Guava-Glazed Baby Back Ribs

Great ribs take time to cook to that just-right state where they are tender, juicy, and infused with smoke. This recipe delivers on that premise, with a Hawaiian-inspired guava jelly glaze enhancing the tender meat for a perfect finish. You can use guava wood, of course, but any fruitwood works well.

For more island-inspired recipes, be sure to check out our Flavors of Aloha Cookbook.

Serves 6-8

Ribs

2 racks baby back ribs, about 3 lbs.(1.4kg) each
3 tbsp. light brown sugar
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. granulated onion
1 tsp. granulated garlic
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 large handfuls guava, apple, or cherry wood chips, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes and drained

Instructions:

  • Slip a small, sharp knife underneath the membrane at one corner of a rack of ribs. Grab the loosened membrane with a paper towel and pull to strip it off the rack; repeat as needed until the membrane is removed. Repeat with the second rack. Cut each rack into 2 or 3 slabs.
  • Mix the brown sugar, salt, ginger, granulated onion and garlic, black pepper, and cayenne pepper together with your fingertips in a small bowl. Rub the mixture all over the ribs. Let stand at room temperature while preparing the grill.
  • Prepare an outdoor grill for indirect cooking with low heat. For a charcoal grill, scatter half of the chips over the coals. For a gas grill, preheat the grill on high. Turn one burner off and adjust the heat on the other burner to 350°F (180°C). Place half of the chips in the grill smoker box or on a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil placed directly on the heat source (you may have to remove the grill grate). Let the wood burn until it smokes.
  • Brush the grill grate clean. Place the ribs on the cool side of the grill. Cook the ribs, with the lid closed, for 1 hour. Add the remaining chips to the grill. Cook, with the lid closed, until the meat has shrunk at least 1/4" (6mm) from the bone ends and the meat is so tender that it tears easily when a rack is bent in half, for about 3 hours. (For a charcoal grill, add 12 briquettes to the coals about every 45 minutes to maintain the heat. You may need to leave the lid ajar for a few minutes to allow enough oxygen into the grill for the briquettes to ignite and turn gray around the edges.)
  • Brush the tops of the ribs with some of the glaze. Cook, with the lid closed, until the glaze sets, for about 5 minutes. Turn the ribs and repeat.
  • Transfer the ribs to a chopping board and let stand for 3 to 5 minutes. Cut between the bones and serve hot with any remaining glaze.

Mango Guave BBQ Sauce

1 cup (335g) guava jelly or pineapple or apricot preserves
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. spicy brown or Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp. peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. Sriracha sauce

Instructions:

  • Whisk the ingredients together in a medium non-reactive saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer to reduce slightly, for about 5 minutes.
  • Transfer the glaze to a bowl and let cool completely.
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