Baby-Back Pork Ribs Adobo

Filipino Pork Baby-Back Ribs Adobo with sauce

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 - Filipino Baby-Back Ribs Adobo
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

Filipino Rock Salt Asin

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.

Filipino Pork Baby-Back Ribs Adobo in baking dish
Braised baby-back ribs adobo.

To Serve:

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.

Filipino Pork Baby-Back Ribs Adobo
Tagalog 101: Nasaan ang kanin? (Where is the rice?)

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29 Responses to “Baby-Back Pork Ribs Adobo”

  1. Rosa says:

    Oh, that looks terribly good! A scrumptious meal! Pork tastes so fine!



  2. kat says:

    those are to die for!

    last blog post: We have a winner!

  3. [eatingclub] vancouver || js says:

    We just had pork belly adobo a couple of days ago and I haven’t tried adobo with ribs. I love how the ribs end up being “dry,” as in not served in a sauce. It’s always a struggle here because everybody in the house loves their adobo saucy. Maybe pork ribs would be the ideal vehicle for a “drier” adobo, sauce on the side.

    It’s always fascinating to me to see different adobo recipes. This is more suka than toyo: again, I like more suka but everybody else likes it more toyo.

    Those adobo ribs look scrumptious!

  4. snookydoodle says:

    These look so good. I never managed to get yummy ribs. Mine always end up gry and tough. I ll try this recipe next time. Nice photos :-)

    last blog post: Cookie Carnival

  5. peter says:

    This is outstanding…look at the colour contrast! I’ve gotta try me own ribs with Adobo…well done!

    last blog post: Pasta Shells With Fresh Tomatoes & Feta

  6. Life Chef says:

    Oh wow, if those ribs were any juicier my monitor would drip. It’s all I can do not to lick the screen. This is bordering on food porn. Well done, yet again!

  7. outdoor griller says:

    That looks good I have some reicpes with peppercorns and soy sauce but I have never put them together.You dont have to put in the oven you can make a foil pouch twice around to lock in the juices and then grill for about 45 minutes then unwrap then grill for the remainder of the time.There are some good tips and recipes at

  8. Adam says:

    That pork came out perfect! I really like the marinade you used, it looks like it was meant to go those ribs :) And I had no idea you were from the Philippines… very cool

    last blog post: Kapusta for World Food Day

  9. steamy kitchen says:

    love baby backs! i could eat that entire slab myself!

    last blog post: Finalist at Whole Foods Recipe Challenge!

  10. noobcook says:

    omg that looks absolutely fabulous *drooling* I love pork belly and the grilled version looks fantastic with the fats trimmed off =)~

    last blog post: Chatuchak Market Food Series 4: R.S.T Spices

  11. Andie Summerkiss says:

    That looked amazing. I will have to try that very soon since I am still in the Philippines

    last blog post: Oven Toaster Chicken

  12. Amanda says:

    Wow, those look absolutely perfect! Thanks for the recipe, will have to try this. :)

    last blog post: Italian Lasagna (with meat)

  13. grace says:

    i want my baby back baby back baby back baby back ribs…especially if they’re super spicy! :)

  14. RebeccaC says:

    This sounds incredible. And since I’m without a grill, I’m always looking for ways to prepare in the oven. I think we’ll be making this very soon!

    last blog post: Baconfest and the blogroll

  15. Sandie says:

    I saw this photo on Tastespotting (or was it FoodGawker?) and thought, “Yum. That looks delicious,” but was in a rush and didn’t catch who posted it. Imagine my happy surprise when I saw this post in my feed reader and discovered the recipe & photo is yours. Delish!

    last blog post: Falling Head Over Heels In Happy (Recipe: Bacon, Apple & Cheddar Breakfast Panini)

  16. Nate says:

    Oh gosh that looks sooo ono (delicious)

    I haven’t had adobo in ages. I like your pics and idea but I still think belly pork is the way to go.

    Rice bags as emergency breakwater for typhoons LOL. But you don’t eat the rice afterwards, right?

    last blog post: Big List of “Things You Must Eat” Lists

  17. Marvin says:

    I’ve tried this recipe also from the “Memories” cookbook and I love it with the jalapenos. I like your idea of keeping the ribs whole, and then also grilling them. They look fantastic.

    last blog post: Pandora

  18. Andrea says:

    That looks killer! I love your writing style, I love your photographs…I’m adding you to my sidebar right now!

    last blog post: Minty Granita (Granizado de Menta)

  19. Mrs. L says:

    I grew up on my moms pork adobo which I should learn to make. These ribs sounds wonderful, I’ll have to make them for my mom!

    last blog post: Hockey – Center Ice Commercial

  20. Rosa, Kat – Filipinos are all about pork :)

    JS – The original aodobo recipe was actually simmered, but I like ribs better this way because they don’t disintegrate and are easier to slice. So many different variations…

    Snooky – Thanks! Covering it the whole time really helps with the dryness, almost like steaming.

    Peter – Good thing I had some banana leaves around

    LC – It must be the banana leaves :)

    Adam – Born and raised. Still don’t know how I ended up in Chicago.

    Jaden – That’s almost what I did… Almost

    Wiffy – It’s good stuff. Good thing the long cooking time melts the fat away.

    Andie – Ooh I want to be there right now.

    Amanda, Rebecca – Hope you like it!

    Grace – Should’ve added some chiles. How could I forget.

    Sandie – Glad I got to sneak my way into your reader :)

    Nate – Saltwater porridge comes to mind

    Marvin – Too bad I didn’t have jalapenos… This is the lazy version of that recipe.

    Andrea – Thanks! That’s really nice of you.

    L – Hope she likes it. Moms can be very particular with their adobo.

  21. Lynne says:

    I’m having ribs tonight and I wish I had seen your recipe earlier. Will definitely try them next time.

    last blog post: Creme Brulee-Tuesdays with Dorie

  22. Bellini Valli says:

    Thank you so much for contributing this wonderful dish to our World Food Day event. We are so pleased that you wanted to participate:D

  23. Ivy says:

    What a lovely recipe and stunning presentation. Thanks very much for sharing your recipe with our Event.

  24. marguerite says:

    Yum!! I will definitely be trying this!

  25. Вениамин says:

    В очередной раз спасибо, хорошие что есть такие люди как вы, которые дают полезные советы:)

  26. Tyrell Tweedle says:

    We just couldnt leave your website before saying that we really enjoyed the quality information you offer to your visitors… Will be back often to check up on new stuff you post!

  27. Micheal says:

    Ppl like you get all the bianrs. I just get to say thanks for he answer.

  28. jen says:

    I just bought a rack of ribs today – I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  29. Zita says:

    Hello, nice site with very interesting articles.

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