Caribbean Pineapple Baby Back Ribs with Pineapple Barbecue Sauce

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    4

Appears in

Planet Barbecue

Planet Barbecue

By Steven Raichlen

Published 2010

  • About

Barbecue—both the technique of smoke roasting and the word itself—originated in the Caribbean (here you can read how it was done in the sixteenth century) by the Taíno Indians in what is now the Dominican Republic. Columbus managed to miss it (at least he never mentioned it in his journals), but he did encounter several New World ingredients that became staples for the world’s grill masters, among them the chile pepper, allspice, and pineapple. All three come together in a dish of Trinidadian inspiration—baby back ribs glazed and sauced with pineapple. Here’s how my assistant, Nancy Loseke, experienced it on her last trip to the West Indies. Think of these ribs as the apotheosis of spice, smoke, and fruit.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 racks baby back pork ribs (each 2 to 2½ pounds)
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Pineapple Barbecue Sauce

You’ll also Need

  • A clean spray bottle; 2 cups wood chips or chunks, preferably apple or other fruitwood, soaked for 1 hour in water to cover, then drained; 20 whole allspice berries (optional); a rib rack (optional)

Method

Advance Preparation

to 4 hours for curing the meat

  1. Place the salt, brown sugar, pepper, granulated garlic, onion powder, ground allspice, chili powder, and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix them with your fingers, breaking up any lumps.
  2. Remove the thin, papery membrane from the back of each rack of ribs (see photo number 1).
  3. Sprinkle the rub over both sides of the ribs, rubbing it onto the meat. Cover the ribs with plastic wrap and let them cure in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or as long as 4; the longer the ribs cure, the richer the flavor will be.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the pineapple juice, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce in a clean spray bottle and shake to mix.
  5. Set up the grill for indirect grilling, place a drip pan in the center, and preheat the grill to medium. I urge you to get a charcoal grill for smoking. You can use wood on a gas grill, but you just won’t get as pronounced a smoke flavor.
  6. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. If you are using a charcoal grill, toss the wood chips and the allspice berries, if using, on the coals. If you are using a gas grill, add the wood chips or chunks and the allspice berries, if using, to the smoker box or place them in a smoker pouch under the grate (see here). Place the racks of ribs, bone side down, in the center of the grate over the drip pan and away from the heat and cover the grill. (If your grill has limited space, you can use a rib rack to stand the racks of ribs upright.) Cook the ribs for about 45 minutes.
  7. Spray the ribs on both sides with some of the pineapple spray. Cover the grill again and continue cooking the ribs until they are well browned, cooked through, and tender enough to pull apart with your fingers, 30 to 45 minutes longer, 1¼ to 1½ hours in all. When the ribs are done, the meat will have shrunk back from the ends of the bones by about ¼ inch. Spray the ribs once or twice more. If you are using a charcoal grill, you will need to replenish the coals after 1 hour.
  8. Just before serving, brush both sides of the ribs with some of the Pineapple Barbecue Sauce. Move the ribs directly over the fire and grill them until the sauce is sizzling and browned, 1 to 3 minutes per side. Be careful not to let the ribs burn.
  9. Transfer the ribs to a platter or cutting board. Let the ribs rest for 3 minutes, then cut the racks in half or into individual ribs. Serve at once with the remaining Pineapple Barbecue Sauce.

Preparing Baby Backs

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