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Sri Lankan BBQ Ribs

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These Sri Lankan BBQ Ribs are tender and delicious! They are marinated, cooked low and slow, then coated in a sweet tomato and mango chutney barbecue sauce. The flavors are subtly smoky and aromatic. While different from traditional North American BBQ ribs, these ribs are equally drool-worthy! 

Sri Lankan BBQ Ribs

About Sri-Lankan Cuisine

Sri Lanka is a country located on the southern tip of India. Their cuisine is similar to other South Asian countries, consisting of various curries and rice. It stands apart in a few ways. Sri-Lankan cuisine contains more coconut and fruits, similar to South Indian cooking. You’ll find flavorful seafood curries in the island’s coastal regions but more meat-based dishes inland, which include chicken, lamb, and pork. This is unique as most South Asian regions do not consume pork, except for a few states bordering China or Goa on the southwestern coast of India and scattered areas in South India.

Living on an island port, Sri Lankans came into contact with new world foods and quickly adopted them into their diet. They made quick use of tomatoes and transformed Portuguese, Dutch, and Southeast Asian dishes to fit the Sri Lankan palate.

Why Ribs?

Our Sri Lankan BBQ Ribs recipe is based on the flavor profiles used to flavor stews and grilled meats but adapted for low and slow-cooked ribs. This recipe requires a short marinating time, a fruit and tomato-based sauce, and 1 rack of pork spare ribs.

Wood Suggestions:

Use a mild fruit wood for these Sri Lankan BBQ Ribs. I recommend apple or peach. For moderate smokiness, use maple or cherry wood. I don’t recommend using mesquite or hickory. They will clash with the flavor profile. 

Sri Lankan BBQ ribs

Ingredients to Make Sri Lankan BBQ Ribs:

  • Pork spare ribs: about 3-3 1/2 pounds 
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Fresh ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Red chiles: whole red chiles. Look for them in a South Asian market or online. 
  • Tomato paste
  • Sweet mango chutney 
  • Dark brown sugar: you can also use jaggery or coconut palm sugar for a more authentic flavor.
  • Soy sauce
  • Unsalted butter
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Granulated garlic
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Cilantro (optional garnish)

Making Sri-Lankan BBQ Ribs:

  • Rehydrate red chilis in hot water for 15 minutes. After they have plumped up, remove chilis, save 2 tablespoons of the water, and discard the rest.
  • Place chilis and the other marinade ingredients into a blender or small food processor, and pulverize the mixture. Add 1-2 tablespoons of the reserved pepper water to the mixture if needed. It should be smooth and have the consistency of a loose paste.
  • Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs.
  • Pat ribs dry with paper towels.
  • Set ribs, bone side down, in a glass baking dish, and apply marinade over the meat portion of ribs.
  • Cover the dish with plastic wrap and place it into the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Making the sauce: 

  • Bring all BBQ sauce ingredients, except butter, to a simmer on the stovetop over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add more water if the sauce is too thick.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 more minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in butter. Cover pot and keep the sauce warm until ready to use. Rewarm over medium heat for 1-2 minutes if needed.
Sri Lankan BBQ Ribs

Grilling Sri Lankan BBQ Ribs:

  • Preheat grill for indirect cooking with a target temperature of 250 degrees F. Have a reliable meat thermometer nearby. You’ll need it!
  • Remove ribs from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before they go on the grill.
  • Place the ribs, bone side down onto the indirect cooking area of the grill.
  • Close the lid, and cook for 3 hours. Monitor your grill temperature throughout the cooking process.
  • After 3 hours, wrap the ribs in foil, and place them back on the grill for 2 hours. Unwrap the ribs, and baste with the chutney sauce every 15 minutes until they reach an internal temperature of 185 degrees F.
  • Remove ribs from the grill and place them onto a large cutting board. Tent with foil and let them rest for 30 minutes. 
  • Carve into individual ribs, garnish with cilantro and serve.
  • Store leftovers in an air tight container in the refrigerator for 4 days.
Sri Lankan BBQ ribs

Sri Lankan BBQ Ribs

5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: grilled ribs, pork ribs, South Asian recipes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Marinating Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 300kcal
Author: Sabrina Baksh

Ingredients

  • 1 rack pork spare ribs about 3-3 1/2 pounds
  • a handful of cilantro, chopped (optional garnish)

Marinade:

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper use less if preferred
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 dried red chilies

BBQ sauce:

  • 1 8-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 cup sweet mango chutney
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup water use more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Instructions

  • Rehydrate red chilis in hot water for 15 minutes. After they have plumped up, remove chilis, save 2 tablespoons of the water, and discard the rest.
    Place chilis and the other marinade ingredients into a blender or small food processor, and pulverize mixture. Add 1-2 tablespoons of the reserved pepper water to the mixture if needed. It should be smooth and have the consistency of a loose paste.
  • Remove membrane from back of ribs
    Pat ribs dry with paper towels.
    Set ribs, bone side down, in a glass baking dish, and apply marinade over meat portion of ribs.
    Cover the dish with plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  • Making the sauce: Bring all BBQ sauce ingredients, except butter, to a simmer on the stove top over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add more water if the sauce is too thick.
    Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 more minutes.
    Remove from heat and stir in butter. Cover pot and keep the sauce warm until ready to use. Rewarm over medium heat for 1-2 minutes if needed.
  • Preheat grill for indirect cooking with a target temperature of 250 degrees F.
    Remove ribs from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before they go on the grill.
    Place the ribs, bone side down onto the indirect cooking area of the grill.
    Close the lid, and cook for 3 hours. Monitor your grill temperature throughout the cooking process.
  • After 3 hours, wrap the ribs in foil, and place back on the grill for 2 hours.
    Unwrap the ribs, and baste with the chutney sauce every 15 minutes until reach an internal temperature of 185 degrees F.
  • Remove ribs from grill and place them onto a large cutting board. Tent with foil and let them rest for 30 minutes.
    Carve into individual ribs, garnish with cilantro, and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 578mg | Potassium: 101mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 90IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg

Want to learn how to make great ribs no matter what kind of equipment you have? Try:

Derrick Riches

I began writing about Barbecue & Grilling in 1997 with one mission, to help the backyard chef have the best experience possible.

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