Yucatan-Style Baby Back Ribs with Spicy Cherry Glaze

This extremely delicious baby-back ribs recipe is courtesy of Ivy Stark, the executive chef for the Dos Caminos restaurants in New York and Florida. It’s succulent ribs cooked Yucatan style: wrapped in banana leaves, covered with spices and orange juice, and baked. The flavor is complex and crave-inducing… these ribs can be kept for days, you’ll have them as excellent leftover.

Yucatan-Style Baby Back Ribs with Spicy Cherry Glaze
Yield: 24 (1/2 rack or 8-10 ounce) portions. Preparation time: 30 minutes plus unattended cooking time. Shelf life: 5 days.

For the ribs:
Banana leaves, available from Latin food suppliers.
2 bunches thyme, chopped
2 bunches oregano, chopped
1 bunch rosemary, chopped
16 ounces sliced shallots
5 ounces sliced garlic
12 bay leaves
2 tablespoons whole allspice
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1/4 cup achiote paste (substitute with annato seeds, or omit entirely)
12 rack baby back ribs, rinsed in cold water and patted dry
10 lemons, sliced
10 limes, sliced
1 1/2 quarts orange juice
Toasted sesame seeds, to garnish

For the Spicy Cherry Glaze:
1 ounce vegetable oil
1 ounce garlic, minced
8 ounces red onion, diced
2 ounces fresh ginger, minced
1 1/2 quarts sour cherries
2 ounces resposado tequila
3 ounces Sriracha hot sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 ounce sherry wine vinegar
4 ounces soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange banana leaves in the bottom of a deep full-size baking pan large enough so the ribs will be completely covered.

2. In a bowl, combine thyme, oregano, rosemary, shallots, garlic, bay leaves, allspice, cumin, coriander and achiote paste. Lay ribs in the pan and distribute seasoning mixture evenly. Add lemons and limes, pour orange juice over the meat, cover pan with foil, seal tightly and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Remove, leave pan covered, and cool the ribs to room temperature.

3. Once cool, transfer ribs to sheet pans and refrigerate for up to 24 hours if not using right away.

4. Prepare the Spicy Cherry Glaze: in a medium-size skillet over medium heat, combine oil, garlic, onion, ginger and cherries and saute until lightly browned. Stir in tequila, hot sauce, sesame oil, sherry wine vinegar and soy sauce and simmer for 15 minutes; season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Generously coat ribs with the glaze. Heat broiler and position the rack about 5 inches from the heat. Broil for 10 minutes to crisp the glaze; sprinkle on sesame seeds and serve immediately.

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