Caipirinha Baby Back Ribs (Costelinha de Porco na Caipirinha)


Are you a rib lover?  So am I!  I always welcome the sight of them with a smile… and these succulent Caipirinha Baby Back Ribs (Costelinha de Porco na Caipirinha) are no exception!!!  For those who may not know, caipirinha is Brazil’s national cocktail made from lime, sugar, and cachaça (a distilled beverage similar to white rum).


The preparation of our caipirinha baby back ribs is quite simple. Blend cachaça (or white rum if desired), lime juice, brown sugar, garlic cloves, a few seasonings, and fresh parsley in a kitchen blender and pour over the ribs. Marinate, and then cook on the stove top (first pan-searing to brown, and then simmering until tender and liquid evaporates). The result: One of the tenderest and tastiest ribs that you will ever experience.

This recipe took its inspiration from Costelinha de Porco à Mineira (“Fried” Baby Back Ribs) —  a traditional dish from Minas Gerais in Southeastern Brazil.  The difference here is the caipirinha ingredients!  Cachaça, the main ingredient of caipirinha, has many more uses than than just as a base for the caipirinha drink in Brazil– it is also great for marinating meats,  and for making pie crust and empanada dough flakier.  It is available at large liquor stores in the U.S., but in a pinch white rum is a suitable substitute.

caipirinha baby back ribs

As for side dishes, our caipirinha baby back ribs can be served with farofa, collard greens a la Mineira, and yuca fries, or with pretty much anything else that you want.

Enjoy our caipirinha baby back ribs… and get used to being asked to make them again and again! 🙂


5.0 from 4 reviews
Caipirinha Baby Back Ribs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Tender and tasty caipirinha baby back ribs marinated with cachaça (or WHITE RUM), and then prepared on the stove top.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Brazilian
Serves: 13 ribs
  • 1 stack (3.3 pounds or 1.5 kg) baby back ribs (buy a stack with 10-14 ribs)
  • ¾ cup cachaça or white rum
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1½ Tablespoons anatto powder (used most for coloring foods and available at local supermarkets)
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup vegetable oil ( or a bit more if necessary)
  • 1 cup water
  1. OPTIONAL: Before marinating the caipirinha baby back ribs, place the full stack of ribs on a cutting board, turn the ribs over, and stick a butter knife right under that white membrane.

  2. Wedge the butter knife in between membrane and meat/bone. Pull membrane off. This will make ribs even more tender but is optional since our ribs are not supposed to fall off the bones.

  3. MAKE AHEAD (MARINADE): Cut the ribs individually (right over the meat in between each bone) and place them in a large bowl or rectangular pyrex dish, and set aside. In a blender, blend well the cachaça or white rum, lime juice, sugar, garlic, salt, pepper, annatto powder, and parsley until obtaining a smooth mixture. Pour this mixture over the ribs. Using your hands, mix ribs with the marinade to coat both sides of each rib. Cover bowl or pyrex with plastic or foil, and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours (Inactive Time).
  4. Drain the marinade from the ribs by simply shaking a bit and seting aside the marinade.
  5. In a large (wide) pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat and brown the ribs evenly (do not overcrowd the pan). Transfer ribs to a plate and discard leftover oil. Then, add and mix water to the reserved marinade, place ribs back into the pan, and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, reduce heat to medium-low, and let cook for 20 minutes or until the ribs are tender and liquid has evaporated completely.
  6. These caipirinha baby back ribs can be served hot (brushed with honey if desired) with any side of your choice , or with collard greens a la Mineira, yuca fries, and farofa.



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23 Responses to Caipirinha Baby Back Ribs (Costelinha de Porco na Caipirinha)

  1. Chris Scheuer 3 March, 2015 at 11:07 am #

    Oh my word, Denise! These sound absolutely amazing. Such a delightful twist on barbecued ribs!

  2. Shashi at RunninSrilankan 3 March, 2015 at 11:27 am #

    This sounds so flavorful with all that rum and lime juice and brown sugar combining with that meat!

  3. Deb|EastofEdenCooking 3 March, 2015 at 12:34 pm #

    Fabulous flavor with easy preparation make this an outstanding recipe!

  4. Juliana 3 March, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

    Wow Denise, these baby back ribs look awesome, I love the idea of “caipirinha” in these ribs…delicious!
    Thanks for this great recipe…have a wonderful week 🙂

  5. Amira 3 March, 2015 at 5:02 pm #

    How lovely… look at the color of this.. amazing. Well done my dear. I have a question though.. do you have any non-alcoholic sub for the cachaça ?

    • Denise Browning 3 March, 2015 at 7:10 pm #

      You can use sprite soda instead of cachaça, or you can use all the ingredients from the recipe, omitting the cachaça and increasing the amount of lime juice.

  6. Rekha 3 March, 2015 at 7:16 pm #

    They looks succulent and delicious Denise. I am not much a ribs fan but would love to give this a try some day 🙂

  7. Little Cooking Tips 4 March, 2015 at 12:04 am #

    Those pork ribs look fantastic Denise! We never tried marinating with rum, so that’s really a must-try:) We bet it’ll be amazing.
    Thank you for another wonderful recipe!
    Panos and Mirella

  8. marcela 4 March, 2015 at 8:18 am #

    oohh! Defilitely I must try this recipe ! My family loves ribs so bad!

  9. Coffee and Crumpets 4 March, 2015 at 10:22 am #

    Love the flavours on these ribs, Denise! They look fantastic! Denitely, finger licking 🙂

  10. Gourmet Getaways 5 March, 2015 at 10:25 am #

    Simply mouthwatering, Denise!!!

    Julie & Alesah
    Gourmet Getaways xx

  11. Julia | JuliasAlbum.com 5 March, 2015 at 1:50 pm #

    I love ribs – one of my favorite types of food! These look delicious! I still remember your Brazilian-style pork ribs too – they looked so appetizing on a picture!

  12. Ash-foodfashionparty 5 March, 2015 at 3:32 pm #

    Wow, Denise this looks so so delicious. I’m wondering how it would pair with chicken. i’ll give it a shot.
    Great one.

    • Denise Browning 5 March, 2015 at 4:08 pm #

      No worries, Ash! It will pair well with chicken too. xx

  13. Kiran @ KiranTarun.com 7 March, 2015 at 1:10 am #

    Looks so delicious! Pretty sure it pairs very well with Caipirinha cocktail 🙂

  14. Raymund 8 March, 2015 at 1:50 pm #

    Wow, I can already imagine myself licking my fingers after having those delicious ribs 🙂

  15. marcela 9 March, 2015 at 8:25 am #

    oh, your ribs look delicious! I can imagine their taste… So great!

  16. Cathleen @ A Taste Of Madness 11 March, 2015 at 10:12 pm #

    Why have I never made ribs before? This looks amazing!

    • Denise Browning 12 March, 2015 at 7:24 am #

      Hi, Cathleen! Welcome to FBTY.
      I hope you try this recipe one of these days. You won’t regret it. Have a great day!

  17. Anna @ shenANNAgans 23 March, 2015 at 5:04 am #

    Hawt dang…. I love me some ribs. It has only been in recent years that I actually discovered my love for them, they are a little messy to eat, but that kind of makes the experience all the better. Love the tip to remove that layer of skin stuff. Excellent recipe, will be sure to get some ribs on the weekend and have a go at your recipe. 🙂

  18. Jasline (Foodie Baker) 1 July, 2015 at 11:45 pm #

    This is the second rib recipe that I’m seeing today and it’s making me so hungry! Can’t wait to grab some ribs and try making this, this looks amazing!

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