This recipe is from one of my uncles who loves cooking with alcohol but does not drink. Pretty much every bottle of alcohol he purchases is for the purpose of cooking or baking, not imbibing. But just by looking at this booze cabinet, there’s no way to tell that you could get this man to give you — a perfect stranger — his date of birth, address, social security number, and the name of his first pet with just a pitcher of draught beer. But it’s true.
He’ll probably set aside his usual bashful humility and tell you also what a great, awe-shum *hic*, fantaaaashtic cook *hic* he is. This is true as well. His grilled baby back ribs, fragrant with the quintessential Thai marinade ingredients plus a very faint something-something (hint: it begins with b and ends with ooze), back up that hiccupy claim.
If you don’t have Mekhong, use any dark rum or whisky.
- 2 slabs of meaty baby back ribs, weighing between 2½ to 3 pounds each
- 1 cup dark rum or whisky (tequila works too)
- 6 large cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 teaspoons whole white peppercorns
- 4 cilantro roots or ½ cup chopped cilantro stems
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- ¼ cup oyster sauce
- ⅓ cup grated palm sugar or brown sugar, packed
- 2 cup Thai sweet chili sauce, store-bought or homemade (see notes), for serving
- Cut each baby back rib slab in half for easy handling. Place them in a large mixing bowl.
- Blend the rum, garlic, peppercorns, cilantro roots in a blender until smooth. Pour the mixture over the ribs.
- Add the fish sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar to the ribs. Mix well.
- Cover and chill 5-6 hours to overnight.
- Grill over low coals until juices run clear when pricked with the tip of a knife.
- Cut into individual ribs. Serve with Thai sweet chili sauce.