Do you love a good pork ribs recipe? I sure do, but instead of going wild wild west with the BBQ sauce, mustard and dry rub, I prefer jam. If you think about it, of course it works. Jam acts as the perfect sticky foil to fall-off-the-bone ribs. When the jam and the pork fat reduce to a sauce, you can drizzle it over accompanying bread rolls to make a bun with some slaw, or just mix it with fried rice like I have. Think marmalade-glazed ribs or cherry jam-glazed ribs. Wouldn’t it taste absolutely fantastic? Taking from this idea, I decided to make a chilli and rum jam using local red chillies and some dark rum (Old Monk is what I used, and you can too).
There are loads of other things this jam is great for. You can thin it out and brush it over wings or spoon them over those cute bite-sized bits of bread and finish with cheese, or better yet, on avo toast if you swing that way. Whatever you choose to do, this jam won’t disappoint. Hell, bring it out at your next party and impress upon your guests the urgency to smush together fries or onion rings with chilli jam and eat. They will understand.
Pair these chilli and rum jammy ribs with fried rice and watch your dinner guests flip for it.
Chilli and Rum Jammy Ribs
You can make this chilli and rum jam well in advance and use it in tons of other recipes. Use spare ribs and not back ribs for this recipe. If you haven't cooked ribs before, this method requires a simple boiling of the ribs till tender, then transferring the ribs to the oven to finish. I've also included alternate cooking instructions if you prefer a longer cooking time in the oven as well as if you're doing it in a pressure cooker.
For The Chilli and Rum Jam:
Olive oil 1/4 cup
Onions 2, finely chopped
Salt 2 pinches
Garlic 4 cloves, chopped
Long Red chillies 2-3 or more if you want to make it spicier, slit lengthwise and chopped fine
Sugar 1/2 cup
Golden syrup 1/3 cup
Apple cider vinegar 1/2 cup
Chilli flakes 1 heaped tbsp
Old Monk Rum or any other dark rum 3/4 cup
Pork spare ribs 1 kilo
Salt 1 1/2 tbsp
Sugar 1 tbsp (optional)
Pepper 1 tsp
Chilli powder 1 tsp
Garlic powder 1 tbsp
Begin by making the jam. In a kadai, heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil and add in the finely chopped onions. Add 2 pinches of salt and over a medium heat, let the onions turn a good golden colour. To this, add the garlic and the chillies and let the flavours combine for a whole minute.
Add in the sugar, the golden syrup, vinegar, the chilli flakes and 1/2 cup out of the 3/th cup of rum. This will bring the temperature of the pan down, so increase the heat to high and bring everything up to a boil, then again turn the heat down to a medium low and let it reduce till the mixture has thickened. This should take about 8-10 minutes. Splash in the leftover rum and take it off. It's going to thicken as it cools.
For the pork, add the spare ribs to a large saucepan and pour in the water till just above the surface of the ribs. Add in the salt, chilli powder, garlic powder and the pepper. Bring this mixture up to a boil and cook the pork ribs in it till fork tender but not falling off the bone, about 45 minutes.
Take the pork out of the water and place it on a cooling rack placed over a lined baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius.
Splash in some of the pork juice into the jam in the kadai to bring it to a glaze-like consistency. Heat the sauce through till thick. Brush the pork ribs with this glaze, cover with aluminium foil and transfer to the oven for a final cooking cycle of an hour. Check for doneness, and take it out of the oven. Serve.
You could alternately rub the ribs with salt, pepper, chilli powder, garlic powder and 1 tbsp of sugar, then brown it in a frying pan till evenly browned on all sides. Then transfer to an oven preheated to 160 degrees celsius and bake for an hour. Cover with foil after the first hour and let it cook for another hour. Towards the end of the cooking cycle, when the ribs are fork tender but not falling off the bone, brush on the jam (heat it to loosen the jam a bit if it's too thick). Put them back in the oven for a final 30 minutes, check for doneness, and serve.
Pressure cooking instructions: Combine the ribs with the salt, sugar, pepper, chilli powder and garlic powder in the cooker with enough water to cover the ribs. Close the cooker and let it cook for about 15-20 minutes. Wait for the pressure to release and check the ribs to see if they are tender. Transfer to the oven, close to the grill with the jam sauce brushed on top for a final cooking cycle of 10-15 minutes, flipping the ribs once. Serve.