Johnny Trigg ribs have a good reputation – and from the first taste, you will see why they are legendary. Johnny Trigg is a celebrity chef that is one of the most well-known names in the competitive BBQ circuit. He has won the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational twice and has appeared on BBQ Pitmasters.

Johnny hails from Texas, which may be why his ribs are so fantastic, as Texas has some of the best recipes and ingredients to use. He started working on his recipe in 1984 and continues to test and improve all of his ingredients. He only started competing in 1990 and continues to enter about 50 contests every year with his team Smoking Triggers.

Johnny Trigg Rib Recipe

One of the most famous rib recipes in the world is the Johnny Trigg pork rib recipe. Those who have eaten it often look to replicate it – and he has made it public. Now, this isn’t the easiest recipe to make, but with some practice, you should be able to perfect. One key is to get the best ingredients that you can get – while it will work with cheaper ingredients, you won’t get the full Johnny Trigg experience.

Now, his rub and BBQ sauce are still secret, so we’ve gotten as close as possible to replicate that smoky goodness.


  • 2 Racks of Pork Spare Ribs (get the best ones you can!)
  • 1 Bottle Squeeze Parkay
  • 12 oz Honey (sub agave nectar)
  • 1 BBQ Rub Of Your Choice
  • 2 cups of Apple Juice
  • 8 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 oz Tiger Sauce
  • 1 Bottle BBQ Sauce (use whatever you like)


Johnny Trigg’s rib recipe is broken down into a few steps – once again, take your time!


This is only the first step – it is for the preparation of the ribs.

  1. The first thing you should always do is rinse your ribs thoroughly. Pat them dry with a towel.
  2. Remove the membrane along the back of the rib. Use a paper town to hold the membrane and then pull.
  3. Put a light coating of garlic powder on the ribs and then use an extremely generous amount of your favorite pork rub. Make sure the coating is even.
  4. Allow your ribs to sit for at least two hours – four is ideal. If possible, allow them to sit overnight. You absolutely have to give your ribs time to sit with the rub on them.
  5. Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees and smoke the ribs for 3 hours.
  6. Every hour, mist the ribs generously using the apple juice

Foiling The Pork Ribs

Next, you need to “foil the ribs.”

  1. Lay down heavy-duty foil – give yourself enough space to work. Do not use normal foil as it will tear and ruin your ribs. They will end up too dry and mess up the inside of your smoker or grill. It can be difficult to find heavy-duty foils, but many bulk stores (ie Sams, Costco, BJs, etc) will have it, or you can buy it on Amazon.
  2. Spread out 4 or 5 tablespoons of Parkay. Parkay is a bit of an insider secret, but it is worth the extra cost. Parkay does not burn as butter does, so it won’t ruin the taste of the spices.
  3. Sprinkle an extremely generous amount of brown sugar over the Parkay.
  4. Cover the ribs evenly with the honey – use as much as you need.
  5. Pour on about an ounce of Tiger sauce and make sure it is evenly distributed.
  6. Take your fingers and mix the ingredients together – do not use a tool. You want to be able to really mix everything together.
  7. Cover the tops and backs of the ribs. Do not let anything go uncovered.
  8. Tightly wrap the foil around the rack of ribs. Make sure nothing is sticking out or the ribs will get too dry.
  9. Place the foiled ribs back into the smoker and cook for 2 more hours on 225 degrees.

Finishing The Pork Ribs

Finally, you are ready to finish the pork ribs and get ready to eat them.

  1. After 2 hours, remove the foil and put a generous helping of your favorite sauce on the ribs. Ensure that the front and back are coated.
  2. Place them back into the smoker and cook for at least another 30 minutes (could be up to an hour or more).
  3. To check if your ribs are finished, try to bend the rack of ribs slightly. If the meat starts to tear, it is ready to eat. If it doesn’t, put them back in and check every few minutes.

Over time, you will be able to tell if your fibs are done to your liking. Some people like them done a little more, some a little less. It is all up to you.

Johnny Trigg Rib Kit

If you are new to making your own ribs and you want to get the same flavor as the Johnny Trigg ribs, you may want to get a Johnny Trigg Rib Kit. This kit will give you almost everything that you need to get his ribs in your own home. When we say “almost” is because you will need to get your own ribs, smoker, and a few of the most common spices and seasonings.

Inside the Johnny Trigg Rib Kit, you will get the five sauces that Johnny Trigg uses in his method. These include his secret sauces, barbecue sauce, and his rubs. For those who are a bit more experienced, it could be helpful to get the kit and break down the ingredients in those sauces using the list on the back. This will help you to recreate the recipe without having to buy the kit.

Note that it can be extremely difficult to get this kit – it isn’t easy to find from any retailer and when it goes up for sale on resale sites, it almost immediately sells out.

Johnny Trigg Bbq Sauce

The Johnny Trigg BBQ sauce recipe is one that is highly contested. People have tried to create the sauce for themselves without buying the actual product, but few people have been able to successfully create it. One secret that someone has been able to figure out is that his ribs use cherry sauce. This has led to some people creating taste-alike recipes using just homemade barbecue sauce.

This taste-alike recipe is fairly easy and it stores (and freezes) well:


  • 1 medium onion, chopped into fine pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced extremely finely
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen dark sweet cherries, pitted and chopped
  • 1 cup ketchup (use your favorite brand)
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon Liquid Smoke, optional


Preparation is extremely important here – do not try to rush this. The best sauces are always made slowly. While this won’t take you too long, it is good to take your time with each step. Most importantly, do not use heat that is too high or you will destroy the sauce.

  1. Saute the onion in butter until it is tender in a large saucepan.
  2. Add garlic and cook for 60 seconds.
  3. Stir in all of the remaining ingredients one at a time, working down the ingredients list. Make sure everything is well blended.
  4. Cook the combined sauce, uncovered, over medium-low for 25 minutes. Check to see if the cherries are tender. Make sure to stir occasionally so that the sauce does not stick.

Now, this recipe isn’t an exact replica of Johnny Trigg BBQ sauce, but it is a taste-alike that you can make in your home. Until Johnny releases his recipe, we may never know.

Johnny Trigg Meat Rub

The Johnny Trigg Meat Rub is one of the most famous recipes, but once again, he hasn’t released it to the public. However, online forums have been working to find the recipe for years. This is the closest we could get:


  • 25 cup kosher salt
  • 25 cup Paprika
  • 25 Brown Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Garlic
  • 3 tbsps Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Red Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Onion Powder

Once again, the better ingredients you use, the better the rub will be. When you make this recipe, you should store it in a dark, cool place if possible. For the best results, you should make it fresh every time you want to have ribs.

Johnny Trigg has some of the best-known ingredients and ribs in the game- and with good reason. However, you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment a little on your own.

You May Also Like: Texas Roadhouse Prime Rib Recipes


Peter's path through the culinary world has taken a number of unexpected turns. After starting out as a waiter at the age of 16, he was inspired to go to culinary school and learn the tricks of the trade. As he delved deeper, however, his career took a sudden turn when a family friend needed someone to help manage his business. Peter now scratches his culinary itch on the internet by blogging, sharing recipes, and socializing with food enthusiasts worldwide.

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