, “These taste like good old fashioned American smoked ribs”. Together, it’s a bit of a wow. Unless you’re not a fan of spiced meat, then it sucks.

I love a good dry rub on steak and ribs, however, I opted for more of a paste-like marinade this time around. It just helps infuse the meat with the rich spices, as well as creates a nice crust on the meat. Adding in the apple juice helps keep the meat hydrated and creates those fall of the bone ribs that we all LOVE.

If you don’t have a smoker, no problem, you can bake them or grill them. Just make sure to cook them through properly.

These ribs are perfect for a cookout or Sunday dinner. We made them for 4th of July weekend. We paired them sirke de pyaaz, serrano pepper cornbread, potato salad, and pineapple basil lemonades. It was a yummy weekend.

Who doesn’t love a good BBQ? Here are a few more meaty favorites:

Smoked Masala Ribs

Course: MainCuisine: American, Punjabi FusionDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Chilling Time


Cook Time


Total Time


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  • Spice Paste:
  • 2 tbsp cumin

  • 2 tbsp Kasoori methi

  • 1 tsp chili powder

  • 1 Indian bay leaf

  • 1 tbsp garam masala

  • 10 garlic cloves

  • 3 tbsp ginger, minced

  • 1 lime, juiced

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 1 tsp granulated onion

  • 1/2 tsp turmeric

  • 2 Serrano peppers

  • Salt, to taste

  • Black pepper, to taste

  • Ribs:
  • 2 racks of ribs

  • 1/2 cup apple juice

Equipment/Specialty Items


  • Masala and Prep:
  • In your food processor or blender, add in all ingredients other than the ribs, and blend till it’s a thick paste.
  • Divide 1/4 of the masala out and set aside.
  • Pat ribs dry and if your butcher has not already done so, remove the thin silverskin 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.
  • Apply the remaining 3/4’s of the masala evenly on the meat side of the ribs (top and sides).
  • Cover loosely and chill in the refrigerator for 4 hrs.
  • Smoking the Ribs:
  • In a small mixing boil combine apple juice and the 1/4 masala you set aside previously.
  • Preheat your smoker to 180℉.
  • Smoke the ribs, meat-side up for 3 hours.
  • Transfer the ribs to a rimmed baking sheet and increase the smoker temperature to 225℉.
  • Tear off four long sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Top with a rack of ribs (1 rack per sheet of foil, leaving you two extra sheets of foil) and pull up the sides to keep the liquid enclosed.
  • Brush the masala juice mix over the ribs – use all of it.
  • Lay the remaining sheets of foil on top of the ribs and tightly crimp the edges so there is no leakage.
  • Return the foiled ribs to the grill and cook for an additional 3 hours.
  • Carefully remove the foil from the ribs. Discard the foil. Arrange the ribs directly on the smoker grate and continue to smoke until the sauce tightens, 30 to 60 minutes more.
  • Remove from grill and let cool for a few minutes.
  • Serve with your favorite sides.

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Nutrition Facts

8 servings per container


  • Amount Per Serving% Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 157.5g 242%
    • Saturated Fat 53.9g 265%
  • Cholesterol 525mg 175%
  • Sodium 2729mg 114%
  • Amount Per Serving% Daily Value *
  • Potassium 108mg 4%
  • Total Carbohydrate 6.8g 2%
    • Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
    • Sugars 1.9g
  • Protein 128.7g 256%
  • Calcium 4%
  • Iron 54%
  • Vitamin D 1%

* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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