Star chef Danny Bowien coats ribs with a soy-spiked caramel glaze, which makes them savory and sweet. His tiki-style garnishes: shredded coconut, maraschino cherries and, when he has them handy, cocktail umbrellas.
Slideshow: Tiki Cocktail Party
1 quart distilled white vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 chiles de árbol
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small pineapple, peeled, quartered, cored and sliced crosswise 1/4-inch
1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts
One 3-pound rack baby back ribs
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
3 star anise
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
1 mandarin orange
Maraschino cherries, for garnish (optional)
Toasted unsweetened shredded coconut, for garnish (optional)
How to Make It
Step 1 Make the Pineapple Pickles
In a large saucepan, combine the vinegar with 1 1/2 cups of water and the sugar, chiles and garlic. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Transfer the pickling liquid to a large heatproof bowl and let cool to lukewarm. Add the pineapple and let cool completely, then cover and chill overnight.
Step 2 Prepare the Ribs
Preheat the oven to 375°. Toast the macadamia nuts in a pie plate for 5 minutes, until golden. Let cool. Leave the oven on.
Step 3 Prepare the Ribs
Set the ribs on a rack over a rimmed baking sheet and rub them all over with the oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast for 2 hours, until golden brown and very tender. Let cool, then cut the rack into single ribs.
Step 4 Prepare the Ribs
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, cook the sugar with 1/4 cup of water over moderate heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Add the cinnamon stick, star anise, fennel seeds and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Cook, without stirring, until a frothy, deep-amber caramel forms, 7 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the soy sauce and fish sauce. Strain the caramel into a bowl; keep warm.
Step 5 Prepare the Ribs
Using a small, sharp knife, peel the orange, removing any bitter white pith. Working over a bowl, cut between the membranes to release the sections.
Step 6 Prepare the Ribs
In a large skillet, combine the ribs with 1 cup of the caramel. Cook over moderately high heat, tossing frequently, until the ribs are well glazed, 6 minutes; transfer to a platter. Garnish with some of the pineapple pickles and the mandarin sections, maraschino cherries, macadamia nuts and shredded coconut and serve with the remaining pineapple pickles.
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