The pork adobo of choice in our quaint little household in Quezon City was made with liempo, the cut also known as pork belly, source of wonderful things such as bacon and high blood pressure. Unabashedly lardy from slowly simmering pork in soy sauce and vinegar, pork adobo requires ungodly amounts of steamed rice, lest my menacing older brothers pilfer my share and make me wait for the next batch.
Adobo is always served with rice and it’s unimaginable to have it any other way. We get nervous when our rice supply dwindles so we always kept several 50-kilogram sacks in the kitchen. Having all of those rice sacks on hand seemed to serve a dual purpose — sustenance, first and foremost, and breakwater for typhoons, in case of emergency.
Countless meals of thick-cut pork belly with a meat-to-fat ratio of 1:1 defined my childhood but it doesn’t sound as good an idea now as it was back then. Baby-back ribs adobo is not diet food by any means, but this recipe improves the ratio to, oh I don’t know, 3:1. Braising collagen-rich ribs produces a lip-smacking sauce like no other cut and it goes great with, you guessed it, steamed white rice.
World Food Day hosted by More than Burnt Toast
recipe adapted from Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan’s Memories of Philippine Kitchens
Pork Baby-Back Ribs Adobo
Adobong Tadyang ng Baboy
makes 4 to 6 servings
For the Marinade:
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons rock or kosher salt
3 bay leaves
12 whole garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
whole fresh chiles, to taste (optional)
1 side baby-back ribs, about 2 pounds
- Keep the baby-back ribs whole and let it cool completely in the braising liquid, preferably refrigerated overnight, before grilling or broiling to serve. It may seem unnecessary but it does make a big difference in improving the taste and texture of this adobo.
Mix all of the marinade ingredients in a 9×13-inch baking dish. Add the baby-back ribs and turn in the marinade to coat. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 250ºF / 121ºC. Pour enough boiling water in the baking dish such that the ribs are halfway immersed in liquid. Cover the baking dish tightly with the aluminum foil. Braise the baby-back ribs in the oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone.
If serving the next day, let cool to room temperature in the braising liquid while uncovered before storing in the refrigerator.
Braised baby-back ribs adobo.
Prepare a grill or preheat a broiler. Slice the baby-back ribs into 1 or 2-rib portions. Grill or broil until browned on both sides and thoroughly heated through, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Strain the braising liquid to remove the whole peppercorns and bay leaves. Heat the sauce over high heat and reduce until slightly thickened. Pour over the grilled or broiled baby-back ribs and serve with rice.
Tagalog 101: Nasaan ang kanin? (Where is the rice?)