Wednesday, October 26, 2011

RECIPE - Steam-roasted Back Ribs (Costela no Bafo)

Beef ribs, and specifically the larger ribs known as back ribs, are surrounded by some of the most flavorful meat on the the entire butchered cattle carcass. And though they are wonderfull grilled with a smoky or sweet barbeque sauce, or braised in red wine or other liquid, Brazilians know that sometimes they're bestsuited to being served unadorned at table, without the presence of other flavors to complicate the picture. With just a  little seasoning and nothing more, the meaty and succulent flavor of the ribs shines through in full simplicity.

This recipe for oven-roasted back ribs, which comes from the tiny northeastern Brazilian state of Paraíba, results in very tender, melt-in-your-mouth meat that separates easily from the bone. It's a useful recipe to have when you want to showcase the meat itself or if you don't have access to an outdoor barbeque - the other way Brazilians like to cook their back ribs (costela).

Because back ribs are very rich - the meat has high fat and connective tissue content - keep the trimmings to a minimum when serving them. Boiled potatoes and a simple salad make the perfect accompaniment. Brazilians often serve french fries with back ribs , so if you prefer you can substitute fries for the boiled potatoes. We think that boiled potatoes are better suited in this case, but the choice is yours.
RECIPE - Steam-roasted Back Ribs (Costela no Bafo)
3 portions

3-rib section of beef back ribs
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 small onion, finely chopped
salt to taste
In a small bowl combine the chopped garlic and onions, the Worchestershire sauce and salt. Mix together to make a paste. Rub this paste into the meaty side of the rack of ribs and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).

Put the seasoned ribs into a dutch oven with a top, or in a deep roasting pan. Cover the dutch oven or pan with aluminum foil, making sure to make a tight seal. If using a dutch oven, you can put the top on over the aluminum foil. Place in the preheated oven and roast for 1 1/4 hours.

Remove the aluminum foil and return the pan to the oven for about 10-15 minutes to allow the surface of the meat to become browned.

Remove the ribs from the pan, place on a platter, and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let stand for 15 minutes, then cut into three pieces, each one with a rib, and serve immediately.

Recipe translated and adapted from Cozinha Regional Brasileira by Abril Editora.


  1. Yum! Recently had these from a Brazilian supermarket in Atlanta - delish although expensive at 8/lb. So I was hunting for a recipe - this looks perfect. Do you turn up the heat to get a nice browned top? I enjoyed the crispy bits. Thanks.

  2. It wouldn't hurt to turn up the heat if you want a bit of a crust - or depending on the type of pan you are using, you could also turn the broiler on for a few minutes; that would do the trick too.
    Thanks for the comment - I didn't know there was a Brazilian supermarket in Atlanta.