Thai Coconut BBQ Ribs

4.8 from 4 reviews

Barbecued baby back pork ribs with tantalizing Thai flavors. A great recipe for entertaining. Ribs are steamed and then marinated overnight so you can just throw them on the grill before serving. Grilling browns them and sears in the delicious flavors of the marinade.

Adapted from a recipe in Bon Appetit


  • 2 racks of baby back pork ribs, cut into individual ribs
  • 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk (shake can before opening)
  • 1/2 cup roughly-chopped cilantro, packed (stems included)
  • 1/2 cup, packed, brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup roughly-chopped shallots
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons roughly-chopped garlic (4-5 large cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons roughly-chopped ginger root
  • 2 stalks lemon grass, ends trimmed, tough outer layers peeled off, roughly chopped
  • 1 large jalapeño pepper or two small, seeds and membranes removed, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Pre-cook the ribs:
    • Stove-top steaming Method: If you have a stovetop steamer, bring water to a boil under the steamer rack. Add ribs to steamer basket, cover and steam for 20 minutes. Uncover ribs and let them cool for 15 minutes or so.
    • Oven-steaming Method: Preheat oven to 325ºF and set an oven rack in the center position. Line a large glass baking pan with foil. Arrange the ribs in the pan, curved side up, with a little space between them so they steam evenly. (you may need two pans to fit them all). Pour 1 1/2 cups water into the foil-lined pan. Cover the pan tightly with another sheet of foil. Steam the ribs for 1 hour, uncover ribs and let them cool at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Make the BBQ sauce/marinade: While the ribs are steaming and then cooling, put the rest of the ingredients into a blender or food processor and process for 30 seconds to a minute, until smooth.
  3. Marinate The Ribs Overnight: When the ribs are cool, put them in a large plastic container or non-reactive (glass) baking pan, pour the marinade on top and toss to coat. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
  4. Grill: Preheat the grill to medium-high. Remove the ribs from the marinade and transfer the remaining marinade to a small saucepan, bring it to a boil, and transfer it to a serving bowl or gravy boat. Grill the ribs for 8 minutes or so, turning them a couple of times, until they're heated through and golden brown.
  5. Serve the ribs with coconut barbecue sauce on the side.

Keywords: grilled pork ribs with coconut bbq sauce, Thai grilled baby back ribs