I have had an itch to be at a tropical location. A Caribbean location to be exact. Oh, it is plenty hot here in Atlanta this summer, but I want to be sitting with in a lounge chair listening to the waves crash and some Reggae music in the background. I want to be back in Jamaica. But that is NOT an option at this moment in time.
However, one of the great things about food is that you can use it to transport yourself and your taste buds to just about anywhere you want to go.
And at this moment, I am all about Jamaica, so that is where I intend to go with my culinary creations. Specifically, I want to be transported to this small Island that was at the resort my husband and I stayed at several years ago. Everyday at lunch, the chefs would stand out in huts and grill up FABULOUS barbecue. This was not like the BBQ we have here in the South. It was tangy and sweet–but with a fruity flare that showcased some of the Island’s fruit. Each day, my husband would opt for ribs and I would get the grilled chicken. But for some reason, I was craving ribs, so ribs with a tropical twist were coming right up!
I loaded up the car, headed to Walmart, were I knew I could find a great selection of quality Smithfield ribs (I love Smithfield pork!), along with some new pool noodles for the kids to enjoy at the pool.
First things first: Make the brine. THIS STEP IS NOT TO BE SKIPPED. Brining will ensure that your pork is moist and flavorful. I recommend 24 hours in a brine, but 12 hours is sufficient. I make a simple sugar/salt brine, allow it to cool and submerge my pork directly into the brine.
Once the ribs are brined…it is time to get the sauce made. Homemade barbecue sauce should not intimidate you. It is so easy, can be made in endless varieties, and allows you to control the quality of ingredients–no high fructose corn syrup or modified corn starch in this sauce! This sauce has a tropical twist with the addition of fresh mango and orange juice. I use orange juice concentrate for extra flavor and sweetness, so I can cut down on added sugars. Feel free to add a teaspoon of allspice for a truly authentic Jamaican flare, but that is one flavor I can do without.
Another trick to the perfect ribs, is SLOW ROASTING. Just think about all the BBQ joints that are known for their ribs–they are often smoked for up to 12 hours. I don’t have a smoker, so I opt to slow roast my ribs in the oven. 6 hours seems to be the magic number for me.
Once the ribs are roasted, it is time to #GetUpAndGrill! Grilling the ribs is the best way to caramelize the fat and sauce on the ribs and there is just something about charred meat that screams perfection to me (and of course, I was replicating the resort BBQ, which was grilled as well!)
The best part is that you don’t have to grill these ribs for hours, since they are already cooked through. And in the heat we are having this summer here, that was a very appreciated thing for me!
As the ribs char on the grill, brush the BBQ sauce over the ribs. I let the ribs grill on each side for 5 minutes, then brushed the sauce on and grilled for another 5 minutes per side.
Once the ribs are grilled, allow them to rest to redistribute the juices through the meat.And there you have it–a flavorful tropical twist on ribs. These were loved by EVERYONE in our house. In fact, my husband said they were better then any BBQ joint he had ever had and even better than the ones from Jamaica by far. Now that was a compliment!Be sure you have LOTS of napkins handy with this meal–it is one best eaten outside with people you love and you feel comfortable getting messy with–those are the BEST kind of meals!
- 1 rack of Smithfield® St. Louis Style Pork Spareribs (4-5 pounds)
- For the Brine:
- 12 cups cold water
- ½ cup kosher salt
- ½ cup brown sugar
- For the Mango BBQ Sauce:
- 1 20oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 fresh mango, diced (peeled and pit removed)
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon chipolte chili powder
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- ½ cup orange juice concentrate
- 2 tablespoons molasses or honey
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- Make the brine for the ribs by boiling 2 cups of the water with the salt and sugar. Boil until the salt and sugar dissolve. Add the remaining 10 cups water to solution and allow to cool. Place ribs in large sealable container and pour brine over ribs. Refrigerate for for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Make the BBQ Sauce by pureeing all ingredients in blender.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
- Remove ribs from brine. Pat dry.
- Place ribs into a large roasting pan. Pour about ½ of the BBQ sauce over the ribs. Cover with foil. Bake for 6 hours.
- In the meantime, simmer the remaining BBQ sauce for about an hour to thicken and flavors to combine.
- Remove ribs from oven and preheat grill to medium-heat.
- Place ribs on grill for 5 minutes and then flip. Once flipped, begin basting with BBQ sauce (I placed my sauce right on grill), flipping for a total of 3 times and about 5 minutes per side. The goal of grilling is to caramelize the sauce and char the fat a bit to add intense flavor to the ribs.
- Remove ribs to large cutting board and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- Slice ribs in between bones and serve with remaining BBQ sauce and LOTS of napkins.