RecipesCooking Techniques

Rum-and-Guava-Glazed Spareribs

Rum-and-Guava-Glazed Spareribs

Brined in a citrusy sugar solution, smothered in sofrito, and slow-cooked, these ultra-tender ribs are glazed in a fruity, rum-spiked barbecue sauce.


  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups kosher salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 3 limes, juiced (hulls reserved)
  • 2 oranges, juiced (hulls reserved)
  • 12 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 6 cups ice cubes
  • 2 (2 1/2-pound) slabs pork spareribs, membranes removed
  • 2 teaspoons adobo seasoning
  • Pecan wood chunks
Sofrito and Chickpea Salad
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems, plus leaves for garnish
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced red onion, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Barbecue Sauce
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dill pickles
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2/3 cup thawed frozen guava puree
  • 1/3 cup (3 ounces) aged rum
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Maggi seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Brine and season the ribs
  1. Combine 8 cups water, salt, sugar, vinegar, citrus juices and hulls, and garlic in a 12-quart stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium-high; cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add ice; stir until melted. Add ribs to cooled brine, ensuring ribs are fully submerged. Cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours or up to 36 hours.
  2. Remove ribs from brine; discard brine. Pat ribs dry, and sprinkle evenly with adobo seasoning. Set aside.
Make the sofrito and chickpea salad
  1. Process cilantro, red onion, bell pepper, garlic, 3 tablespoons oil, 2 teaspoons salt, and black pepper in a food processor until sofrito is smooth, about 30 seconds. Whisk together 2 tablespoons sofrito, vinegar, remaining 1/4 cup oil, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; stir in chickpeas. Chill, covered, until ready to serve. Rub remaining sofrito evenly over ribs; let stand, uncovered, while preheating grill.

Smoke the ribs
  1. Open bottom vent of a charcoal grill completely. Light charcoal chimney starter filled with charcoal. When charcoal is covered with gray ash, pour onto bottom grate of grill, and push to one side of grill; scatter three to four pecan wood chunks over hot coals. Cover grill, adjusting vents as needed to maintain a grill temperature of 250°F to 275°F. Place ribs, meat side up, on lightly oiled grate over side without coals. Cover grill, and smoke ribs until surface has begun to dry, about 45 minutes.
  2. Wrap each slab of ribs separately in a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Set rib packets, meat side up, on grill over side without coals. Grill, covered, at 250°F to 275°F until meat is tender but not falling off the bone, 2 hours to 2 hours and 30 minutes. Remove ribs from grill; reserve 2/3 cup drippings from foil packets for barbecue sauce.
Make the guava glaze
  1. While ribs smoke, make the barbecue sauce: Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low. Add yellow onion, pickles, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Add guava puree; cook, stirring often, until puree thickens and deepens in color, about 3 minutes. Add rum; cook, stirring occasionally, 1 minute. Stir in ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, Maggi seasoning, salt, and black pepper. Reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and set aside.
  2. Add additional charcoal and wood chunks to grill to increase temperature to 450°F. Stir reserved 2/3 cup rib drippings into barbecue sauce. Brush ribs all over with 1 cup barbecue sauce. Place ribs on oiled grate, and grill, uncovered, until slightly charred, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer ribs to a cutting board; brush with 1/4 cup barbecue sauce. Cut into individual ribs; serve with chickpea salad and remaining sauce. Garnish with cilantro and red onion.

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