It's summertime, and that means the barbecue season is in full form! Baby back ribs are a beloved summer tradition for many and a little intimidating for some. We'll guide you through preparing tender and succulent Baby Back Ribs with Tamarind Glaze. Braised in a fragrant mixture of spices and citrus and then glazed and caramelized on the grill, these ribs are sure to be bold, sticky, and coveted. The sweet, tart and sour tamarind glaze is a unique and flavorful way to coat the pork and enjoy it at a summer pool party.
This preparation requires a Dutch oven and a side burner, like the Encore Power Burner, to braise and tenderize the ribs. The racks of ribs are simmered in a mixture of orange, apple juice, ginger, salt, brown sugar, and habanero chiles until the meat is tender to the fork. With the ribs removed, the remaining mixture is reduced on high heat to form a glaze with the addition of apple cider vinegar, honey, tamarind concentrate, and more chiles. When ready to eat, divide the ribs into two-rib sections for easy serving, dip in the glaze, and grill over medium heat to char and caramelize. These ribs finish gorgeous and bold and are served with crisp and refreshing cucumber, onion, and cilantro salad.
For a summer of fun and plenty of cookouts, use this braising and grilling method with different ingredients to enjoy tender and savory ribs throughout the summer. Whether for Father’s Day, July 4th, or just because they’re so good, Baby Back Ribs with Tamarind Glaze is sure to become a summer grilling favorite!
Baby Back Ribs with Tamarind Glaze Ingredients
- 2 racks baby back pork ribs (3½–4 pounds total), halved crosswise
- 5 ounces ginger, peeled, chopped
- 1 orange wedge (about ⅛ of orange)
- 5 pods of star anise
- 2½ cups unfiltered apple juice
- 1 tablespoon Diamond Crystal or 2 teaspoons Morton kosher salt
- 6 habanero chiles, halved lengthwise, seeds removed if desired, divided
- ¼ cup plus ⅓ (lightly packed) light brown sugar
- ½ cup ketchup
- ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup tamarind concentrate
- 3 tablespoons honey
Note: Often labeled “concentrate cooking tamarind” or “paste,” tamarind concentrate can be found at Asian markets and online.
Salad and Assembly
- Vegetable oil (for the grill)
- Kosher salt
- 1 Persian cucumber, thinly sliced
- ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
- ½ serrano chile, very thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- Micro cilantro and/or cilantro sprigs and lime wedges (for serving)
Baby Back Ribs with Tamarind Glaze Directions
- Place ribs in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot. Add ginger, orange wedge, star anise, apple juice, salt, half of the chiles, and ¼ cup brown sugar. Pour in water just to cover pork and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat, so liquid is at a very gentle simmer, partially cover the pot, and braise, turning racks a few times until the meat is fork-tender and nearly (but not entirely) falling off the bones, 1½–2 hours. Chop remaining chiles while ribs are cooking and set aside.
- Carefully transfer ribs to a rimmed baking sheet and let cool. Cut between ribs to create 2-rib pieces.
- Meanwhile, crank up the heat under the Dutch oven to high and add ketchup, vinegar, tamarind concentrate, honey, remaining ⅓ cup brown sugar, and reserved chopped chiles to braising liquid. Cook, often stirring, until glaze is thick enough to coat a spoon (it should be reduced to 1–1½ cups), 30–45 minutes. Strain into a large measuring cup; discard solids. Let settle, so oil rises to the surface. Pour off oil into a small bowl; set aside.
Do Ahead: Ribs can be braised 1 day ahead. Let cool in liquid; cover and chill.
Salad and Assembly
- Prepare a grill for medium heat; oil grate. Working one at a time, dip ribs into the glaze to coat. Grill ribs, turning several times, until glaze is lightly charred, about 5 minutes total. Transfer ribs to a platter; season with salt. Drizzle with remaining glaze and reserved oil.
- Toss cucumber, onion, chile, and lime juice in a medium bowl to combine; season with salt. Scatter salad over ribs and top with micro cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.