Mike's Caribbean Spiced Ribs

This is one of our favorite recipes to use for our cooking demos across the country and on cruise ships. Why? Everyone loves them! 

Mikes Caribbean Spiced Ribs. Photo by Frances Janisch for The Fire Island Cookbook 

Mikes Caribbean Spiced Ribs. Photo by Frances Janisch for The Fire Island Cookbook 

Mike’s Caribbean Spiced Ribs

We took several Caribbean trips in order to do our due diligence to the rum trade.  On each we picked up bottles of rum from Duty Free that are not readily available in the States.  We also purchased some extras to serve at our end of the summer party.  Although we fed our guests plenty of appetizers, we could not keep these ribs on the platter as they came sizzling off the grill—our friends were standing around waiting to grab the red-hot pork off of Mike’s tongs. They are steamed first and then finished on the grill, which accounts for their moist interior and crispy exterior.

  • 24 baby back pork ribs
  • 1 pound brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder

In a glass bowl, mix together the brown sugar, salt, and spices. Arrange the ribs in a large glass baking dish or platter, sprinkle the brown sugar and spice mix over the meat, and turn by hand and “pack” the sugar mixture on to coat completely. Place in refrigerator for two to four hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using your oven’s broiler pan with slotted broiler rack, remove broiler rack, add about ½ inch water to bottom of pan, replace slotted top of pan, and arrange ribs on broiler pan. (The water will be below the ribs—they will be sitting on the top of the pan, NOT in the water.) Repack any brown sugar left in the glass pan around the ribs, and roast for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, and allow to cool on the broiler pan. (Remember to hold the pan level while placing into and removing from the oven, so you don’t spill the water.)

Ribs can be rubbed and then steamed early in the day, or even a day or two in advance. If preparing the same day, store on a plate in the refrigerator, or if in advance, refrigerate in an airtight container. If refrigerated, remove to counter for half an hour prior to grilling. Preheat your grill on high, and cook for 1-2 minutes per side. (Place them one at a time on the grill with tongs. When all ribs are on the grill, count to 30, and begin turning the ribs, on at a time, starting with the first one on the grill and going in order. After all your ribs are turned, count to 30 again, and start removing them to a clean platter.

Wine Pairings:


Bellingham Dragon’s Lair, Shiraz Blend, Franschhoek, South Africa:  Blackberry, red cherry, smoke and clove notes are well suited to sweet and spicy Caribbean food.

Kim Crawford Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand: A strawberry and cherry opening is joined by subtle vanilla notes picked up in the barrel.


From THE FIRE ISLAND COOKBOOK Copyright © 2012 by The World Wine Guys, LLC published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.