Savoring Aloha: Unveiling the Charms of Hawaiian BBQ Spare Ribs

Savoring Aloha: Unveiling the Charms of Hawaiian BBQ Spare Ribs

When it comes to culinary journeys, few destinations captivate the senses like Hawaii. The mesmerizing blend of vibrant culture and stunning landscapes is reflected in its cuisine, and one dish that embodies this spirit is the renowned Hawaiian BBQ Spare Ribs. Join us as we delve into the history, popularity, healthful ingredients, and enticing flavors that make this recipe a timeless favorite.

History and Popularity

Hawaiian BBQ Spare Ribs have a storied past that intertwines with the rich tapestry of the Hawaiian Islands. This dish draws inspiration from the island’s diverse immigrant communities, each contributing their culinary traditions to create a harmonious fusion of flavors. Over the years, these ribs have become synonymous with gatherings and celebrations, from casual backyard barbecues to elaborate luaus. Their popularity transcends generations and cultures, making them a cherished staple on tables across the islands and beyond.

Common Ingredients

At the heart of this recipe is the star ingredient: pork spare ribs. These succulent cuts of meat are marinated to perfection, infusing them with a symphony of flavors. A combination of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper forms a fragrant rub that tenderizes the meat and creates a savory foundation. The marinade, a tantalizing blend of pineapple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, garlic, and ginger, imbues the ribs with a tropical sweetness and depth.

Hawaiian BBQ Spare Ribs Recipe

Discover the ultimate Hawaiian BBQ experience with our mouthwatering Spare Ribs recipe. These succulent ribs are marinated, grilled to perfection, and slathered in a rich, smoky-sweet sauce that captures the essence of island flavors.
Course Meats
Cuisine Hawaiian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Servings 4
Author N. Jay Sorensen, MBA RDN


  • For the Ribs:
  • 2 racks of pork spare ribs about 4-5 pounds
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • For the Marinade:
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • For the BBQ Sauce:
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke optional, for extra smokiness
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  • Prepare the Ribs: In a small bowl, mix the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper. Rub this mixture evenly over both sides of the spare ribs. Place the ribs in a large resealable plastic bag.
  • Create the Marinade: In a bowl, whisk together the pineapple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, minced garlic, and ground ginger. Pour the marinade over the ribs in the bag, ensuring they are well-coated. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or ideally overnight.
  • Prep the BBQ Sauce: In another bowl, combine ketchup, brown sugar, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, and liquid smoke (if using). Season with salt and black pepper. This will be your smoky-sweet BBQ sauce.
  • Grill the Ribs: Preheat your grill to medium heat. Remove the ribs from the marinade and let excess drip off. Grill the ribs, bone side down, for about 1.5 to 2 hours, turning occasionally for even cooking.
  • Apply BBQ Sauce: During the last 15-20 minutes of cooking, brush the ribs generously with the prepared BBQ sauce, turning and basting frequently. This will create a luscious glaze.
  • Serve and Enjoy: Once the ribs are tender and the sauce has caramelized, remove them from the grill. Let them rest for a few minutes before cutting into individual ribs. Serve with extra BBQ sauce on the side and relish the delectable taste of Hawaiian BBQ Spare Ribs.


Recipe Tips:
Marinating Magic: Longer marinating time enhances flavor. Overnight marination is highly recommended.
Grill Mastery: Maintain medium heat to prevent burning and ensure even cooking.
Sauce Sensation: Baste frequently for that irresistible sticky-sweet glaze.
Serving Delight: Pair with grilled pineapple slices and coleslaw for a complete Hawaiian feast.

Nutrition and Health Benefits

Embracing a health-conscious lifestyle doesn’t mean sacrificing indulgence. Hawaiian BBQ Spare Ribs strike a balance between flavor and nutrition. The pineapple juice contributes a dose of vitamin C and manganese, while the lean pork provides protein essential for muscle health. The marinade’s inclusion of garlic and ginger offers potential immune-boosting benefits, rounding out the dish with a healthful touch.

Serving Ideas: Embrace the true spirit of Hawaii by serving these succulent ribs alongside grilled pineapple slices. The interplay of sweet and savory, enriched by the smoky BBQ sauce, creates a symphony of taste that transports you to a tropical paradise. Consider complementing the dish with a fresh coleslaw or a vibrant garden salad, adding a burst of color and crispness to your plate.

Chef Tips

  • Marination Magic: Allow the ribs to marinate for an extended period, ideally overnight, for a more pronounced and nuanced flavor.
  • Grill Mastery: Maintain a medium heat while grilling to ensure the ribs cook evenly and retain their juiciness.
  • Sauce Sensation: Apply the BBQ sauce in the final stages of grilling to achieve a delightful caramelized glaze.
  • Rest and Relaxation: After grilling, let the ribs rest for a few minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring a succulent bite.

In conclusion, Hawaiian BBQ Spare Ribs are not just a dish; they’re an embodiment of tradition, flavor, and the Aloha spirit. Whether you’re a health-conscious family or a busy professional seeking a taste of paradise, these ribs offer a delectable journey to the heart of Hawaiian cuisine. So, fire up your grill, embrace the magic of marination, and relish the exquisite taste that captures the essence of the islands in every bite.