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Sweet Chili and Root Beer Baby Back Ribs

Lisa Romerein

Servings: six to eight.

A sticky, sweet, and spicy root beer glaze makes these grilled baby backs finger-licking-good. You can find kecap manis and the two chili sauces called for here at an Asian market or in a well-stocked supermarket.


  • 2 racks baby back pork ribs (about 5 lb. total), silverskin removed
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 1/4 cup root beer
  • 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce, preferably Mae Ploy brand
  • 2 Tbs. hot chili sauce, preferably Sriracha

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 510
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 290
  • Fat (g): 33
  • Saturated Fat (g): 12
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 14
  • Cholesterol (mg): 130
  • Sodium (mg): 770
  • Carbohydrates (g): 16
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 36


  • Let the ribs sit at room temperature for about 1 hour.

    Meanwhile, prepare a gas or charcoal grill fire for indirect cooking over low (300°F) heat. Lightly oil the grill grates.

    Sprinkle the meat side of the ribs with 2 tsp. salt. Arrange the ribs bone side down in a single layer over the cool zone of the grill. Close the lid and cook the ribs until tender, about 2 hours. To test if they’re done, insert a knife into the rib meat—if it slides out without pulling at the meat, they’re ready. The meat should be tender but not falling off the bone. Remove the ribs from the grill and transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet lined with foil.

    Increase the temperature of the indirect grill fire to 350°F. In a medium bowl, mix the kecap manis, root beer, and both chili sauces. Set aside 1/2 cup of the sauce for serving. Brush the ribs on all sides with the remaining sauce. Return the ribs to the cool zone of the grill and cook, turning once, until nicely lacquered, about 15 minutes total.

    Let the ribs rest, tented with foil, for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving with the reserved sauce for dipping or for drizzling over the ribs.

Serve with Grilled Corn with Spiced Tasso Butter and a Strawberries and Cream Semifreddo for dessert.  

Check out the Test Kitchen Blog for tips on how to use up a bottle of kecap manis.


Rate or Review

Reviews (10 reviews)

  • Krispie | 05/23/2014

    This was delicious made exactly as the recipe is written.

  • Npuff | 06/29/2013


  • cdwilliams | 08/20/2012

    Very good but sauce was quite thin and did not really cling to the meat to finish. Maybe next time the sauce should be reduced?

  • User avater
    capsaiCyn | 07/28/2012

    We had to hunt around for the ingredients, but oh my goodness were these delicious! And easy! We live in an apartment and can't have a grill, so I recreated the recipe in the oven and these were just perfect. We'll make these again and again - they even do well for lunch the next day!

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