Saucy & Spicy Pork Adobo Ribs

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As many of my readers know, pork adobo is one of the dishes most closely associated with Filipino cuisine. The blend of sourness from vinegar and richness from soy sauce transforms simple ingredients into something truly greater than the sum of its parts. However, I’m always on the lookout for putting new spins on classics. My recent experiment turning pork ribs into adobo -hence pork adobo ribs has everyone in my household asking for more!

This cross between pork adobo and ribs lets you sauté first to sear in savory umami before a quick simmer makes it tender and tantalizing. 

The key to keeping ribs juicy instead of jerky lies in a quick initial singe using sizzling heat. Proper “sangkutsa,” as they say in Tagalog, means searing each side of the meat using scorching heat. This caramelizes the outside while locking in juices before a longer cook. Sangkutsa is not just a cooking step; it’s a love letter to your meat. Sangkutsa creates a golden-brown crust that locks in all the juicy goodness. This technique is crucial, as it ensures your ribs are not just flavorful but also tender and moist. I like to use a thick pan for this a cast iron skillet indoors works too. Working in batches, I browned each side until lightly charred.

Next up, the aromatic allies – onion, garlic, and laurel leaves lend layers of flavor as they mingle with meat. Browning them briefly blooms their potentials. Ground black pepper adds just a hint of heat alongside major umami from soy and vinegar. Here’s where things get spicy – quartering 2 Thai chilies and simmering them whole infuses a gradual burn. Even chili haters agree this level of heat is crave-worthy, not overwhelming. Then comes the secret weapon – Sprite! Its tanginess provides brightness against the rich ribs. Together they form a deeply complex and crave-able combination.

If you’re not in the Philippines, I guess you can use  Dr Pepper instead of Sprite. Its sweeter spices flatter the saltiness and impart vibrant variant vibes. Feel free to swap whatever soda catches your fancy. Experimentation is how recipes evolve into your own. You could also add cubed potatoes or sweet potatoes during simmer for extra veggie volume.

Simmering everything braise-style allows flavors to fully meld while collagen melts ribs fall-off-the-bone tender. Using a lid traps fragrance and steam, shortening cooktime. Once most of the braising liquid is gone, the cook is almost done. I like checking periodically for doneness by easily twisting individual ribs. if they slip right out, it’s dinnertime! Garnish with remaining Thai chilies and spring onions for a pop of color and zing. Their spicy spark makes each piquant bite more playful and intriguing for a bold Filipino flavor.

These aromatic adobo ribs are sure to become your new cozy classic. Easy ingredients, short active time yet big flavor means stress-free suppers for the family.  Sign up for my newsletter below to get weekly easy family meal inspo straight to your inbox. Now go feed your crew – they’ll be begging for seconds of these ribs!

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