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Costillitas Trader Vic’s

La Cocina de Christina
March 29, 2015

I always have had a silent respect for all things ribs. Respect for the ribs themselves – never really knowing the difference between pork and beef; not understanding if a dry rub or wet marinade was the best way to go; not doing any research, really, on costillas. All I knew is it would be an impressive dish to make, and when I picked the recipe for Costillitas Trader Vic’s, I was not sure where we were headed.

I can tell you one thing, now that I have made this dish —ribs are easy to make. You must have patience and a good attention to detail, but if you can manage that, you will impress your dinner guests.

Why Trader Vic’s? My research online shows Trader Vic’s was a chain of Polynesian-themed restaurants and bars, one of which opened in Cuba in the Havana Hilton in 1958. It is still open today as Polinesio in the same hotel, now named Habana Libre Hotel. Prior to opening the location in Cuba, Vic, “The Trader” Bergeron, traveled to Cuba to refine his skills as a bartender and explore the subtleties of rums from around the world. You can learn more at TraderVics.com.

Costillitas Trader Vic’s

3 lbs pork loin back ribs (ternilla de lomo de cerdo)

For the sauce:

½ cup soy sauce

½ cup ketchup

3 Tablespoons of light brown sugar

1 Tablespoon of freshly grated ginger

For the marinade:

½ cup of light brown sugar

2 Tablespoons of salt

2 Tablespoons of Liquid Smoke

  1. Mix the ingredients for the marinade the night prior to cooking the ribs and let the ingredients sit in a plastic container overnight.
  2. On the day you will cook the ribs, rub the ribs with the marinade and let them sit in the rub for at least two hours in the fridge.
  3. Remove the ribs from the fridge and brush them generously on both sides with the sauce and let them sit in the sauce for at least an hour in the fridge.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  5. Place the ribs in the oven, fatty side up, on a rack or oven tray with slits, in order to let the grease drip down into another tray that sits in the rack underneath.
  6. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.
  7. Lower the temperature to 350 degrees and cook the ribs at this temperature for another hour.
  8. Reapply the sauce to the ribs every 15 minutes and make sure to flip the ribs each time you reapply the sauce in order to ensure even browning on both sides.

This recipe is for 4 guests. Double and triple the recipe, depending on the number of guests you will host. I hope you have enjoyed the simplicity of this recipe. Email me at lacocinadechristina@gmail.com or share your costillitas stories with us on Facebook at http://facebook.com/lacocinadechristina.