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Jalapeño Jerk Baby Back Ribs

No recipe image available.This recipe has been adapted from BBQ USA by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing). Ribs are considered the ultimate in American barbecue. Tender, sweet and smoky and with a little bite, these baby back ribs take more time to prepare and the ingredient list looks long, but they are worth the effort.

Recipe Ingredients:

4 racks baby back pork ribs, 6 to 8 pounds total
1 quart pineapple juice
1 bunch fresh cilantro, washed and coarsely chopped
4 to 8 jalapeño chiles, thinly sliced *
Rib rack

2 cups pineapple juice
1/2 cup rice vinegar, or cider vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

Dry Jerk Seasoning:
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 to 1 teaspoon habanero chile powder, or cayenne pepper

Cooking Directions:

  1. For Ribs: Remove the thin, papery membrane from the back of each rack of ribs: Turn a rack meat side down. Insert a sharp implement, such as the tip of a meat thermometer, under the membrane (the best place to start is right next to the first rib bone). Using a dishcloth or pliers to gain a secure grip, pull off the membrane. Repeat with the remaining racks.
  2. Place the ribs in a large non-reactive roasting pan. Pour the 1-quart of pineapple juice over them and add the cilantro and jalapeños. Let the ribs marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for 2 to 3 hours.
  3. For Glaze: Place the 2 cups pineapple juice, the vinegar, brown sugar, butter, and black pepper in a heavy saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Let the glaze boil until syrupy and reduced to about 1 cup, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Set the glaze aside.
  4. For Dry Jerk Seasoning: Combine all ingredients; set aside.
  5. Drain the marinade off the ribs and discard the marinade. Blot the ribs dry with paper towels, then sprinkle the jerk seasoning all over them on both sides, patting it onto the meat with your fingertips.
  6. Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium. If using a charcoal grill, place a large drip pan in the center.
  7. When ready to cook, place the ribs, preferably on a rib rack, in the center of the hot grate, over the drip pan and away from the heat. Cover the grill and cook the ribs until tender, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. When the ribs are done, they’ll be handsomely browned and the meat will have shrunk back about 1/4 inch from the ends of the bones. After 45 minutes brush the ribs with the glaze and brush them 2 or 3 more times before serving. If using a charcoal grill, after 1 hour you’ll need to add 12 fresh coals to each side.
  8. Transfer the cooked ribs to a platter or cutting board. Serve them as whole racks or cut the racks into pieces, or carve them into individual ribs. Serve the glaze alongside.

Makes 4 servings for really hungry people or 8 servings for folks with average appetites.

*Wear plastic gloves when handling hot peppers.

Nutritional Information Per Serving (1/4 of recipe): Calories: 739 calories; Protein: 38 grams; Fat: 20 grams; Sodium: 444 milligrams; Cholesterol: 77 milligrams; Saturated Fat: 4 grams; Carbohydrates: 14 grams; Fiber: 2 grams.

Recipe adapted from BBQ USA by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing). Recipe and photograph provided courtesy of National Pork Board.