Caribbean barbacoa is the grass roots of all barbecue cooking! Barbacoa is a method of cooking that was used by Arawak and Caribe Native Caribbean tribes long before the Europeans arrived. Game birds and fish were marinated with hot chile peppers, fruit and local spices before being cooked over an open flame. The original barbacoa was not only tasty, it was a method of preserving food in a hot tropical climate.
After the Europeans introduced many old world food items, mangos and sugar were added to the Caribbean barbacoa recipe. The result was a barbecue flavor that was lip smacking good!
A good Mango Barbacoa Sauce recipe should really only include ingredients that were available during the age of Caribbean piracy and colonialism. Anything else would be out of place.
Mango Barbacoa Sauce:
This recipe yields about 3 1/4 cups. (Enough for 1 rack of spare ribs.)
Step 1: Place 1/3 cup of minced onion in a large stainless steel sauce pot.
Add 4 minced green onions.
Add 1/3 cup of finely chopped green bell pepper.
Add 1/3 cup of finely chopped red bell pepper.
Step 2: Add 1 tablespoon of minced garlic.
Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of minced ginger.
Add 1 minced Scotch Bonnet Pepper (or 1 minced habanero pepper).
Add 1 finely chopped large green jalapeño.
Step 3: Add 1/4 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of coarse ground black pepper.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt. (to taste)
Step 4: Add 1 1/4 cups of very finely chopped peeled ripe mango.
Add 3 tablespoons of brown sugar.
Add 1/4 cup of granulated sugar.
Add 3 1/2 cups of water.
Add 1/3 cup of cider vinegar.
Add 3 tablespoons of lime juice.
Step 5: Place the sauce pot over medium heat.
Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
Step 6: Reduce the temperature to low heat.
Slowly simmer and reduce till the sauce is a medium thin glaze consistency that can coat a spoon.
Step 7: Taste the sauce. Add a splash of cider vinegar if the sauce tastes too sweet.
Step 8: Chill the sauce in a refrigerator for 2 hours, so the flavors meld.
Warm the sauce to room temperature before using.
Caribbean Dry Spice Seasoning Rub:
This recipe yields enough for 1 full rack of spare ribs.
Place 2 teaspoons of turmeric in a small bowl.
Add 2 tablespoons of yellow curry powder.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of allspice.
Add 1 teaspoon of coarse ground black pepper.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of sea salt.
Add 1 tablespoon of fine ground raw sugar. (piloncillo)
Mix the spices together.
Slow Roasted Caribbean Spice Spare Rib Preparation:
This recipe yields 1 rack of spare ribs.
A meat smoker can be used instead of an oven. Set the smoker to 275ºF and set the vent to a thin wisp of smoke.
Step 1: Sprinkle a generous amount of the Caribbean Dry Spice Mix on 1 full rack of spare ribs.
Rub the spices onto the meat.
Refrigerate the ribs for 2 hours, so the spice flavors penetrate the meat.
Step 2: Place the ribs on a roasting pan.
Slow roast in a 275ºF oven till the rib meat is tender. (Roast till the rib meat pulls back from the ends of the bones. The meat should not be so tender that it falls off of the bones!)
Set the prepared roasted dry rub ribs aside or chill them for later use.
Mango Barbacoa Spare Ribs:
This recipe yields 1 rack of ribs that is cut into portions.
Step 1: Heat a chargrill to a medium heat range. (For the indoor method, heat a broiler to a moderate temperature.)
Step 2: Cut the full rack of ribs into sections of 3 to 5 bones apiece.
Brush a thin coat of the Mango Barbacoa Sauce on both sides of the prepared dry rub roasted spare ribs.
Chargrill the ribs over moderate heat till the sauce starts to cling to the ribs.
Continue brushing the ribs with sauce and flip the ribs occasionally.
When the ribs are thoroughly glazed and the sauce starts to caramelize, then the ribs are ready.
Step 3: Keep the ribs warm over a low temperature spot on the chargrill.
Brush the ribs with sauce one last time before serving.
Shoestring Yam Fries:
This recipe yields 3 to 4 portions.
Step 1: Cut a large peeled sweet potato into 1/8" thick slices.
Cut the sweet potato slices into 1/8" thick strips. (julienne)
Step 2: Heat 6" of vegetable frying oil to 360ºF in a high sided pot.
Fry small batches of the julienne sweet potato till they are crispy golden brown.
Step 3: Use a fryer net to place the Shoestring Yam Fries on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan to drain off any excess oil.
Lightly season with sea salt.
Keep the Shoestring Yam Fries warm on a stove top.
Poppy Seed Honey Buttermilk Cole Slaw:
This recipe yields 4 portions.
Step 1: Place 5 cups of very thin sliced cabbage in a mixing bowl.
Add 2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion.
Add about 1/4 cup of julienne carrot strips for color.
Step 2: Add 3 tablespoons of honey.
Add 1 cup of buttermilk.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of poppy seeds.
Add sea salt and black pepper to taste. (2 to 3 pinches)
Step 3: Mix the ingredients together.
Place the slaw in a container.
Chill to 41ºF in a refrigerator.
Step 4: Toss the ingredients together.
Drain off any excess liquid before serving.
Mango Barbacoa Spare Ribs ~ Shoestring Yam Fries & Honey Poppy Seed Buttermilk Cole Slaw:
This recipe describes 1 entrée platter presentation.
Step 1: Set a finished spare rib rack section on a cutting board.
Slice between the bones about 3/4 the length of the bones, so the ribs are still barely attached together on the thick end.
Step 2: Place the Mango Barbacoa Spare Rib rack section on a platter.
Place a portion of Shoestring Yam Fries on a bed of radicchio leaves on the platter.
Place a portion of cole slaw in a large ramekin and set it on platter.
Garnish the platter with pickles of your choice.
Succulent moist ribs with a spicy hot Mango Barbacoa Sauce is a tough combination to beat. This is some tasty Caribbean style summer holiday food! Yah Mon!