adobo baby back ribs

Adobo Baby Back Ribs with Apples and Jalapenos

It’s somewhat ironic that my husband, who is Filipino, loves to cook so much – especially Asian food – and yet he never cooks Filipino food! My mother-in-law makes amazing Filipino food, including pancit, chicken and pork adobo, sinigang, and my absolute favorite, lumpia. Joseph says that he doesn’t cook Filipino food because his mom’s food is so good, it’s just easier to go home for good traditional food.

That changed recently when we pulled Memories of Philippine Kitchens off the bookshelf. It’s a beautiful coffee table style cookbook, filled with mouthwatering photos, touching narratives from Philippine kitchens, and a cultural history of Philippine foods. It’s unfortunate that Filipino food isn’t more popular in the United States, because it’s good! Frankly, I’d take lumpia over  a Chinese spring roll any day and my mother-in-law’s version of longaniza (basically chicken or pork sausage in a delicious tangy barbecue-like sauce) is so good I dream about it. It saddens me that most of my friends are completely unfamiliar with these foods because they’re really missing out. You should have seen my parents, sister, and brother-in-law flocking to the kitchen when we brought them food from Joseph’s mom at Christmas.


I love Thai food, but I would gladly sacrifice one of the hundreds of Thai restaurants in Boston for just one Filipino restaurant. Unless you live in California, you’re likely going to have to head to your kitchen and pull out some pots and pans to get some good Philippine food.  There’s only one Filipino restaurant in all of New England, and while it’s good, it doesn’t come close to my mother-in-law’s food (and no, I’m not just trying to kiss up). Brooklyn has an outstanding Filipino restaurant, Purple Yam, which is owned by the authors of Memories of Philippine Kitchens, but it’s a little far from Boston to go just for dinner.

Adobo Baby Back Ribs

Luckily Joseph manned up and decided to give the adobo baby back ribs recipe a shot and I couldn’t have been happier. Adobo, a braise of vinegar, salt, and garlic, is perhaps one of the most well-known Filipino foods.  It’s easy to make and gets better the longer you keep it. The vinegar  in adob0 allowed Filipinos to keep prepared meats for a couple of days in the days before refrigeration, so not only does it keep very well, but the seasonings permeate the food, giving it a deeper flavor.

Adobo Baby Back Ribs


There’s no one adobo recipe, so there are endless variations. This recipe includes jalapenos and apples, which although untraditional, are wonderful additions. The dish is a tangy delight with just enough of a kick to put a little pep in your step. Make sure to save some for leftovers (if you can!) because it’ll be even better the next day.



5 Responses to “adobo baby back ribs”

  • Aka Kuro Says:

    My mouth is watering just thinking about this dish… I had never thought about the dearth of Filipino food in most of the US. I can tell you there’s none in Ohio! Thanks for expanding my horizons to think more about it…

  • Joseph Says:

    Alas, I fear you underestimate Ohio! Although I’ve never been, it appears there’s a Filipino store/restaurant called La Herba Buena in Dublin, just outside of Columbus. Although not really a sit-down type of restaurant, sounds like they have a good spread of Filipino home-style cooking.

    Seriously, you’ll find Filipinos almost anywhere. You just have to know where to look. =)

  • Emily @ A Cambridge Story Says:

    This meal looks excellent! I love the addition of apples.

  • Danica Says:

    Hi Kristen, I stumbled upon your blog due to Gojee. I completely agree with everything you said regarding Filipino food. I’m a Filipino living here in Boston too, and I constantly bemoan the fact that there’s only one pinoy restaurant. I also can’t believe Filipino cuisine isn’t more widespread, it’s delicious! Anyway, love this take on adobo, will definitely be trying it out soon!

  • Islandboy315 Says:

    Hi Kristen,

    Looks wonderful and my mouth is watering, I absolutely love adobo. Couple of questions, so there isn’t muck juice in the pot so you’re basically steaming the ribs, correct? Then how did you get that browned look on the end result that is in your photos?
    Thanks and I look forward to trying this out.

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