Tiki Ribs

prepared by and photo by Emily S. Downs

Sticky, gooey, finger-licking good luau-style ribs. I forgot to add the paper umbrella, but feel free… the cherries and fruit entice the younger ones in the house. After all… who doesn’t want a cherry on top?
While ribs are roasting prep the caramel sauce and coconut rice and possibly a side salad to complete the meal.

recipe from foodandwine.com 

Size: serves 4-6

1 qt distilled white vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 chilies de arbol
2 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 small pineapple, peeled, quartered, cored and sliced crosswise 1/4" thick
1/4 cup cup chopped macadamia nuts
One 3 lb back baby ribs
2 tbsp canola oil
Kosher salt & pepper
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
3 star anise
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
1 mandarin orange (or a small can of mandarin oranges in pear juice, drained)
Maraschino cherries and toasted unsweetened shredded coconut, for garnish (optional)
Coconut rice (see link below for recipe)


PINEAPPLE PICKLES: In large saucepan, combine the vinegar with 1 1/2 cups of water and the sugar, chilies and garlic. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Transfer the pickling liquid to a large heatproof bowl and let cool to lukewarm. Add the pineapple and let cool completely, then cover and chill overnight. (Can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.)

RIBS: Preheat the oven to 375F. Toast the macadamia nuts in a pie plate for 3-5 minutes, until golden. Let cool. Leave the oven on.

Set the ribs on a rack over a rimmed baking sheet and rub them all over with the oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast for 2 hours, until golden brown and very tender. Let cool, then cut the rack into single ribs.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan cook the sugar with 1/4 cup of water over moderate heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Add the cinnamon stick, star anise, fennel seeds and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Cook, without stirring, until a frothy, deep amber caramel forms, 7 minutes. Remove from heat, whisk in the soy sauce and fish sauce. Strain the caramel into a bowl; keep warm.

Using a small, sharp knife, peel the orange, removing any bitter white pith. Working over a bowl, cut between the membranes to release the sections (or just open a small can of mandarin oranges in pear juice, drained).

In a large skillet, combine the ribs with 1 cup of the caramel. Cook over moderately high heat, tossing frequently, until the ribs are well glazed, 6 minutes; adding caramel to coat. Transfer to platter. Garnish with some of the pineapple pickles and the mandarin sections, maraschino cherries, macadamia nuts and shredded coconut and serve with the remaining pineapple pickles.

Serve with coconut rice

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Author: Emily Sarah Downs

Cuisine Coordinator, Tips From Town, Ridgewood, NJ


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