Grilled Mekhong Baby Back Ribs with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce (ซี่โครงหมูแช่เหล้าย่างกับน้ำจิ้มไก่)

Grilled Baby Back Ribs with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
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.

Grilled Mekhong Baby Back Ribs with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce (ซี่โครงหมูแช่เหล้าย่างกับน้ำจิ้มไก่)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Thai
Serves: 4-6
  • 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
  1. Cut each baby back rib slab in half for easy handling. Place them in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Blend the rum, garlic, peppercorns, cilantro roots in a blender until smooth. Pour the mixture over the ribs.
  3. Add the fish sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar to the ribs. Mix well.
  4. Cover and chill 5-6 hours to overnight.
  5. Grill over low coals until juices run clear when pricked with the tip of a knife.
  6. Cut into individual ribs. Serve with Thai sweet chili sauce.
How to make Thai sweet chili sauce:


9 Responses to Grilled Mekhong Baby Back Ribs with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce (ซี่โครงหมูแช่เหล้าย่างกับน้ำจิ้มไก่)

  1. Rick August 7, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

    So that is 1 cup of dark rum for me and how much for the ribs…
    Looks good, will have to give this a try.

  2. Dorrie - Spaces and Spices August 8, 2013 at 12:04 am #

    I’ll try this one – I’m a rib addict.

    Just a note that Mekhong is no longer available in Thailand.

  3. Joel August 8, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    “If you don’t have Mekhong, use any dark rum or whisky.”

    Ha! This gave me a good laugh. Unless I’m completely misremembering the several small bottles of Mekhong I consumed in my year in Thailand (I was young and poor), Mekhong tastes like I’d imagine kerosene tastes. If you don’t live in Thailand, there’s no reason to have it, unless you’re into nostalgia.

    On the other hand, cooking booze is frequently unpalatable. I bet this is a really good use for Mekhong. Probably only a really strong flavor like that is going to be distinguishable in such a flavorful dish.

  4. Meeks August 8, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

    What a delicious recipe!

  5. August 15, 2013 at 2:02 am #

    Surprised there is nothing sour in this recipe, i.e. Tamarind?

    • Leela August 15, 2013 at 7:31 am #

      Templeofthai – Why is that surprising?

  6. Nick August 15, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

    Looks great! We usually slow cook the ribs in foil in the oven at 275 for several hours to tenderize the meat. Then we finish them on the grill. Maybe we’ll have some your way this weekend!

    • Leela August 16, 2013 at 10:11 am #

      Nick – I don’t find that baby back ribs need to be cooked for several hours. Spare ribs, on the other hand…

  7. Joana June 7, 2014 at 7:48 am #

    Living in an apartment with no bbq, I did try this recipe in the oven, with spare ribs. Only had about half a cup of rum left in the bottle, so I added what I had on hand: another half cup of… pineapple juice.
    It only took one hour at about 140 celsius, no foil, and turned out awesome, meat almost candied.
    It’s one of the things I love about the recipes on this site: every time I can I follow them by the letter, but when I have had to make twists our substitutions, though it definitely turns out quite different from the original, it never disappoints!